The Dallas Stars get one last chance Monday night against the Calgary Flames to get a bit of confidence back before the extended six-day break surrounding the All-Star festivities this coming weekend.
Lindy Ruff's comments after the team's loss to Colorado Saturday night despite out-attempting the Avs 106-32 and out-shooting them 43-15 were pointed in their criticism of his best players, including his two All-Stars and of the team's power play specifically.
"To force them out of their game, you have to get the lead. We didn't force them out of their game and we had to be a little harder around the front of the net," he said. "I thought some of our second opportunities were one-and-done. We kind of drifted by. I'd like to see Jamie sometimes rebound, just hit the brakes and go for the second rebound. Tyler the same thing."
The first power play unit was on the ice for both pivotal shorthanded goals against, and it's not clear what will comprise that first unit tonight.
"That first unit, I may have to shake it up," Ruff opined. "It's gotten a little bit stale and a little bit slow. Not real quick on the entries and not generating enough opportunities."
Then again at practice on Sunday- "I know when our top guys are struggling to get on the board it is hard to win games."
The Stars' big guns have slowed their production, and with it the Stars' point collection. To a near stand-still. As they go, so go the Stars.
In Calgary the Stars get another team, like Colorado, that played and traveled the night before. And like the Avs, the Flames started their season in disastrous fashion but have since risen from the ashes to put together a pretty good stretch of hockey that's lasted a good two months.
They were 6-12-1 on November 5th. They're 15-10-2 since, including a seven-game win streak that included two victories over- Surprise, these same Dallas Stars- And that was when these Stars were dominant.
Dallas out-shot the Flames 36-27 here on December 17th and yet found just a single goal against Karri Ramo- Troublesome in light of the fact that Dallas has been held to a single goal on home ice in three of their last four at American Airlines Center.
Ramo, however, was pulled early in the second period last night in Carolina after allowing his third on the evening to spot the Hurricanes a 3-0 lead. Jonas Hiller stopped 15 of 17 in relief and the Flames dropped the game 5-2.
The Flames went 0-for-5 on their league-worst power play, and have a 13.7% mark on the road this season.
Their penalty kill, however, has been a bit of a bright spot for them on the road. Before allowing one to Carolina last night they had killed 14 straight on the road- And what's remarkable about that number is that those 14 chances surrendered came across eight games. Very stingy on the road- Which could suit Dallas fine as the Stars dominated even-strength play Saturday.
At 3.04 they allow more goals than every other team, save the Blue Jackets at 3.20.
They've no notable injuries, and here's their lineup or something like it-
From Stars PR:
The Dallas Stars conclude a three-game homestand when they face the Calgary Flames on Monday night for the third and final matchup of the 2015-16 season series. Dallas has earned points against Calgary in nine of the last 12 games (5-3-4) played at American Airlines Center. In the most recent meeting of the season series on Dec. 17 in Dallas, Calgary defeated Dallas, 3-1, and lead the season series (1-0-1). Defenseman Johnny Oduya recorded the lone goal (1-0=1) for the Stars, with forward Vernon Fiddler adding the lone assist (0-1=1). Oduya is the only Stars skater to record points in both of his games this season against the Flames (1-1=2).
THE ROUS IS ON THE LOOSE
Stars forward Antoine Roussel tallied an assist (0-1=1) on Saturday night against the Colorado Avalanche and now has points in three of his last four games (0-3=3). The native of Roubaix, France has tallied 17 points (7-10=17) in 47 games this season and shares ninth in the NHL with five game-winning goals this season. Roussel leads the club and ranks 11th in the League with 67 penalty minutes during the 2015-16 campaign. He has recorded four points (2-2=4) in 11 career games against the Calgary Flames.