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Thursday Practice Update

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

After having a day off on Wednesday, the Dallas Stars were back on the ice Thursday morning in Frisco. There were no changes to the Stars’ lineup. The forward line combinations and defense pairs were the same used in Tuesday’s game at Montreal.

That game, a 2-1 loss, wrapped the Stars month of October. The Stars posted a 5-6-1 record for the month and coach Lindy Ruff offered a brief state of the Stars after Thursday’s practice session.

“I think we are getting closer to where we want to be,” Ruff said. “We’ve really cut down on the careless plays of late. I want to see us creating more, there were some opportunities to carry the puck over the line where we gave up possession. The last two games, our discipline (was good), our power play looked good, scored a goal. Our penalty kill was strong, our faceoffs are getting better.

“We’re making steps, but the only one that counts now is learning how to win. That might be by blocking a shot, that might be creating an extra chance, but I don’t think we’re quite there yet.”

The Stars will kick off the month of November with Friday night’s game against the Colorado Avalanche at American Airlines Center. The Avalanche are off to an impressive start this season, winning 10 of their first 11 games (10-1-0).

“They’re still a pretty hot team,” said Stars captain Jamie Benn. “They’ve got pretty good goaltenders over there, so we are going to have to find a way to get dirty and find the greasy ones. It’s going to be a pretty tough challenge.”

“They’re fast, skilled and they’ve had some really good goaltending, but the first thing that comes to mind is that they are a fast and skilled team,” said Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas. “They move the puck really well, they work hard on the forecheck and they backcheck really hard.”

This will be the second time the Stars have faced the Avalanche. The Stars lost 3-2 to Colorado in Denver on Oct. 15 despite holding a 41-26 shots advantage in the game.

“I think it is strong play by their goaltending, everything would start there. They’re young forwards up front have been fabulous. They’ve got two areas,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “I think they’ve found ways to win games they probably shouldn’t have won, even the game against us. We played a pretty strong contest, but we didn’t get enough by their goaltender.”

Home power play outage

The Stars have played five games at home so far this season, and have a solid 3-1-1 record. After losing their first home game against Florida, they’ve picked up points in four straight home games (3-0-1).

One thing that hasn’t gone well at home has been the power play. It’s 0-16 at American Airlines Center and has managed just 14 shots on goal during those 16 opportunities. On the road, the Stars’ power play has been far more effective, hitting on 7 of 25 (24.0 percent) of opportunities.

“I think we can do things differently (at home),” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “It starts with trying to get a little too fancy and not getting enough pucks to the net, passing around the perimeter when you have seams to get it there. I think the road (power play) has done a good job of moving the puck around, getting the puck to the net, battling for the second opportunities and part of that is retrieval. Our retrievals at home, I don’t think we’ve been desperate enough.”

Everybody ropes, everybody rides

The Stars have a new slogan in their locker room in Frisco that reads: “Everybody Ropes. Everybody Rides.”

Stars coach Lindy Ruff, who used the phrase in an interview earlier this season, offered an explanation of what it means.

“The meaning behind it is we need everybody to do the little things,” Ruff said. “If it takes getting your body in front of a puck late in a period or late in a game to prevent a puck from getting to the net, it’s got to be done. It’s sticking up for a teammate if something on the ice occurs that you need everybody in there. In todays’ game, if you look around, it’s the willingness to commit to the system you are playing and play it as strong as you can possibly play it.”

Stars practice lineup

Jamie BennTyler SeguinErik Cole
Ray Whitney
Cody EakinAlex Chiasson
Valeri Nichushkin
Shawn HorcoffRich Peverley
Lane MacDermid
Vernon FiddlerAntoine Roussel
Ryan Garbutt

Brenden DillonStephane Robidas
Trevor Daley
Sergei Gonchar
Alex Goligoski
Jordie Benn
Kevin Connauton

Kari Lehtonen
Dan Ellis

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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