Dallas Stars: Jason Williams

A couple of Thursday night notes.

*No big surprise, but earlier today Stars defense prospect Jamie Oleksiak was officially added to the roster for Canada's National Junior Team development camp, which will begin next week. The Stars' first round pick (14th overall) in this summer's draft, who has dual citizenship, declined an invitation to Team USA's camp and decided to try out for Canada's World Junior team.

Right wing Brett Ritchie, the Stars second round pick (44th overall) in the 2011 draft, will also attend the camp. The players at the camp are split into Team Red and Team White and both Ritchie and Oleksiak are on Team Red. You can see the rosters here. More on the camp next week.

Speaking of Oleksiak, he is now on Twitter. You can find him here: @jamieoleksiak

*Ex-Star Jason Williams has found a new home. He signed a one-year, two way contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins earlier this week. It will pay him $600,000 at the NHL level and $105,000 in the minors, according to capgeek.com.

Here's a look at the status of the 2010-11 Dallas Stars players who became unrestricted free agents on July 1.

FRISCO, Texas -- GM Joe Nieuwendyk said adding top six forward, a top defenseman and improving his team's depth are on the agenda as he looks forward to putting together the 2011-12 version of the Dallas Stars.

“I think our first hurdle is to find out what our budget will be and we don’t have that number yet. We should know that soon,” Nieuwendyk said.

Either way, the Stars did have permission to try to sign Brad Richards to extension during this past season, so there is money available.

“By them giving us the ability to go out and sign Brad it says that our payroll will be higher. So we’ll have some money to play with. Some of that will be allocated to the bumps in salaries that we have,” he said. “We’re looking at free agency, we have our list and the guys initially we want to target. There’s money to be spent and players to go get.”

It’s money that can be used to acquire players in free agency, which will not be particularly strong as far as top end talent, or via trade. Right now, the Stars have 17 likely roster players under contract for about $38 million. Last year they spent around $46 million to $47 million.

One of the priorities for 2011-12 is a top six forward with it becoming clear now that Richards will hit the free agent market and will not be back with the team. Nieuwendyk said that top six forward might come through a trade rather than overspending on one in free agency.

“I think we need a top 6 forward with Brad obviously moving on,” Nieuwendyk said. “Jamie [Benn] shifting to center is a very likely scenario. It’s not 100 percent set in stone yet. If you’ve Benner and Loui [Eriksson] and you’ve got [Mike Ribeiro] and Brenden [Morrow], there’s your top two (lines)and you fill in around them.”

While adding Alex Goligoski at last season’s trade deadline was a major boost to the defense, Nieuwendyk said adding a top defenseman is a focus as well.

“We’d like to improve our defense for sure,” he said. “Again, it may be through trade.”

Depth is another priority. It’s an area that hurt the Stars last season and something that has paid dividends for teams that have gone deep in the playoffs.

“One of the things last year, I felt our depth was not good. You look at the teams that have gone through the playoffs here, they use a lot of their people,” Nieuwendyk said. “We need to work on those third and fourth line guys.”

Dallas’ free agents

Nieuwendyk said the Stars haven’t made any decisions on the team’s own unrestricted free agents.

“We’ve talked to them briefly,” Nieuwendyk said. “[Assistant GM] Frank [Provenzano] has reached out to each one of them. We’ve asked them to be patient and in a holding pattern.”

The Stars GM said some will not be back and there’s a possibility some could return. Among the team’s key unrestricted free agents are: RW Jamie Langenbrunner, LW Brian Sutherby, RW Brandon Segal, RW Jason Williams, D Karlis Skrastins and D Jeff Woywitka.

Coaching search update

There’s not much new on the search for a head coach. Nieuwendyk has met with Texas Stars coach Glen Gulutzan, Montreal assistant Kirk Muller, Nashville assistant Peter Horachek and former Stars, Flyers and Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock.

“All were impressive,” Nieuwendyk said. “Ideally, I’d like to have it done by the draft but even more certainly by free agency.”

Nieuwendyk said getting it done by free agency is important because as the Stars start talking to free agents those players will want to know who is coaching the team.

Slow going on Stars' search for coach

May, 18, 2011
5/18/11
12:54
PM CT
The search for the next coach of the Dallas Stars has been slow going so far, but it should start to gain a little steam soon.

“We’re in the early stages,” said Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk, who is currently out of town for a couple days. “When I get back we’ll start to formulate a plan moving forward here, but there hasn’t been any urgency on our part. We’ve been kind of waiting to see what kind of direction things would go as far as ownership. I think now we’re in a position where we can start to move forward.”

The resolution of the ownership situation continues to move along. Vancouver businessman Tom Gaglardi is in an exclusive negotiating period during which he is trying to finalize a deal for the team. The process would still have to run through bankruptcy court, but there is a chance it could be wrapped up in early June. It could take longer if there are some snags along the way.

