It was back to work Monday for the Dallas Stars, who are looking to get back on track after losses in their past three games.
The Stars, who had a scheduled day off Sunday, practiced for about an hour in Frisco Monday before heading off for Winnipeg, where they will play the Jets on Tuesday in the first of a home-and-home set against their Central Division rival.
“Focus on Winnipeg,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said when about his message to the team. “We’ve got a good back-to-back coming and play the way we know how to play. We went through almost every area of our game today at practice. Just get back at it again.”
The Stars’ last two losses haven’t been pretty. They fell 6-3 in Arizona on Thursday and then 7-3 to Boston at American Airlines Center on Saturday.
“Just erase it,” said defenseman Alex Goligoski. “We got a day off yesterday and got a good practice in today. For us, if you look around the league everyone is playing a couple good ones and then losing a couple right now. Those teams that are pushing for points are playing really hard, and we have to find ways to keep our game consistent. Erase those ones from our mind, learn from them and just start fresh.”
The Stars gave up 42 shots on goal in both the Arizona game and the Boston game. They had good starts in both games and grabbed a lead, including a 3-1 edge in Saturday’s game against the Bruins. Then, both games unraveled for the Stars. They surrendered six goals over the final 40 minutes in both games.
“It’s just our focus within the games,” said Goligoski. “Both games just got away from us. That’s mental stuff. You can fix that. That’s not personnel problems or whatnot. It’s having a mindset to stay focused and get back at it.”
Said Ruff: “If you look at our last two games, it is try to put 60 minutes together.”
And ramp up the desperation, too. Because this time of the season it is high throughout the NHL as teams fight for playoff spots and playoff positioning.
“We’ve kind of been the hunted team for quite a while, and now we are down into the stretch where there is a lot of desperation inside games,” Ruff said. “Our desperation has to exceed theirs.”
Stars forward Patrick Eaves didn’t practice Monday. He got sick in Saturday’s game against Boston and was still feeling ill Monday morning. Stars coach Lindy Ruff said it was unlikely that Eaves would make the trip to Winnipeg for Tuesday’s game.
“He’s got some kind of flu or virus and he still wasn’t doing well today,” Ruff said. “I doubt [he will go on the trip] because the information I got this morning he is still bad. Told him to stay home.”
Forward Travis Moen, who has missed the past five games with a lower-body injury, practiced Monday. Ruff said Moen is close to returning to the lineup.
“Got him a good practice today. We could get him ready for tomorrow if we pressed him into duty, but sure he is ready for the home game (Thursday),” Ruff said.
Here’s how the Stars lined up in Monday’s practice in Frisco.
Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Jason Spezza
Antoine Roussel – Cody Eakin – Patrick Sharp
Valeri Nichushkin – Mattias Janmark – Ales Hemsky
Vernon Fiddler – Radek Faksa – Colton Sceviour/Travis Moen
Alex Goligoski – John Klingberg
Johnny Oduya – Jason Demers
Jyrki Jokipakka – Jordie Benn
Patrik Nemeth – Jamie Oleksiak
Not skating: Patrick Eaves (illness)
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.