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Thursday, November 4, 2010
Penalty kill making progress

By Mark Stepneski

Statistically speaking the Dallas Stars penalty kill doesn’t look that impressive. It’s ranked 29th in the league at 71.4 percent. But the penalty kill has been showing signs of improvement and so have the numbers.

The Stars have not allowed a power play goal in four of their last six games and are 15-17 on the penalty kill during that stretch.

“If you look at the stats they are not that great, but we’ve done a lot of good things,” said defenseman Stephane Robidas, one of the team’s leaders in shorthanded minutes. “Overall, we’ve done a really good job and it’s just a matter of sticking with the program and keep doing the same things.”

Penalty killing was a sore spot last season and a major focus in the offseason. The Stars wanted to be more aggressive on the PK this season and they did well in the preseason, but they gave up ten in the first give games of the regular season, including three in one game and four in another.  That hasn’t helped the numbers for the season overall.

“I thought we were pretty solid in preseason but for whatever reason the numbers just weren’t on our side the first couple games of the regular season,” said forward Toby Petersen, who leads Dallas  forwards in shorthanded ice time this season. “That lit a fire under us and we’ve done a good job since then of getting things straightened out, getting the right attitude and mindset mainly of being more aggressive.  We’re trying to not let guys set up, because guys at this level are so talented that if you give them time they are going to make plays.”

The penalty kill came up big in Wednesday’s 5-2 win over Pittsburgh, thwarting a five-on-three Penguins power play that last 1:37 it was a key turning point in the game. But Stars coach Marc Crawford said Thursday the five-on-four situation is where the Stars need to do most of the work.

“We’re understanding more of how we have to kill and when we have to pressure,” said Crawford. “We’re pressuring with much more educated reasoning behind it this year and guys are building on the structure that we’ve got. You are going to give up chances and your goalie has to make saves. I like the process right now, the process is heading in the right direction. We want to keep building on it.”

Tippett on the Stars

The Phoenix Coyotes come to town Friday for their first meeting of the season with the Stars. Coyotes coach Dave Tippett was asked about the Stars during his talk with Phoenix media on Thursday.

“I haven’t watched much of them lately. I know they got off to a great start, their goaltender was playing very well and their top lines were contributing on a consistent basis. They are a good team,” Tippett said. “I know a lot of those players well and they have some people that are high skilled people that if you make mistakes they are going to capitalize on them.  They are a team that can be very dangerous.”

TV change for Saturday

The Stars have announced a change to the TV coverage for Saturday’s Dallas Stars at Colorado Avalanche game. The game, which was originally scheduled to be carried by KTXA at 8:00 p.m. CT, will now be shown on FOX Sports Plus. It will also be joined in progress on Fox Sports Southwest in the Dallas-Fort Worth market at the conclusion of the Oklahoma-Texas A&M football game.

Fox Sports Plus can be found on the following providers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area:

Time Warner – Channel 960
Charter Cable – Channel 300
DirecTV – Channel 677 (677-1 HD)
Dish Network – Channel 451
AT&T U-Verse – Channel 754 (1754 HD)
Verizon Fios – Channel TBD

If you are in an area outside the Dallas-Fort Worth market, the Stars have a list of providers and channels on the team’s official site and you can find the list by clicking here.