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O'Callahan: Big Stretch

by Seamus O'Callahan / Dallas Stars

Seamus O'Callahan

This is a big 10 days for your Dallas Stars. OK, so every stretch of games are big. We all know that - every game counts in the standings. But this holiday season is pivotal in the Stars' set-up for the second half of the season.

The big stretch actually began yesterday with a huge win over the Detroit Red Wings. It's always a good win when you beat Detroit, but even more so when they are right in front of you in the standings. The win pulls Dallas into a tie with Wing at 41 points apiece through 35 games.

The Stars have played pretty good hockey over their last few games, even though they have just a 2-1-3 record to show for it. The game at Atlanta might have been one of the best performances by the forwards this season.

Consistency is still the key, and the Stars have shown signs in the last two games that perhaps they can play a full 60 minutes of hockey and have the chance to string some wins together.

That won't be easy, as the schedule includes some really good opponents.

Next the Stars host San Jose, which is tied for the best record in the West (as of Sunday morning). Dallas has won both games vs. the Sharks so far this season, with both going to a shootout in San Jose. The Sharks have played well in American Airlines Center over the last few years, so Dallas needs to be on top of their game.

Then Columbus comes calling on Wednesday. The Jackets are 14-15-7 for 35 points and bear Dallas in their last visit. This team matches up well with the Stars and has excellent goaltending.

Immediately after the Christmas break, the Stars travel to Denver to take on the red hot Avalanche. Colorado leads the Northwest Division with a 20-11-6 record. The Stars usually play well in Denver, but this team is young and talented and plays hard.

The Chicago Blackhawks come to Dallas on Dec. 29. Remember that tie at the top of the Western Conference standings that the Sharks have? This is the team with them. Dallas handed Chicago one of their three home losses earlier this season in a game that featured fantastic goaltending by Alex Auld.

And finally, the Ducks will be the featured host on the traditional New Year's Eve game in Dallas. Anaheim is scratching and clawing, trying to get back in the playoff race. They are currently 14-14-7.

There is plenty of hockey to see over the holidays. Bring out your family and enjoy some Dallas Stars hockey. (GET TICKETS)

Vishnevskiy Recalled
The Stars announced on Sunday afternoon that the team has placed defenseman Mark Fistric on injured reserve with a head injury, retroactive to Dec. 17. The Stars have recalled defenseman Ivan Vishnevskiy from the Texas Stars - Dallas' primary development affiliate in the American Hockey League.

Vishnevskiy, 21, has appeared in 33 games for Texas this season, scoring four goals and nine assists for 13 points and 12 penalty minutes. He was recalled on Dec. 7 and played in one game for Dallas, going scoreless on Dec. 8 at Anaheim. Vishnevskiy was Dallas' first round selection (27th overall) in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.

Fistric was injured on Thursday at Atlanta. He has played in 30 games for Dallas, scoring one goal and three assists for four points.

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