Stars Face More Tests on Weekend Trip

Saturday, 10.19.2013 / 7:58 AM CT / Inside Edge
By Mark Stepneski
Share with your Friends

Stars Face More Tests on Weekend Trip

After already playing two undefeated teams this week, the Stars hit the road this weekend for two more tough tests. They’ll take on the Los Angeles Kings Saturday night and then play in Anaheim against the Ducks on Sunday.

“It seems like there are no more easy games in this league any more. There are no nights off,” said Stars forward Shawn Horcoff. “When I first started there were three or four teams where there was a lot of separation. Now, there is so much parity that there is just not an easy game. Now with the systems everyone plays, there is a lot of backchecking, everyone works hard. With Los Angeles and Anaheim, you’ve got two bigger and physical teams and it’s going to be a good test for us again.”

The Stars head to California after seeing positive steps against two teams that started the season on impressive rolls. They played well in Denver Tuesday night, outshooting the then unbeaten Colorado Avalanche 41-26 in a 3-2 loss where mistakes cost them points.

On Thursday, they took on the San Jose Sharks, the NHL’s hottest team, at American Airlines Center. The Stars outshot the Sharks through regulation and then prevailed in a shootout, handing the Sharks their first loss of the season.

“I thought the speed game, we came at them hard. Our defense got involved,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “I thought the speed of our team backed them off.”

“There’s still room for growth and improvement, but the way we’ve played the last two games guys are feeling good,” said Stars center Cody Eakin. “We’ve been playing fast and making it hard on the other teams.”

Call it the first steps in finding their identity as a team.

“There are certain things we are starting to figure out what we need to do to be successful,” said Horcoff. “It’s still a process. It’s only been six games and we’ve still got a ways to go, but I think we’re starting to figure out an identity.”

And figuring it out isn’t a matter of flipping a switch. It can take some time, especially when you consider all the changes the Stars went through in the offseason as far as player personnel, the coaching staff and the front office.

“Any time you go through a lot of changes it takes you a little while to figure out what you are as a team,” said goaltender Dan Ellis. “I think we’ve started to find that out. Against Colorado we made some real positive strides and then (Thursday) night against a team that is undefeated, you outshoot them pretty much, outplay them in a lot of the areas of the rink and you end up with a big win. I think we are starting to find the way we play, and it’s an exciting brand of hockey. It’s one that gives us success.”

And the hope is they’ll build on that success this weekend in California. It won’t be easy. The Kings are still one of the better teams in the league. They are 5-3-0, a solid record for a team that has played six of the first eight games on the road. The nucleus of the team that won the Stanley Cup in 2012 and went to the Western Conference Finals last season is still in place. The Ducks are off to a great start as well. They are 6-1-0 on the season and 4-0-0 at home. They ran their winning streak to six games with a 3-2 shootout victory over Phoenix Friday night.

“Every game is tough. It seems you go into it and think the next game might be a bit easier, but you play another undefeated team,” said Stars defenseman Brenden Dillon. “We know these two well. There are a lot of good players, they are big teams, they push the puck and they are both off to really good starts. They are going to be two tough tests for us for sure.”

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.




1 CHI 56 36 16 4 158 128 76
2 DAL 53 33 15 5 170 142 71
3 STL 55 30 17 8 132 129 68
4 LAK 51 31 17 3 135 117 65
5 SJS 51 27 20 4 147 138 58
6 NSH 53 25 20 8 136 139 58
7 COL 55 27 24 4 148 152 58
8 ANA 50 25 18 7 111 115 57
9 MIN 52 23 20 9 127 126 55
10 ARI 52 24 22 6 138 161 54
11 VAN 52 20 20 12 120 142 52
12 CGY 51 23 25 3 134 148 49
13 WPG 52 23 26 3 136 150 49
14 EDM 53 21 27 5 131 156 47


J. Benn 53 28 31 15 59
T. Seguin 53 28 28 10 56
J. Klingberg 53 8 35 14 43
J. Spezza 52 18 22 5 40
P. Sharp 53 16 24 -1 40
C. Eakin 53 10 13 1 23
A. Goligoski 53 3 20 17 23
M. Janmark 53 10 9 13 19
A. Roussel 51 8 10 5 18
V. Nichushkin 50 6 12 7 18
A. Niemi 20 10 5 .908 2.52
K. Lehtonen 13 5 0 .907 2.82 is the official Web site of DSE Hockey Club, L.P.  The Stars name and logos are registered trademarks of the NHL and the Stars. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2016 DSE Hockey Club, L.P. and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

Corporate Partnerships | Contact UsPrivacy Policy | AdChoices | Job Opportunities | Terms of Use | Site Map | Find us on Google+