Defenseman Alex Goligoski, who missed Wednesday’s practice, was back on the ice Thursday and appears good to go as the Stars hit the road for games against the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders.
Goligoski was cut under the ear by the skate of goaltender Kari Lehtonen in Tuesday’s 6-3 victory over Vancouver. Stars coach Lindy Ruff said another nagging injury was slowing Goligoski. But the Dallas defenseman looked fine in Thursday morning’s on-ice session in Frisco.
“[He’s looking] good,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “He’s back at practice today, so he is ready to go.”
Goligoski was cut by Lehtonen’s skate during a scramble in front of the net while Vancouver was on a five-on-three power play Tuesday.
“It’s just behind the ear,” said Goligoski. “It could have been [worse], for sure. I think it kind of just caught my jaw. Kari was trying to make that save and as he was falling over he got me.”
As for that other nagging injury, Goligoski joked that it was age taking its toll.
“Just maintenance,” he said. “Body maintenance. Getting old.”
Improving their record on the road is a focus for the Dallas Stars this season. They were 17-20-14 away from home last season, including 6-9-1 against teams from the Eastern Conference.
It’s early, but they fared well on their first road trip of the season, winning two out of three including victories against Columbus and Pittsburgh from the East. This upcoming road trip will see two more teams from the East – the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders.
“It’s something we have to improve on,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “I think winning in Columbus and winning in Pittsburgh is a step in the right direction. I want us to be an over .500 club on the road. That’s my goal. I think if you put yourself in that situation then you are a good team.”
The Devils (3-2-1) and the Islanders (4-2-0) both are off to good starts, so this trip will be a challenge.
"Both teams are playing very well,” Ruff said. “The Islanders have been really the surprise and Jersey, history shows, is one of the toughest places to go in and scrape out some goals and get some offense. They’re a very diligent club, they’ve been good offensively this year and their goaltender has been really good.”
Notes: Jokipakka could play on trip
*Stars coach Lindy Ruff said that defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka could make his NHL during the road trip. The Stars recalled Jokipakka from the AHL on Sunday after Patrik Nemeth suffered an arm laceration that is expected to sideline him for the rest of the regular season. The 23-year-old Jokipakka had a strong training camp and preseason.
“I would really like to [get him in]. I’ve weighed putting him in tomorrow because of the camp he has had,” Ruff said. “We’re going to meet on that today, but I would like to get him in one of the two. With the young D – [Kevin] Connauton and the other guys - I think he deserves a game as much as those guys based on his camp.”
*Ruff said he has a plan for his goaltenders with the Stars playing back-to-back games Friday and Saturday, but he is not revealing it.
*Friday’s game in New Jersey is slated for a 6 p.m. start, but the actual puck drop is expected around 6:26 p.m. New Jersey is honoring former Devils goalie and long-time Devils broadcaster Glenn “Chico” Resch prior to the game. The pregame show on Fox Sports Southwest will start at 6 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.