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Stars believe early adversity will make them stronger

With its Central Division foes off to a good start, Dallas knows it must find its game quickly

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer

Every team in the Central Division won Saturday.

Every one.

Well, except for the Stars -- they had the day off.

That's the kind of thing you notice when you're in the middle of a three-game losing streak. That's the kind of thing you notice when you're off to a 3-4-0 start. That's the kind of thing you notice when you're trying to make the playoffs for just the third time in 11 seasons.

And rest assured, this team noticed.

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Stars learn little details can cause wild swings in both directions

Dallas gets an up-close look at how fumbling a few plays can turn a good thing sour real quick in its loss to Minnesota

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer

Consider each detail of the game like a pebble on a pond for the Stars right now.

One good play can lead to another, which can lead to another, which can lead to another.

And vice versa.

The Stars lost a 3-1 game to the Minnesota Wild on Friday, and the game swung on just a couple of plays. That's sorta how the league works these days. You make enough small plays, and they add up to big ones. You fumble a few, and things can go bad pretty quickly.

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How important are divisional games for Stars? 'They're huge'

Success in the jam-packed Central could mean everything once the playoff picture comes into focus

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer

The math is pretty easy if you're looking for a place to concentrate.

The Stars missed the playoffs by three points last season and went 12-14-0 in games against their own division. Win a couple more of those head-to-head matchups, and there's a good chance you get into the postseason party. Post a great record against your Central foes, and there's a good chance you're coasting in April and not even worried about making the playoffs.

Divisional games are that important.

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Heika: Patience, trust may be best solution to depth-scoring dilemma

The Stars believe they have enough in-house secondary talent to support their top line

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer

I hesitate to even open this discussion, but what the heck, it's raining, there's no practice today, and I just watched some of last night's game in New Jersey.

OK, I agree with all of you that the Stars should be looking into depth scoring -- and I think they always are. They only have $1.5 million in cap space, but they have found ways to be creative in the past, so the guess is they talk about possible solutions every day.

That said, they also can still go about trying to fix this with in-house solutions. The Devils had some of the worst depth scoring in the league last year (and they still might), but they were fantastic on Tuesday because they executed coach John Hynes' system to a tee.

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Next step in Stars' process might be more difficult - and more important

For Dallas to overcome its road woes, it's going to take patience and a team effort to find its game

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- While it was easy to soak in the hot tub of positivity after a 3-1-0 start last week, the Stars now have to be careful to not catch themselves sinking in quicksand.

In the span of two quick road games, Dallas' quick start has gone pfft. While there were good things that could be gleaned from the film Monday after a loss in Ottawa, Tuesday's 3-0 loss to the Devils will likely be burned.

New Jersey was dominant in a quiet, confident way, and that uncovered a lot of flaws in the Stars' game.

"New Jersey was the better team," said coach Jim Montgomery. "The way they worked was where we want to get to."

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Methot, Nichushkin to sit out for Stars against Devils

Montgomery says the defenseman and forward are dealing with soreness; Smith to make season debut

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- The Stars will make changes Tuesday night in the second game of a road back-to-back.

Coach Jim Montgomery said before the game that he will insert three players who were heathy scratches Monday in a 4-1 loss at Ottawa and take out a couple who are dealing with soreness.

Gemel Smith, Roope Hintz and Roman Polak will draw in against the New Jersey Devils, while Valeri Nichushkin, Jason Dickinson and Marc Methot will sit out. Montgomery said Nichushkin and Methot are dealing with soreness.

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Rinky Dinking Podcast: Razor, Heika check in from Canada

The guys talk about the start to the Stars' season, how Monty is creating lineup chemistry and more

by Daryl Reaugh and Mike Heika / Rinky Dinking Podcast

Daryl "Razor" Reaugh and Mike Heika check in from north of the border in Ottawa, Ontario to talk about the Stars' high-flying start, Jason Spezza's return to the rink formerly known as Palladium and how head coach Jim Montgomery is working to create lineup chemistry. Plus, Razor ranks which arenas provide the best -- and worst -- perches to call a game from.

'Rinky Dinking' is also now available for download on Apple Podcasts and Spotify today.

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In a league where road success matters, Stars start off on wrong skate

While the 4-1 loss to the Senators isn't necessarily critical, positive results early would be a boon for Dallas

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer

OTTAWA, Ontario -- Of all the lessons the Stars have learned in the past two seasons, it's that road record does matter in the NHL.

Dallas went 16-20-5 last season away from home and 12-24-5 the year before. It is bottom five over that span and has missed the playoffs both times. Heck, the Stars were darn near a franchise-best 26 wins as home last season and still fell short of the postseason.

So getting the road record back on track will be a huge task this season … and it started off on the wrong skate Monday.

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Heika: So you want to be a professional hockey player?

Through the highs and lows, life in the league is more of a high-wire act than a cakewalk

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer

Being a hockey player is a great job.

But it's also a tough job.

And, mostly, it is a job.

As much as you get a lot of money to play a game, you are an employee of not only a big company, but also part of a franchise of an even bigger company. Therefore, you have to comply with the expectations of your team, but also the rules of your league. You are part of a locker room that many want to call a family, but you are also part of a union that many want to call a brotherhood.

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Heika: What if Stars really can be as good as they sometimes are?

If Dallas can turn Saturday's second period into a complete-game effort, it might just be the league's best team

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer

There are times when the Stars can look like the best team in the NHL.

And there are times … well … pretty much not.

The interesting thing about this bunch in Victory Green is they find ways to do it on the same night.

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