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Solid First Impressions

Friday, 02.29.2008 / 3:37 PM CT / Feature
By Dallas Stars Staff
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Solid First Impressions

Most players look to have a solid effort in their debut with a new club – maybe score a goal or make a few plays to help their team win.

New Dallas center Brad Richards set the bar high in his Stars debut on Thursday vs. Chicago, earning five assists in a 7-4 win over the Blackhawks.

Richards did not waste much time making an impression in his first game, notching his first point as a Dallas Star with a nice assist on a Niklas Hagman goal just five minutes into the contest. Richards spotted Hagman driving to the net and shot a perfect pass that Hagman deflected in.

"I don't think I even saw the puck coming, I just had my stick on the ice and it hit it. That was a nice pass," Hagman said.

Hagman would find the net two more times on the evening for his first career hat trick, while Richards racked up five assists, setting new personal bests in helpers and points in one game while tying a Stars record for assists in one contest.

The team was definitely energized by having a new teammate with the talents of Richards. Everyone on the roster seemed to have an extra jump in their step.

"I think that everybody wants to play good with the new guy here,” Hagman said. “I definitely want to show him I can play. Maybe he remembers me from Florida, when I was wondering what to do with the puck and just being annoying to people who had the puck. Over here I have the chance to play with the puck, so I obviously want to play hard but still show that I can actually play hockey too. Having him in the lineup was definitely a boost for us."

A five-assist boost.

"(Richards) had a great first night,” said Head Coach Dave Tippett. He is such a quality player. When you have people like that, with the character and skill level he has, hopefully it will be a little easier. Last night he fit in very well with Niklas Hagman and Antti Miettinen. We will continue to try and fit him in our group and hopefully he meshes well and keeps moving forward."

Miettinen said that the overall team confidence is a real bonus right now.

"I was excited to play with the new guy, and we just went out there and played," Miettinen said. "We're a really confident team right now. We are going in to every game knowing we can win every one of them. That confidence is a great thing to have."

There are 14 games left in the regular season and the Stars hope they can continue to push for the division title.

"It has only been one game with Brad but I think there was a lot of excitement from everybody there,” said Tippett. “We have the ‘never-to-high-never-to-low’ attitude around here. We will have to keep pushing our group ahead and as long as everyone is doing their job hopefully it will work out."

Hagman has had an excellent season and has provided a lot of energy, especially when his team needs it.

"Hagman finds openings but he also creates those openings with his speed and his desire to get around the net,” said Tippett. “The first goal (Thursday) was a perfect example. It was a play that comes across as nothing, but his speed and relentless work to get to the net creates the play. Richards is a great passer and had a great pass, but Hagman got to that area to score."

Next up is the Nashville Predators on Saturday night (7 pm, My 27, News/Talk 820 WBAP).

"I know (Nashville) looks at the road trip that they are on right now as a very important trip on their quest to make the playoffs,” said Tippett. “They are going to be a determined team that plays a solid road game. We have to be willing to put the work in. I know last night we scored some pretty nice goals, but those goals only come into play if you put the work ahead of them."

For the Stars, its simply a matter of keeping things going in the right direction.

"We need to continue to play our game and play within our system defensively, offensively, with speed, and whatever the game plan is,” said Marty Turco. “Nashville poses an intense threat. They are a team that finishes checks and plays the game the right way. They beat us last time they were here, so it's important for us to do the good things. Lately that has been turning into wins."

The recipe is simple – a strong effort in a full 60 minutes.

"We don't need to mix anything with our defensive play. That needs to be our standard,” said Turco. “It's all about hard work. It's not rocket science but it is hockey intelligence and we've been able to utilize that to our advantage this year. So we need to play sound hockey and have good transitions with speed to give ourselves a chance with the puck more often. That will stem from our defensive ability to move the puck and communicate to get out of the first two zones. Last night we made some fancy plays that did look great, but at the end of the day come June we won't care how pretty they are as long as it adds up to sixteen."

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 CHI 55 35 16 4 153 127 74
2 DAL 52 33 14 5 169 137 71
3 STL 54 29 17 8 128 128 66
4 LAK 51 31 17 3 135 117 65
5 SJS 50 27 19 4 145 132 58
6 COL 54 27 23 4 146 148 58
7 NSH 52 24 20 8 130 137 56
8 ANA 49 24 18 7 106 113 55
9 MIN 51 23 19 9 126 122 55
10 ARI 51 24 21 6 136 156 54
11 VAN 51 20 19 12 119 138 52
12 CGY 49 22 24 3 129 145 47
13 WPG 50 22 25 3 129 143 47
14 EDM 52 21 26 5 130 151 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 52 28 30 16 58
T. Seguin 52 27 28 12 55
J. Klingberg 52 8 35 17 43
J. Spezza 52 18 22 5 40
P. Sharp 52 16 24 -1 40
C. Eakin 52 10 13 2 23
A. Goligoski 52 3 20 20 23
M. Janmark 52 10 9 13 19
A. Roussel 50 8 10 6 18
V. Nichushkin 49 6 12 8 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Niemi 20 9 5 .910 2.46
K. Lehtonen 13 5 0 .908 2.82
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