FRISCO -- After spending a week out on the road, the Dallas Stars will play five of their next six games at American Airlines Center.
The Stars, who are 6-1-0 at home, kick off the stretch Tuesday, when they host the Florida Panthers. The first game back after a lengthy road trip can be a challenge and, in this case, so will the opponent. The Panthers are off to a good start under new coach Kevin Dineen and they have been solid on the road, winning six of their first nine games away from home.
“They play hard, they compete hard,” Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said. “They’ve got puck-moving D now with [Brian] Campbell and [Ed] Jovanovski. Those guys jump into the play and they can play offense. We’re going to have to continue to play our game. They play that hard, in-your-face style too, so I think this is going to be a real good game. It’s going to be two teams that want to play similar.”
The Stars went 2-2-0 on their four-game road trip. They lost the final two games of the trip, falling 3-1 in Pittsburgh on Friday and then 5-2 at Detroit on Saturday. The two games were good measuring sticks for the Stars, coming against two of the better teams in the league.
“It was really good to play those two teams because you almost see their evolution of what they do well,” said Gulutzan. “They’ve had a few years to perfect what they’re doing. It was a good learning experience for us as coaches. We would do things a little differently if we played them again. They exposed us in some areas where we need to be better. Our players are going to learn from these games and the coaches learn too. It’s always a good thing. We’re going to inch forward.”
Gulutzan said over the weekend that the Stars had overlooked some of their structure the past couple of weeks, and on Monday the team went over video from the last couple games of the road trip.
“We tweaked some things and looked at video today and adjusted our game a little bit,” said Stars captain Brenden Morrow. “For the most part, I think a lot of it was the work boots. It was a long trip and that last game you want to fall back on your structure a bit when you don’t get the work, there were some areas that broke down and we’ve adjusted those.”
Notes: Ott questionable for Tuesday
*Forward Steve Ott, who has missed the last five games with a hip pointer, practiced with the team Monday in Frisco, but he is questionable for Tuesday’s contest.
"It's going to be a game-time decision tomorrow," Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said after Monday’s practice. "He's very, very close. He's a for sure for Friday. I'd say it's pretty close for tomorrow. He skated the last couple days at home. He's feeling pretty good. I think the only thing is his conditioning.”
*Defenseman Philip Larsen, recalled Saturday due to the broken thumb suffered by Alex Goligoski, practiced with the team Monday. He will not play Tuesday, according to Gulutzan.
Brenden Morrow Bobblehead Night
Tuesday night is Brenden Morrow Bobblehead Night at American Airlines Center. The Stars captain said he hasn’t seen the bobblehead, but he’s sure his kids are going to like it.
“If it looks like me or not, it has the No. 10 on it and they’ll think that’s pretty cool,” Morrow said.
Steve Ott has seen the Morrow bobblehead and thinks his teammate is pretty lucky.
“I think the doll’s probably a little better looking than Brenden,” Ott said.