The Stars head out tomorrow for a three game road trip that will pit them against Western Conference foes San Jose, Phoenix and Detroit. Luckily for Stars fans, the road has been friendly to the Stars who have picked up points in seven of nine games (4-2-3) away from Dallas.
“We’ve been playing well on the road,” says defenseman Stephane Robidas
. “It’s just a matter of playing without pressure. We just work hard and are more defensive when we’re on the road. Maybe at home we’re trying to put on a show a little more, and I think that’s why we’ve had success on the road.”
With four days off between games, the Stars have been making the most of their practices.
“We don’t get a lot of practice time, so this is a great practice block for us,” says Head Coach Marc Crawford. “We let the guys know right away that it was going to be hard for these two days and it was. I really appreciated their effort and their intensity. It’s tough to stay intense for the amount of time that you practice. If you’re only doing it for a short amount of time it’s a little bit easier. But here, we’re over an hour each day, an hour 15 yesterday and hour and five or 10 today. All hard drills, all really action packed and all lots of intensity lots of physical plays. You run the risk that you do get a bump and a bruise. We got one, but we got a couple of guys back and otherwise we got through it pretty positively.”
The Stars’ leading goal scorer, James Neal
, hopes this off-time pays off down the road when Dallas is scheduled to play games just about every other night.
“Every team [in the west] is strong,” Neal says. “Every night is a battle and you’ve got to be ready for that. It starts here with practice. We take the opportunity to refresh here with a few days off. We’re coming in with a huge schedule; eight games in 13 nights. It’s going to be a good test for us and hopefully we can look back on this big span and say we had a good trip.”InjuriesJames Neal
(groin), returned to the ice today. He has missed the Stars last two games and has not skated since Wednesday’s game against Calgary.
“I’ve had four days off, so it felt good to get back on the ice,” Neal says. “I was only going to go out for half of the practice but it felt better than I thought so I stayed out there for the whole thing.”Krystofer Barch
(back) also returned to practice and should be available for the road trip.
Left winger Fabian Brunnstrom
injured his shoulder in practice, but Crawford insists it isn’t anything serious.
“It was good to see James and Krys Barch back out practicing full today. We had a little bit of a mishap with Fabian,” Crawford says. “Fabian hurt his shoulder a little bit. It’s really mild, so we’re hopeful that he’ll be ok if not tomorrow by the next day.”Sharks next
The Stars kick off their road trip in San Jose on Thursday. This is the first time the teams will face each other this season. The Stars lost five of six games against the Sharks last season, with their only win coming in San Jose.
While the Stars have been playing exceptionally well in recent games, they know they will have their hands full with the Sharks.
“It’s a tough building to play in,” Robidas says. “I don’t think they’ve lost a game so far at home. It will be hard, but it’s a building that we’ve had success in in the past. We know we can play well in that building and that’s a positive thing. We’re going in there with positive thoughts, and we’re ready to get a big win.”