So far there have been no formal interviews, but Nieuwendyk has had some contact “in one way or another” with potential candidates. Among that group appear to be Montreal assistant coach Kirk Muller, Texas Stars coach Glen Gulutzan, Dallas Stars associate coach Willie Desjardins and former Dallas Stars coach Ken Hitchcock, who just wrapped up a stint as head coach of Team Canada at the World Championship in Slovakia.

He expects to have initial talks with more, put together a list and get down to the serious business of conducting interviews.

“In my head there is no set number of interviews,” he said. “I would say three, four or five is probably the right range.”

Nieuwendyk said there is no time frame for concluding the search and no matter how long the process takes he is confident the Stars - who are one of five teams currently looking for a new head coach - will get a quality successor for Marc Crawford, who was fired at the end of the season.

“I think we feel comfortable that once we go through the process we’ll find the right guy,” Nieuwendyk said.

No movement on Stars’ UFAs

Nieuwendyk said movement concerning the Stars’ pending unrestricted free agents is on hold right now due to ownership situation.

“It’s kind of muddy because of the timing of the ownership, trying to sort out what our budget will be and then we can move forward from there,” Nieuwendyk said. “I have reached out to them to indicate to them that we haven’t made any decision and we’ll be in touch.”

Brad Richards, Jamie Langenbrunner, Karlis Skrastins, Brian Sutherby, Brandon Segal, Jeff Woywitka and Jason Williams are among the team’s key unrestricted free agents.

Stars impressive in key victory

March, 18, 2011
3/18/11
12:10
AM CT
DALLAS -- Needing two points in a tight Western Conference playoff race, the Dallas Stars rolled out a gem of a performance Thursday night, defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 5-0 at American Airlines Center.

The victory snapped a two-game losing streak and moved the Stars into sixth place in the Western Conference, one spot ahead of Chicago.

The Blackhawks came into the game on a 9-1-2 run and as the league’s top-scoring team, but the Stars gave them little in the way of scoring opportunities. Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, one of the hottest scorers in the league lately, had no shots on goal. His linemate Patrick Kane had just one shot.

“Yeah, it was very good,” Stars coach Marc Crawford said of the team’s defensive play. “We were really pleased with the way everybody pitched in defensively. I thought you look at key elements in our game tonight where we need to have big performances from-our defense, our penalty killing and our goaltender, and we got all of those things.”

Kari Lehtonen, who has was making his 12th straight start and his 21st in the last 23 games, made 23 saves for his second shutout of the season and his second in the last four games.

“Everybody was certainly ready,” Lehtonen said. “We had lost two in a row at home. We really wanted to win, play the right way, do the little things right and be responsible especially in our own end. I think that showed today.”

The Stars’ penalty kill came up big in the game, going 4-4 against one of the league’s top ranked power plays.

“Our penalty killing, I think that was probably the strongest penalty kill game we’ve had this year and it was a difference maker,” Crawford said.

And there was plenty of offense for the Stars, who got goals from five different players.

"We were good in the all the areas you have to be good in and that’s great when you get a result like that," Crawford said. "It can really springboard our play. If we continue to have really good defensive play, we have enough offense. So we’ve got good offensive tools here and they showed it tonight.”

The Stars broke the scoreless tie with some help from Lehtonen, who kicked out a rebound to Brad Richards, who then set up Steve Ott on a breakaway and Ott scored with 2:23 left in the first period to give the Stars a 1-0 lead.

The Stars scored two goals early in the second period to break the game open, both goals produced by the line of Brenden Morrow, Mike Ribeiro and Jamie Benn. Ribeiro set up Benn on a two-on-one to make it a 2-0 game and then Benn set up Morrow off the rush to make it 3-0. Jason Williams and Brandon Segal scored in the third.

“It’s big when you get depth scoring like that,” said Morrow. “We worked hard, turned pucks over, were good on transition, drove the net.”

The win was a solid bounce back effort for the Stars following Tuesday’s 6-3 loss to San Jose. And it was a much-needed win for a team that didn’t need a third straight loss.

“From here on out -- the next 11 games -- we could probably say that every time we win that it’s the biggest win,” said Stars center Brad Richards, who had two assists. “This was good for our locker room because it this is a little bit how it feels when you are in a series. You lose a couple heartbreakers and you are still right in it. You’ve got to get right back on the horse and win a big one.”

And the Stars were able to do that Thursday. The next big one is Saturday when Eastern Conference power Philadelphia comes to town.

