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Stars Begin Six-Game Home Stand

by Dallas Stars Staff / Dallas Stars

The Stars take on the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday, the first game of a season-long six-game home stand. Dallas has been one of the better teams in the league over the last two months, something that will need to continue if the team is to remain in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race.


“Every game is so important,” said Mike Modano. “It’s jammed right now and it probably will be that way for a while. The two dozen or so games we have left, we have to grab points that are available. Considering our situation no one is going to feel sorry for us. I think everyone is going to be smelling blood now and they are really going to come after us and push us. Hopefully that will give us some incentive and give us an opportunity to push back.”

The Stars have figured out this “push back” thing when playing on home ice. Dallas is 12-2-1 in its last 15 at American Airlines Center. The key has clearly been defense, as the Stars have held the opposition to an average of 2.1 goals per home game in that span with a penalty kill ratio of 86.3 percent.

“We’ve been able to protect our home ice well and it’s never been more important than now,” said Mike Ribeiro. “We are dealing with a lot of injuries and that’s just part of the game. We are going to need some other players to step up. We need players to do the job that we need them to do. We need to play better as a team. “

Center Brad Richards went down with a fractured right wrist on Monday and is out for the next six-to-eight weeks.

“Anytime you are hurt or you miss time especially right now with the situation we are in, it’s a tough blow,” said Richards. “I’ve said the last couple days it could be a lot worse.  I still have a chance to come back and I’ll do everything I can to come back as quick as I can and stay positive. This team has been battling all year with a lot of different adversity. There is no doubt about that in the locker room. These guys care a lot and we have been able to bounce back from a lot of things. They know the situation and it’s about coming together. It’s not about one or two guys it’s about what is in this locker room. We are in a good race and I’ll be trying to come back as soon as possible.”

Brenden Morrow and Sergei Zubov have been out for the majority of the season. Despite their absence, the Stars have kept plugging and found a way to get points.

“We have shown in the past that once a player goes down we have another step in and do a good job,” said Stars Head Coach Dave Tippett. “I think that one of the strengths of our team is that we do play as a team. I think that with people out we can have others step in and band together. I think we are going to have to have a number of people step up and I think we will see roles elevated in different situations. Both Mikes will have to step up a little bit. Everyone is going to have to take a little extra bite. It’s about how well we play together that we hang together and do the things in a game that it takes to win. There will be some adjustments on the power play. Dales and Robi have both done well on the point in the power play so we have some options.”

Steve Ott, who missed Monday’s game at Columbus with a lower body injury, practiced on Wednesday and had no set-backs. Tippett said he would be back in the line-up on Thursday. Landon Wilson continues to skate and practiced with the team but is not ready to return to game action just yet.

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