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Stars Getting Contributions Throughout Lineup

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Stars center Tyler Seguin made his weekly appearance on The Ticket Wednesday afternoon and the team’s recent roll was the first order of business in the discussion.

“Everyone is playing confident right now and every night seems to be a team effort,” Seguin said.

The Stars have been getting contributions throughout the lineup during the run, which includes three straight wins and a 5-1-0 record over the last six games.

The Stars have scored 23 goals in those six games with all four lines contributing and 12 different players, including 11 forwards, finding the back of the net. Leading the way is Ryan Garbutt with four goals. Cody Eakin and Colton Sceviour both have three. Getting production from lines other than the top one has been key during the run.

“We’re getting production from everyone, from top to bottom. You are going to need that,” said Stars forward Ray Whitney. “Seguin and [Jamie] Benn draw a lot of attention on a nightly basis, and they are not always going to be able to score. They are going to play well, but not always score. We are going to need some production elsewhere.”

Tuesday night in Washington it was a line of Whitney, Dustin Jeffrey and Alex Chiasson that came up big as the Stars defeated Washington, 5-0. Whitney had one goal and one assist, Jeffrey scored twice and Chiasson chipped in three assists.

“From day one it seems like Ray and I have clicked,” said Chiasson. “We’ve had our stretches this year where it’s been a little harder, I’ll be the first to admit that. I think he’s a great guy for me to play with. He’s really smart and gives you the puck at the right time. DJ is pretty strong on draws, he can skate and we are going to try to build on this.”

The game before that in St. Louis it was a line of Shawn Horcoff, Vernon Fiddler and Sceviour that produced two goals, both scored by Sceviour, that staked the Stars to an important 2-0 lead the second night of a back-to-back.

“Right off the bat we had some good chemistry,” said Horcoff. “Fidds is such a good workhorse. He does a lot of things really well, he gets on the puck. Scevs has a great touch around the net and I am just trying to do some things myself with the puck and we just seemed to have found some chemistry.”

The trio of Antoine Roussel, Eakin and Garbutt scored the next two goals as the Stars defeated the Blues 4-2 in one of their bigger wins of the season.

“[Eakin’s line] has been playing great,” said Chiasson. “I think everyone tries to contribute as much as they can, and I think when you go into a playoff push that is what makes a difference.”

And on the night before the St. Louis victory, seven different players scored in a 7-3 win over Nashville at American Airlines Center, and the Stars got a big night from two of their defensemen. Alex Goligoski had four assists and a plus-five rating in the game. Trevor Daley scored one goal, assisted on one other and was a plus-five as well. And the contributions of the defense shouldn’t be overlooked in this recent run.

Daley has two goals, two assists and a plus-eight rating in the last six games. Goligoski has five assists, a plus-10 rating and 16 blocked shots. Jordie Benn has five assists, a plus-six rating and 17 blocked shots. Brenden Dillon has one assist, a plus-four rating and 13 blocked shots.

Then there is the guy manning the net. Kari Lehtonen is 5-1-0 over those six games with a 1.67 goals against average and .950 save percentage.

And he’s getting a lot of support from the guys in front of him.

“A lot of guys are feeling good about their games right now,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “The fact that they are on the score sheet really helps.”

Wednesday notes

*The Stars held an optional practice in North Carolina Wednesday with just a small group of players skating.

*Stars coach Lindy Ruff said forward Erik Cole, who has missed the last six games, is getting closer to a return.

“Just day to day, progressing,” Ruff sad. “He’s going to go for more of a full skate today and we’ll see where he is at. I think he is an option later in the week.”

*Ruff said he liked what he saw from defenseman Patrik Nemeth, who made his debut in Tuesday night’s 5-0 win in Washington. The 22-year-old Nemeth played 11:50, was plus-one and had three blocked shots.

“For the first game and a little bit of the jitters, he said he was a little bit nervous, I thought he gave us a solid 11 minutes,” Ruff said. “It was a good first game for him, got him out there against some good players. I liked what I saw.”

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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