Quotable

"He got in the scrap and took a pretty good punch from the young left-hander for Chicago. Like my father always used to tell me, it’s not the guys that get black eyes that should be embarrassed, Marc, it’s the guys that never get them. He said that after I got punched out one night in junior hockey. He stuck with it tonight and scored a big goal. That would be one that my father would be proud of. I’m sure Brandon’s pretty happy. He’s a popular guy. The guys were all happy to see him come into the dressing room after he cleared waivers this morning and it’s nice to see him contribute. He stayed with it today, did a lot of good things in the game in the limited minutes that he got and that’s what we need. We need performances from everybody and if you play six or seven minutes, make sure they’re impactful and his were.”

Stars coach Marc Crawford on Brandon Segal, who scored a goal in his first game since being recalled from the Texas Stars of the AHL

Stars rout Blackhawks, 5-0

March, 17, 2011
3/17/11
8:17
PM CT


The Dallas Stars snapped a two-game losing streak with an impressive 5-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks at American Airlines Center on Thursday night.

Kari Lehtonen stopped 23 shots for his second shutout in the last four games. Jamie Benn and Brenden Morrow each had a goal and an assist. Steve Ott, Jason Williams and Brandon Segal also scored goals. Mike Ribeiro and Brad Richards had two assists each.

The Stars improved to 2-2-1 on their current homestand, which continues Saturday when they take on the Philadelphia Flyers.

Quotable

“We were really pleased with the way everybody pitched in defensively. I thought you look at key elements in our game tonight where we need to have big performances from our defense, our penalty killing and our goaltender, and we got all of those things. … Our penalty killing, I think that was probably the strongest penalty kill game we’ve had this year and it was a difference maker.” – Stars coach Marc Crawford

“Everybody was certainly ready. We had lost two in a row at home. We really wanted to win, play the right way, do the little things right and be responsible especially in our own end. I think that showed today.” – Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen.

“From here on out – the next 11 games - we could probably say that every time we win that it’s the biggest win. This was good for our locker room because it this is a little bit how it feels when you are in a series. You lose a couple heartbreakers and you are still right in it. You’ve got to get right back on the horse and win a big one.“ – Stars forward Brad Richards

Notes

*Stars won the season series against Chicago with a 3-1-0 record. Chicago had a 1-2-1 mark in the three games.

*Kari Lehtonen’s shutout was his second of the season and his second in the last four games.

*Lehtonen picked up his sixth assist in the season in the game, setting a new franchise mark for assists by a goaltender in a season. Lehtonen had been tied with Marty (2008-09) and Ed Belfour (2001-02), who had five assists in a season.

*Jamie Benn ran his points streak to nine games (8 goals, 5 assists) .

*Mike Ribeiro has 15 points (6 goals, 9 assists) in the last 14 games.

*Steve Ott’s goal was his first since February 9 and snapped a 16-game goal scoring drought.

*The Stars won on St. Patrick’s Day for the first time since March 17, 1998 (4-3 vs. Los Angeles).

First period

The Stars scored the only goal of the period with 2:23 left. After Kari Lehtonen made a save on Michael Frolik, Brad Richards got to the rebound and set up Steve Ott on a breakaway with a long backhand pass, and Ott beat Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford with a wrist shot. Lehtonen picked up an assist on the goal, giving him six on the season which established a new franchise record.

The Blackhawks outshot the Stars 11-8 in the period. Both teams had one power play chance and both were 0-1.

Stars forward Brandon Segal and Blackhawks forward Jake Dowell dropped the gloves late in the period and both picked up fighting majors.

Mark Fistric and Krys Barch were scratched for the Stars. Loui Eriksson (upper body) and Adam Burish (lower body) are out.

Second period

The Stars made it a 2-0 game at 1:01 of the second period. After Brenden Morrow blocked a shot the Stars got a two-on-one and Mike Ribeiro set up Jamie Benn, who blasted the puck past Corey Crawford from the right circle.

The Stars made it 3-0 at the 3:35 mark with a goal off the rush. Benn sent a cross-ice pass to Morrow, who scored off a one-timer from the right circle. That was it for Crawford, who gave up three goals on ten shots. In came backup Marty Turco.

The Blackhawks got a 4:00 power play with 12:33 left in the second when Tomas Vincour took a double minor for high sticking, but Chicago couldn’t take advantage. Blackhawks defenseman negated 2:00 of the power play when he took a charging penalty and the Stars were able to kill off the rest of the time to keep it a 3-0 game.

Steve Ott got his second breakaway of the game late in the period, but couldn’t cash in on this one as Turco made a sharp glove save to keep it a 3-0 game with 2:15 left in the second.

The Stars almost 4-0 just as time was expiring, but Alex Goligoski’s shot hit the post.

Third period

The Stars extended the lead to 4-0 at the 2:54 mark of the third period. After Turco came out of the net, he turned it to Stars forward Jason Williams and Williams put it into the open net as Turco tried scramble back into position.

