The Dallas Stars are back home. And this time they get to stay a while.
Three single-game home stands are all that American Airlines Center faithful have had to enjoy over the last 30 days, and with a four game losing streak at home, 0-2-2, there wasn't as much to enjoy as many would like. This time they're here to stay with Anaheim, Chicago and Edmonton coming to call.
"More important is to focus on the next game," Ruff said, then of the home-stand overall. "We've lost two in a row, stop it at two and get going in the other direction again. We've done some real good things in those games, but we haven't won."
To his point the Stars appeared to out-play the Blues on Saturday night for long stretches, yet came away with a 6-1 defeat, and 23 shots hurled at Henrik Lundqvist last week in the opening frame against the Rangers yielded nothing.
They'll try to get pointed the right way tonight, but face a juggernaut in 17-6-3 Anaheim.
The puck drops tonight at 7:30pm CST on the NBC Sports Network. Ralph will have the call on the radio side along with... Marty Turco.
Perhaps the most notable item out of Monday's practice was that Lindy Ruff informed media that he's considering giving Dan Ellis a start sometime soon to give Kari Lehtonen a break. Making it tonight would give Lehtonen five consecutive non-game days between the St. Louis and Chicago contests so we'll watch for that out of morning skate today.
The Stars next back-to-back set is not until December 16th and 17th, both against the Colorado Avalanche, and then not again until January 9th and 10th.
Ray Whitney practiced on his regular line with Cody Eakin and Alex Chiasson, so it appears as though his return could happen tonight. Whitney has not played since the Blackhawks' 5-2 over Dallas on November 9th - A five-game absence.
Lines on Monday were these:
When last these two met the Stars jumped out to a 3-1 lead after trailing early, but capitulated in a big way as the second period wore on. See the possession numbers and graph from that one at Extraskater.com. The Seguin line was fantastic that night- But those were the only forwards (Peverley that night, not Nichushkin) in positive territory at the conclusion.
Perry and Getzlaf victimized the Eakin line, as well as the Stars' fourth trio that night, so it will be interesting to see what Ruff chooses to deploy with last change.
From Stars PR:
As I write this Monday evening the Anaheim Ducks are the top team in the National Hockey League with 37 points through 26 games. They've also lost five of their last seven.
How do you reconcile those two facts? Their 15-3-1 start to the year that afforded them a five-game losing streak before getting back on track with wins against Phoenix and Tampa heading into this one.
Anaheim has been average on the road, winning as many as they've lost (8-6-2). It's the 9-0-1 home record that sets them apart. They're at the top of the heap despite having played more road games (16) than any other. They've failed to score more than twice in 10 of them, and were averaging less than two in the six games leading up to their road win at Phoenix (4-2) Saturday.
21 of their 37 points have come from Eastern opponents (9-5-3), the most in the West, and their only regulation victories over Western Conference opponents have come at the expense of Winnipeg, Calgary, Dallas, Phoenix and Vancouver- Only one of which would make the playoffs today.
The Stars finally broke through on the power play at home last Thursday night, the final team in the league to do so, but remain vulnerable on special teams with the Ducks having scored twice on the man advantage in two of their last three games (4 of 12 in that stretch). Discipline is always recommended.
Mark Fistric has been in their lineup as of late, and played 20 minutes on the road in Phoenix Saturday.
More from Defending Big D:
- Dallas Stars Have Favorable Long Term Salary Cap Situation
- Dallas Stars Goalie Kari Lehtonen Talks Olympics, His Quick Start and Sitting On The Net in Calgary
- Dallas Stars Daily Links: Learning To Live With The Growing Pains
- What Is The Plan For Ludwig Bystrom And His Jump To North America?
- DBD Exclusive Interview with Esa Lindell, Dallas Stars' 2012 Third-Round Pick