The Stars got right back at it on Saturday morning with a practice in Frisco in preparation for the team’s four-game trip to the west coast. After a disappointing home-stand, the practice was something that the team needed, mainly for their mental game.
“I think it was good to come here this morning and get to work,” said Stars Head Coach Dave Tippett after the practice. “You can either stick your head in the sand or get back to work. We have to focus on this trip and not dwell on the past. Nobody is happy about the situation here, but you must find a way to overcome it. We have to find a way to compete harder with and without the puck. These teams we are going to play on the road are all four of our division teams and we need to come out in every game and not leave anything in the bag.”
Dallas plays at Anaheim on Monday to start the trip, then at San Jose on Wednesday, at Phoenix on Thursday and close out the trip next Saturday in LA. The players have the largest sense of urgency to right the ship and get back to winning ways, and sometimes that starts with fundamentals.
“It's in our blood to want to win and sometimes maybe we do too much,” said goaltender Mike Smith. “The best thing is to probably keep it simple. That's really hard to do when things aren't going well. I don't think my game and our game overall is too far away from turning it around and making a negative situation a positive one.”
The first hurdle is the defending Stanley Cup Champs. Dallas downed the Ducks in their only meeting so far this season at home in October. This will mark the Stars’ first trip to Honda Center this season.
Mike Modano remains just one point shy of Phil Housley’s record for most points by an American and if history is any indication, history could be made on Monday night in Anaheim. Modano has scored 71 points vs. the Ducks (22 goals and 49 assists) in 62 career meetings.
The last time the Stars dropped at least three-straight games in regulation was when the club lost five consecutive outings from Nov. 30 - Dec. 10, 2003. Following that five-game losing streak in 2003-04, the Stars went 6-1-3 over their next 10 games, and that is a mark this current team wouldn’t mind matching in their next 10 contests.
The Stars placed left wing Brad Winchester on the injured reserve list on Saturday. The 26-year-old suffered an abdominal strain in Dallas’ game with Phoenix on Friday night and will be re-evaluated in one week. In 10 games with Dallas this season, he has collected one assist and 22 penalty minutes.