Just after a Dallas power play expired Brandon Segal, recalled earlier in the day from the AHL, scored off a scramble in front of the net to give the Stars a 5-0 lead at the 11:52 mark.

Stars lineup

Morrow-Ribeiro-Benn
Ott-Richards-Langenbrunner
Petersen-Wandell-Williams
Vincour-Benn-Segal
Sutherby-Wandell-Vincour

Grossman-Robidas
Skrastins-Goligoski
Woywitka-Daley

Lehtonen
Raycroft (backup)

Injured: Eriksson (upper body), Burish (lower body)

Scratches: Barch, Fistric

Power play units

Morrow-Ribeiro-Benn-Goligoski-Robidas
Ott-Richards-Langenbrunner-Goligoski-Robidas/Woywitka/Daley

Penalty kill units

Ott-Benn-Skrastins-Robidas
Wandell-Petersen-Goligoski-Robidas
Morrow-Ribeiro-Skrastins-Grossman
Petersen-Langenbrunner-Skrastins-Robidas

Stars' forward depth paying dividends

March, 13, 2011
3/13/11
12:17
AM CT
The Dallas Stars are on an eight-game points streak and they are on a streak within that streak. They are on an eight-game streak of scoring three goals or more, totaling 27 goals for an average of 3.4 per game.

The offensive run has coincided with the Stars getting healthy at the forward position over the past couple weeks. The Stars’ depth at forward, which had been gutted by injury, has been back to full strength for the most part during this recent run and it’s gotten better with the return of Brad Richards this past week. Now, opponents have to try to decide which of the Stars’ big guns they are going to focus on with their top defensive players.

“Who do they try to shut down that night? It’s tough,” said Stars captain Brenden Morrow.

“I think one of the strengths of our club is we are a tough team to match up against,” said Stars coach Marc Crawford. “Now that Brad is back, do they favor Brad, do they favor [Mike Ribeiro]? And Jamie Benn has scored at a really good level. Often times they all play on different lines.”

Benn (6 goals), Ribeiro (4 goals) and Loui Eriksson (4 goals), who is Richards’ linemate, have combined for 14 of the Stars’ 27 goals over the last eight games, but the team is getting contributions from players down the lineup as well.

“Mentally it takes some of the pressure of those top two lines when you’re getting depth,” said Morrow. “You can’t overlook those things.”

Tom Wandell has chipped in three goals over the last eight games. Jason Williams scored the game-winning goal in San Jose. Tomas Vincour scored a game-tying goal against Calgary that earned the team a crucial point. Ten different forwards have scored over the last eight games.

“It’s great when that happens, especially this time of year. You need guys stepping up and getting the job done,” said Stars defenseman Trevor Daley. “It can’t be the usual suspects all the time. It’s the right time for it to be happening.

And the Stars’ defense has chipped in three goals and 15 assists during the last eight games, led by Alex Goligoski (one goal, six assists) and Daley (two goals, two assists).

Streaking Benn

Stars forward Jamie Benn enters Sunday's game riding a six-game goal scoring streak. It’s the longest current streak in the league and tied for the longest streak in the league all season. Only Michael Grabner of the New York Islanders and Daniel Cleary of the Detroit Red Wings have scored goals in six straight games this season.

During Benn’s run he’s scored twice at even strength, twice on the power play and twice shorthanded.



Burish out Sunday

Stars forward Adam Burish will miss Sunday’s game with a lower body injury, Stars coach Marc Crawford said after the team practiced in Euless on Saturday.

“He's out [Sunday] for sure,” Crawford said. “It's from the blocked shot a few weeks ago. He's been playing with lots of pain. We're shutting him down for tomorrow and we'll see where he's at.”

Stars get it done in San Jose

March, 6, 2011
3/06/11
1:36
AM CT

After giving up late game-tying goals the last two games, the Dallas Stars made sure it didn’t happen a third straight time Saturday night.

The Stars rallied to take lead in the final period and then protected that lead over the final seven minutes to defeat the San Jose Sharks 3-2.

“I thought the way we played at the end to protect the lead was much better,” said Stars coach Marc Crawford. “We did a lot of good things tonight.”

The Stars improved to 2-0-1 on their current road trip, which wraps up Monday in Los Angeles. They also ran their points streak to five games (4-0-1). The two points they picked up in San Jose pushed them into sixth place in the Western Conference and ended the Sharks' winning streak at eight games.

The Stars, playing the second game of a back-to-back, trailed 2-1 going into the third period, but Loui Eriksson scored a goal off a rebound to tie the game with 12:23 remaining and then Jason Williams scored his first goal as a Star, coming out from behind the goal line and firing a shot on net that bounced off traffic and through the legs of Sharks goalie Antti Niemi.

