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Practice Notes: Methot still not ready to return

Veteran defenseman will miss fourth straight game with lower-body injury

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

The Stars won't get veteran defenseman Marc Methot back when they take on the Edmonton Oilers Saturday afternoon at American Airlines Center.

Methot, who has missed the last three games with a lower-body injury, took the ice for an optional practice Friday in Frisco but didn't finish it and will need more time before he is ready to return to the lineup.

"Methot couldn't go today," said Stars coach Ken Hitchcock. "He lasted 15 minutes, so he needs another couple of days."

The Stars are expected to make a change at forward for Saturday's game. Brett Ritchie will draw back in up front after sitting out the last two games as a scratch. Which forward will come out to make room for Ritchie is still up in the air.

"We are going to decide who we are going to sit after we get the medical report on a couple of players," Hitchcock said. 

Video: Hitchcock wants better puck management

Kari Lehtonen will get the start in goal against Edmonton. Lehtonen is 2-0-1 with a 1.62 goals against average and .962 save percentage in his last three starts.

Saturday's game kicks off a stretch that will see the Stars play three of their next four games at home where they are 6-2-0. They are coming off a 0-2-1 road trip that saw them lose 5-1 to Carolina, fall 4-3 in a shootout to Florida and then lose 6-1 to Tampa Bay Thursday night.

Hitchcock said he saw some steps forward during the trip, even some positives in the Tampa Bay game. He said the one element hurting the Stars on the road, where they are 3-7-1, is puck management and that will improve with experience.

"We've played eleven games on the road, and we've got a couple games at home to make some strides. We want to play really well. But we just can't want to play really well, we've got to know what elements of our game and what concepts have to get better," Hitchcock said. "I thought the guys were good today. I know you look at the scoreboard and it's 6-1 but there a lot of things yesterday I really liked. It's tough to say that in a 6-1 hockey game but I liked a lot of things. I liked the way we played in Tampa a lot better than the way we did in Carolina. We followed through in Tampa in a lot of areas the same way we played in Florida.

"As much as it's frustrating what's happened on the road, I like some of the things we're building here. I really do. I really like some of the work ethic things that are in there. But the one element we've got to get better, I can't speed that up. You've got to go through the experience. We're trying like crazy to quicken it up. We're having to experience it firsthand before we get better."

This story was not subject to 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.

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