Following a three-game road trip in which they failed to earn a point in the standings, the Dallas Stars were back on the ice Friday preparing for Saturday’s afternoon game against the Detroit Red Wings. The Stars returned from Thursday’s 5-3 loss at Montreal sitting in 11th place in the West – six points out of the eighth and final playoff spot. But twelve of Dallas’ next 14 games leading up to the Olympic break are against Western Conference teams that the Stars are chasing in the standings, giving them a chance to make up ground in the playoff race.
Stars’ head coach Marc Crawford said the team’s recent struggles have been because of problems in their own end. Dallas has allowed four or more goals in seven of its last eight games.
“We’ve got to try where we can to limit the number of chances we’re giving them. By our count, last night, we gave up 20, which is too many. You’re not going to eliminate them all. And we figure that we can eliminate a good number of them, and that’s going to allow us to be better. There’s no secret to why we’re not winning. We’re giving up too many goals,” Crawford said.Brunnstrom back with team
Crawford was impressed by Fabian Brunnstrom, who played Thursday against Montreal – his first game since his two-week conditioning assignment with the Texas Stars. Brunnstrom has just one goal in 24 games this season, after scoring 17 goals in 55 games as a rookie last year.
“I thought Bruno gave us some real quality shifts. He played like he had some confidence, and I thought that through two periods, he was very, very good. He lost a couple of one-on-one battles, but he won a few. He looked more comfortable on the ice and we’re looking to build on that with him here in the next game. We’re committed to trying to give him an opportunity.”Noteworthy:
James Neal came off the ice in the second period Thursday after taking an inadvertent high-stick to the mouth, but returned later in the period and finished the game. Crawford said Neal should be ready to go on Saturday against the Red Wings.