“It was a big win for the team,” Williams said. “I feel that when I can use my shot it makes it difficult for the goaltender. It’s just going out there and making the most of your opportunity.”

After that the Stars found themselves in a situation that hasn't been kind to them lately -- protecting a lead late in the game. In each of the last two games they've given up a late game-tying goal.

But the Stars didn’t buckle on this night. Goaltender Kari Lehtonen came up with some big saves and the Stars’ penalty kill, which was 3-for-3 in the game, thwarted a late San Jose power play and then with Niemi pulled for the extra attacker kept the Sharks from getting the equalizer.

“It starts and ends with your goaltender making the saves that he has to make, and he had to make a few tonight,” Crawford said of Lehtonen, who made 29 saves in the game.

“We lost leads the last couple of games, so it was nice to show that we could do it,” Lehtonen said. “It was a good team effort and a nice win.”

The Stars took an early lead in the game when Jamie Benn scored a shorthanded goal, his third of the season and the team’s eighth. Benn knocked down a long Stephane Robidas pass out of midair, broke in all alone on net and scored off a backhand shot at the 1:19 mark of the game.

The Sharks tied the game on Kyle Wellwood goal midway through the first and then took the lead on a Patrick Marleau goal early in the second period.

“Anytime you’re behind a goal in an opposition building and you find a way to win, you are doing something special,” said Crawford. “We were tired tonight. It was the back end of a back-to-back and the back end of three in four nights. Again, it was a real gutsy, gritty effort by our group.”

Langenbrunner misses game

Stars forward Jamie Langenbrunner missed the game with an upper body injury he sustained in Friday night’s game against Anaheim.

Center Brad Richards (concussion-like symptoms) and defenseman Nicklas Grossman (hip) both missed Saturday’s game as well. Richards and Grossman have missed the last nine games.

Brian Sutherby was back in the lineup Saturday after sitting out the last four games.

Stars rally to down Sharks, 3-2

March, 5, 2011
3/05/11
10:20
PM CT
The Dallas Stars improved to 2-0-1 on their current road trip and ran their points streak to five games, rallying to beat the San Jose Sharks 3-2 Saturday night. Jamie Benn, Loui Eriksson and Jason Williams scored for the Stars, who moved into sixth place in the Western Conference with the two points. Kari Lehtonen made 29 saves. San Jose had an eight-game winning streak come to an end.

Quotable

“It was a gritty effort. Anytime you’re behind a goal in an opposition building and you find a way to win you are doing something special. We were tired tonight. It was the back end of a back-to-back and the back end of three in four nights. Again, it was a real gutsy, gritty effort by our group.” – Stars coach Marc Crawford

“We lost leads the last couple of games, so it was nice to show that we could do it. … It was a good team effort and a nice win.” – Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen.

“I thought the way we played at the end to protect the lead was much better. We did a lot of good things tonight.” – Stars coach Marc Crawford

“I didn’t’ think we were sharp enough especially early, the first period, it took us too long to get in and we wasted some valuable minutes when we thought we could maybe establish some momentum.” – Sharks coach Todd McLellan

*The Stars improved to 20-5-7 in games decided by one goal.

*The Stars are 8-18-2 when trailing after two periods. The eight wins lead the league.

*The Stars have won 11 of the last 16 games in San Jose.

*Alex Goligoski led the Stars with 27:41 of ice time, his second straight game of playing more than 27 minutes.

*Stars forward Jamie Benn has points in 10 of his last 13 games (7 goals, 7 assists).

*Benn's shorthanded goal was his third of the season and the team's eighth.

*Stars forward Loui Eriksson extended his points streak to five games (4 goals, 2 assists).

First period

The Stars went shorthanded 1:00 into the game, but scored shorthanded to take the early lead. Jamie Benn made a great play to snag a long pass from Stephane Robidas, broke in on net all alone and beat Sharks goalie Antti Niemi for his third shorthanded goal of the season at the 1:19 mark.

But the Sharks bounced make to tie midway through the period. Torrey Mitchell got to a rebound off the end boards, centered it and Kyle Wellwood tipped it past Kari Lehtonen to make it a 1-1 game.

The Stars were without Jamie Langenbrunner (upper body), Brad Richards (concussion-like symptoms) and Nicklas Grossman (hip).

The Sharks were without defensemen Dan Boyle (upper) body and Kent Huskins (upper body) and center Scott Nichol (upper body).

Second period

The Sharks took the lead at the 1:22 mark of the second period when Patrick Marleau finished off a two-on-one break to make it a 2-1 game.

The Stars got their first power play chance of the game two minutes later and created some good chances, but couldn’t cash in. Sharks goalie Antti Niemi made a nice glove save on Alex Goligoski and Jeff Woywitka hit a post.

