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Monday update: Hitting the reset button

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars returned to practice Monday morning in Frisco and coach Lindy Ruff said it was an opportunity to start the process of getting back on track with the Stars coming off a 3-0 loss at St. Louis Saturday.

“We tried to reset and go over some of the areas where I thought we failed in our last game,” Ruff said. “Defensively we’ve had some holes, so we are trying to tighten that up.”

The Stars got off to a slow start in St. Louis, taking a couple of early penalties and falling behind two minutes into the game when the Blues scored on a power play. That left the Stars on their heels in the first period. Monday’s practice was a little bit of looking ahead to Tuesday’s game against Columbus and fixing the issues from St. Louis.

“We didn’t deserve to win the game in St. Louis, not the way we came out and some of our execution wasn’t good. Our play away from the puck was very poor,” Ruff said. “At the end of the night, if you are chasing the game against that team, they are a good team defending. We focused on the defending part. The penalties we took at the start of the game were a little bit of a mental breakdown on our part. We basically went over everything. We want to keep pushing forward; we want to keep getting better. We’ve sort of been in the middle ground, and I want us to pick up a little speed here.”

The Stars have been good at responding after losses. The Stars (22-6-2) have lost just eight times in their first 30 games and have yet to drop consecutive games, bouncing back to win after each loss. The Stars and the Washington Capitals are the only two teams in the NHL still able to make that claim this season.

“We talk all the time about that we don’t lose two in a row,” said defenseman Alex Goligoski. “Lindy is always saying that. When we have had tough games, or we have had losses, we’ve come back hungry, and we have been able to avoid losing two.”

The Stars’ power play is ranked fourth in the league at 22.9 percent, but it has been struggling lately. It’s failed to score in six of the past seven games and nine of the past 12. Over the past dozen games, it is 5-39 (12.8 percent). It is coming off an 0-4 performance Saturday in St. Louis.

“We were doing a really good job early in the year of getting pucks around the paint and getting more opportunities. When a team is staying inside, you’ve got to find lanes to get it there,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “We chose some east-west plays (Saturday). We had some good looks. We had a couple of great looks 5-on-3, but we didn’t finish them, so that isn’t good enough. There were some really good things on the entries, which St. Louis is really good at defending. But once we are in the zone, we’ve got to be a lot sharper.

“We’re going to work on it again tomorrow. There’s no secret. Get pucks to the net. You get a lane, get it there and try to take the goalie’s eyes away. We haven’t done a very good job of that.”

There were no changes in the forward lines or defense pairs in Monday’s practice. They were the same used in Saturday’s game, including Jamie Oleksiak on the third defense pair with Jordie Benn.

Jamie BennTyler SeguinValeri Nichushkin

Mattias JanmarkJason Spezza- Patrick Eaves

Antoine RousselCody EakinPatrick Sharp

Colton Sceviour/Travis MoenVernon FiddlerAles Hemsky

Alex Goligoski
John Klingberg

Johnny OduyaJason Demers

Jordie BennJamie Oleksiak

Jyrki JokipakkaPatrik Nemeth

Kari Lehtonen

Antti Niemi

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 reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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