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Stars Hope Hitting Road Gives Them Shot in Arm

Monday, 02.20.2012 / 8:41 PM / News
By Steve Hunt
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Stars Hope Hitting Road Gives Them Shot in Arm

On the heels of Sunday’s disappointing home loss to Nashville, the Dallas Stars (29-26-4, 62 points), who currently sit in 10th place in the Western Conference standings, maybe heading out for a two-game trip to Montreal on Tuesday and Chicago on Thursday could be the cure for their current two-game winless streak.

“Yeah, it’s going to be another good chance for us to go on the road. You look at the Buffalo and Columbus trip, we had some success. So I think we need to get on the road here again and try to duplicate that,” Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan said on Monday after an optional practice. “We’ve got another chance to get points coming back home off the road. It’s going to be a tough one but it’s certainly within our range to pick up some points.”

The trip starts with Tuesday’s game against the Canadiens (24-26-10, 58 points), a team who currently sits 13th in the Eastern Conference. Montreal is just 11-13-8 at home this season, and 5-4-1 in their last 10 games. The Habs have also lost in overtime on 10 occasions, tying them for second-most OTLs in the league.

Montreal last played on Sunday, when they fell 3-1 to New Jersey, a game where the Canadiens went nearly 18 minutes without a shot in the opening period. If the Stars are to shake their current malaise and start a push toward a possible playoff berth for the first time in three seasons, there’s no time like the present.

“We’ve got to get some kind of consistency with winning and I think that point is probably right now,” Dallas defenseman Alex Goligoski said after Sunday’s loss to the Predators.  “You say it’s the Phoenix game, and after that game, you say, maybe it’s this one, but it’s probably right now.  Your desperation has to be as high as it’s going to get.”

The Stars will go with Kari Lehtonen, who will be making his 10th straight start, in goal against the Habs but on Monday, Gulutzan said his club will go with backup Richard Bachman on Thursday night in the Windy City.

Bachman’s clearly ready to play for the first time since Feb. 2 at San Jose.

“We need results. We need to get points. Going on the road is sometimes a good thing to get the guys together again, especially for more than just one day,” he said. “Going out there for four days and playing in two of the better places to play in the league, two cities with great fans and good crowds. There should be a lot of energy in the buildings and stuff. I think that will be good to amp us up here and hopefully get some results we need.”

Dallas captain Brenden Morrow will not travel with the team as he continues to recover from an upper body issue. His return won’t come until the first week of March at the earliest. However, there is much better news on the injury front for 2012 All-Star center Jamie Benn (knee) and defenseman Sheldon Souray.

“He (Benn) is still a couple days away,” Gulutzan said. “I’m glad the injury was stitches and not something worse.”

The Stars head coach offered a similar prognosis on Souray. “Yeah, I think Chicago would be realistic,” Gulutzan said. “I think that’s what we’ll be looking at. Sheldon should be ready in Chicago.”

Souray also chimed in on his current condition: “I feel good. Trying to get a couple of practices in with the guys, get some of the timing back,” he said. “Haven’t been off too long, so hopefully it shouldn’t take too long to get back in the lineup.”

In the Blackhawks (32-21-7, 71 points), the Stars will be facing a team they haven’t seen since early October, when each team won in their own building at the front end of the regular season. Chicago currently sits sixth in the West standings but is just 3-6-1 in their last 10 games. However, the Hawks are an impressive 20-6-4 at United Center, the second most home wins in the NHL. They will head into Thursday’s game just two days removed from hosting the Red Wings on Tuesday night in Chicago.

Defenseman Stephane Robidas knows that if he and his teammates are going to break through against the Habs, Hawks or even both, their attention to detail needs to be higher than at any other point during the season.

“We just have to give a little more,” Robidas said after Sunday’s loss. “We’re close but close is not good enough. We need results and we just got to find a way to do little things right.”

His veteran teammate who figures to return against Chicago after missing a seventh straight game with a foot injury, agrees.

“Well, it just sounds like kind of a broken record at this point. Every game is like a playoff game for us,” Souray said. “We’re running out of chances of saying we’ve got to be better, we’ve got to do better. At this point, I think it’s a little less talk and a little more action. If we want to get in there, we still control our fate to a certain degree. So we’ve got to win our hockey games, be a little more consistent and see what happens. But it’ll be a bad feeling in here if we don’t start approaching these games like it’s do or die.”





1 NSH 63 41 15 7 191 151 89
2 ANA 63 39 17 7 186 176 85
3 STL 62 40 18 4 192 153 84
4 CHI 63 37 21 5 183 150 79
5 WPG 63 31 20 12 174 170 74
6 VAN 61 35 23 3 174 162 73
7 MIN 62 33 22 7 176 161 73
8 LAK 61 29 20 12 164 157 70
9 CGY 62 33 25 4 175 160 70
10 SJS 63 30 25 8 175 181 68
11 COL 63 27 25 11 167 182 65
12 DAL 62 27 25 10 195 207 64
13 ARI 63 20 36 7 138 214 47
14 EDM 63 18 35 10 143 208 46


J. Benn 62 23 37 -1 60
T. Seguin 55 29 30 0 59
J. Spezza 62 15 37 -3 52
E. Cole 57 18 15 4 33
T. Daley 59 16 16 -9 32
J. Klingberg 48 10 22 2 32
C. Eakin 59 14 14 -2 28
A. Hemsky 56 9 17 -7 26
A. Goligoski 62 2 24 2 26
A. Roussel 60 12 11 -11 23
K. Lehtonen 25 13 10 .905 2.97
J. Enroth 13 24 2 .900 3.31
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