Third period

The Stars killed off a San Jose power play to open the third period and then tied the game at the 7:37 mark when Loui Eriksson scored off the rebound of a Mark Fistric shot from the right point.

The Stars took the lead with 7:12 remaining in game when Jason Williams came out from behind the net and his centering pass bounced off traffic and through the legs of Niemi to give the Stars a 3-2 lead.

Dallas’ penalty kill, which was 3-3 in the game, came up big in the final minutes of the game, killing off a San Jose power play chance to preserve the lead.

Stars lineup

Morrow-Ribeiro-Burish/Petersen/Eriksson
Eriksson-Benn-Vincour
Eriksson-Wandell-Williams
Sutherby-Petersen-Barch

Goligoski-Robidas
Woywitka-Daley
Skrastins-Fistric

Lehtonen
Raycroft (backup)

Scratched: Injured: Langenbrunner (upper body), Richards (concussion-like symptoms), Grossman (hip)

Stars can't hold lead, fall 4-3 in OT

March, 4, 2011
3/04/11
9:45
PM CT


The Dallas Stars had a 3-1 lead Friday night in Anaheim but couldn’t hold it, losing 4-3 in overtime to the Anaheim Ducks.

The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Stars. Jamie Benn, Adam Burish and Loui Eriksson scored for Dallas. Lubomir Visnovsky had three goals for Anaheim, including the game-winner with 3.8 seconds left in overtime.

Quotable

“It’s tough to lose one like that when you’re up 3-1 going into the third period. It’s a bad feeling when you lose, especially when you lose like this.” – Stars forward Loui Eriksson

“The first period they were all over us, we played much better in the second and in the third period we kind of sat back too much. We gave them a power play goal early in the third and gave them momentum.” – Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas

“We played a solid game through two periods and gave them a couple easy goals. Stupid penalty in OT and they have a strong PP. That’s about it.” – Stars forward Tom Wandell

“They are intense games and they are fun to play in, but unfortunately we gave up the two goal lead in the third. We had some things go against though, too. They missed a couple of calls. The head hit on [Jamie] Langenbrunner for sure. That was mystifying because that’s the one that they’re looking for. They also have the opportunity to ask the linesman. Those are kind of bad breaks. They also got extra time put on the clock, but I’m not sure if it played a part in the last goal. But on the other side of it, we made a couple of mistakes that we just have to correct. I mean that’s twice now that we’ve gotten scored on with the goaltender pulled and both have been errors on our part as opposed to good plays by the opposition. I’m not trying to take anything away from the Ducks. Obviously they battled hard and got the puck to the net.” – Stars coach Marc Crawford

Notes

*The Stars are now 19-5-7 in games decided by one goal.

*The Stars are now 18-0-3 in games where they have led after two periods.

*The Stars scored a power play goal for the third straight game and are 3-13 (23.1%) during that stretch.

*Alex Goligoski led the Stars with 27:13 of ice time. Stephane Robidas was next with 27:04. Jamie Benn was tops among forwards at 22:57.

*Benn has points in nine of his last 12 games and has 12 points (6 goals, 6 assists) during that stretch.

*Stars forward Loui Eriksson has points in four straight games (3 goals, 2 assists).

First period

The Ducks had a lot of jump in the first period, outshooting the Stars 12-6 and scoring the only goal at the 9:22 mark.

With the two teams playing four-on-four, Bobby Ryan set up defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky, who scored off a shot from the slot.

Ryan had another good chance late in the period, but Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen stopped his bid from the top of the crease.

The Stars were playing without center Brad Richards (concussion-like symptoms) and defenseman Nicklas Grossman (hip) for an eighth straight game. Brian Sutherby was scratched for the Stars.

Second period

The Stars dominated the second period, rattling off three unanswered goals to build a 3-1 lead.

Dallas drew even at the 2:23 mark with a goal off the rush. Jamie Benn dropped the puck off to Alex Goligoski and then redirected Goligoski’s pass into the net to tie the game at 1-1.

The Stars took the lead at the 10:35 mark when Adam Burish scored off the rush, taking a pass from Jason Williams and then beating Ducks goalie Dan Ellis with a shot from the right circle.

The Stars got back-to-back power plays late in the period and cashed in on the second one when Loui Eriksson tipped in a Stephane Robidas point shot into the net with 1:23 remaining in the period.

The Stars outshot the Ducks 14-5 in the second and have a 20-17 advantage for the game.

Third period

The Ducks scored twice in the third period to tie the game and force overtime. The Ducks scored on their second power play chance of the night when Visnovsky scored off a one-timer from the right circle at the 5:24 mark of the period.

Anaheim pulled Ellis for the extra attacker with about 1:20 to go and the Ducks scored a short time later as Teemu Selanne redirect a Ryan Getzlaf pass into the net with 1:03 remaining.

Overtime

There was plenty of action in the overtime and the Stars had a chance to end it on a two-on-one rush, but Ellis made a great save with his glove on a shot by Trevor Daley.

The Ducks got a power play chance with 24.6 seconds left in the game when Tom Wandell was called for hooking and Visnovsky scored off a blast from the slot with 3.8 seconds left to give the Ducks a 4-3 victory.

Stars lineup

Morrow-Ribeiro-Burish
Eriksson-Benn-Vincour
Benn-Ott-Langenbrunner
Ott-Burish-Langenbrunner
Morrow-Ribeiro-Benn
Morrow-Ribeiro-Eriksson
Petersen-Wandell-Barch
Petersen-Wandell-Williams

Goligoski-Robidas
Woywitka-Daley
Skrastins-Fistric

Lehtonen
Raycroft (backup)

Scratched: Sutherby

Injured: Richards (concussion-like symptoms), Grossman (hip)

Power play units

Morrow-Ribeiro-Eriksson-Goligoski-Robidas
Benn-Ott-Langenbrunner-Goligoski-Daley

Penalty kill units

Benn-Petersen-Skrastins-Robidas
Burish-Eriksson-Goligoski-Fistric
Morrow-Ribeiro-Skrastins-Robidas
Ott-Benn-Skrastins-Robidas
Burish-Petersen-Goligoski-Fistric

Last-place Oilers drill Stars

February, 16, 2011
2/16/11
12:33
AM CT

Hitting the road didn’t help the banged up, slumping Dallas Stars get back on track. The Stars lost 4-1 Tuesday night to the Edmonton Oilers, who sit at the bottom of the Western Conference. It was the Stars' sixth loss in seven games since the All-Star break.

“With the exception of our goalie tonight, there wasn’t a whole lot of desperation,” Stars captain Brenden Morrow told reporters after the game. “They were the hungrier team. They won more races to pucks. … They worked harder than us to tilt the ice in their favor.”

The Stars are now 1-5-1 since the All-Star break and 2-7-1 over their last ten game games. They were without five regular players for Tuesday’s game: Brad Richards (upper body), Nicklas Grossman (hip), Jamie Benn (shoulder), Adam Burish (orbital bone) and Krys Barch (orbital) bone.

“It’s very frustrating. I don’t think we played at the level we can,” said Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen. “It’s easy to say we have lots of guys hurt, but we are a better team than we’ve shown the last couple weeks.”

The Stars are tied with three other teams at 68 points in the Western Conference and based on tiebreakers they now sit third in the Pacific Division and fifth in the Western Conference. They are just two points ahead of the eighth place team and three points ahead of the ninth and tenth place teams.

“We’re letting things slip away. We’re talking about focusing on the guys we have and not the guys we don’t,” said Morrow. “We’re trying to get experience from young guys and expecting more from them, but in most cases it’s us veteran players that are making mistakes. We need to be better to get ourselves out of this.”

Tuesday’s game opened a three game road trip for the Stars, who have now lost five straight on the road and have been outscored 27-10 in those five games.

The Stars’ allowed Edmonton’s power play, ranked last in the league, to score twice and score a goal as another power play expired. The Stars penalty has allowed 12 goals in the last ten games.

"If our penalty kill works as hard as it needs to, I think that's where the difference is going to be," Crawford said. "You don't kill penalties in this league unless you have a superlative effort, and that's where we can pick things up. Give the Oilers credit, they had a very direct attack on their power play."

Edmonton’s first goal came just as their first power play expired. Sam Gagner made a nice move along the Dallas goal line and backhanded the puck to Jordan Eberle, who scored from close range with 1:58 left in the second period.

The Oilers extended the lead to 2-0 with a second period power play goal by Taylor Chorney, who took a cross-ice pass from Shawn Horcoff and scored off a one-timer from the right circle.

The Stars cut the lead to 2-1 with a power play goal by Loui Eriksson, who took a pass from Jason Williams, split the Edmonton defense and beat Oilers goalie Nikolai Khabibulin with a backhand shot late in the second.

But ten seconds after Eriksson scored the Oilers went on another power play and scored to make it 3-1 when Horcoff took a cross-ice pass from Ales Hemsky and scored from close range with 1:50 left in the second period.

Hemsky scored just 28 seconds into the third period to make it a 4-1 game and basically put it away from the Oilers, who snapped a seven-game winless streak at home and won for just the four time in their last 17 games.

The struggling Stars now head to Calgary, where they’ll take on a Flames team Wednesday that has points in 11 of the last 12 games (11-1-2).

“We have to concentrate on one thing and that is to make sure we work as hard as we absolutely can. And to me that is the only thing we need to focus on,” said Stars coach Marc Crawford. “We’ve got to get it in our mindset that each and every guy putting on the Stars’ uniform is going to be going short, they’re going to be going hard, they’re going to get above the puck, they’re going to work and do things the right way. You do that you keep games close and you give yourselves an opportunity.”

Stars fall 4-1 to Oilers

February, 15, 2011
2/15/11
8:45
PM CT
The Dallas Stars didn’t get off to a stellar start on their road trip to Western Canada. The Stars lost 4-1 to the Edmonton Oilers. It was the sixth loss in the last seven games for the Stars (1-5-1) and their eighth in the last ten (2-7-1). It was also their fifth straight loss on the road. Loui Eriksson scored the lone goal for Dallas. Kari Lehtonen made 26 saves. Dallas played without five regular players, including leading scorer Brad Richards. The Oilers snapped a seven-game winless streak at home and scored two power play goals, ending a seven-game power play drought.

Quotable

“With the exception of our goalie tonight, there wasn’t a whole lot of desperation. They were the hungrier team. They won more races to pucks. They created some power plays with their good speed.” – Stars captain Brenden Morrow.

“It’s very frustrating. I don’t think we played at the level we can. It’s easy to say we have lots of guys hurt, but we are a better team than we’ve shown the last couple weeks.” – Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen

Notes

*The Stars have been outscored 27-10 during their five-game road losing streak.

*The Stars scored one goal in a game for the fifth time in their last nine games overall.

*The Stars have not scored an even strength in the last two games.

*The Stars allowed two or more power play goals in a game for the fourth time in the last nine games.

*The Stars are 25-37 (67.6%) on the penalty kill over the last ten games.

*Kari Lehtonen picked up his fifth assist of the season, tying Ed Belfour and Marty Turco for the franchise record for most assists by a goaltender in a season.

First period

Jordan Eberle scored the lone goal of the period, tallying just after an Edmonton power play had expired. Sam Gagner made a slick move along the Dallas goal line and then backhanded the puck to Eberle, who put the puck past Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen with 1:58 left in the period.

The Star had some good chances in the period but Oilers goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin was sharp, making excellent saves on Loui Eriksson, Brenden Morrow and Tomas Vincour.

Second period

The Oilers extended their lead to 2-0 with a power play goal at the 7:40 mark of the second period. Shawn Horcoff sent a cross-ice to pass to Taylor Chorney, who scored off a one-timer from the right circle.

The Stars cut the lead to 2-1 by cashing in on their first power play chance late in the period. Jason Williams, playing the point on the power play with Brad Richards out of the lineup, set up Loui Eriksson on a breakaway and Eriksson beat Nikolai Khabibulin with a backhand shot with 3:29 left in the period.

Just ten seconds later the Oilers went on a power play and they scored to get their two-goal lead back. Ales Hemsky set up a backdoor goal by Horcoff with just 1:50 left in the period to make it 3-1 Oilers heading into the second intermission.

Third period

The Oilers made a it a 4-1 game just 28 seconds into the third period. Horcoff sent a pass to Hemsky, who split the Dallas defense and then slipped the puck past Lehtonen with a backhand shot.

The Stars had two power play chances In the period, but couldn’t cut into the Edmonton lead.

Stars lineup

Morrow-Ribeiro-Eriksson
Wandell-Ott-Vincour
Neal-Williams-Vincour
Sutherby-Gagnon-Petersen
Morrow-Ribeiro-Williams
Neal-Wandell-Eriksson
Vincour-Ott-Langenbrunner

Fistric-Robidas
Woywitka-Daley
Skrastins-Niskanen

Lehtonen
Raycroft (backup)

Scratches: Ludwig

Injured: Richards (upper body), Grossman (hip), Burish (orbital bone), Barch (orbital bone), Benn (shoulder), Sawada (shoulder)

Power play units

Morrow-Ribeiro-Eriksson-Williams-Robidas/Daley
Neal-Ott-Langenbrunner-Niskanen-Robidas/Woywitka

Penalty kill units

Ribeiro-Morrow-Skrastins-Robidas
Wandell-Eriksson-Fistric-Woywitka
Ott-Langenbrunner-Skrastins-Robidas
Petersen-Eriksson-Fistric-Daley

Stars-Jackets pregame notes

February, 13, 2011
2/13/11
1:43
PM CT
Some pregame notes from American Airlines Center this afternoon.

Kari Lehtonen led the Stars out for warmups, so it looks like he is goal for the the Stars.

It also looks like Jason Williams will skate on the right wing with center Aaron Gagnon and left wing Brian Sutherby.

By the way, Williams is wearing No. 27.

Matt Niskanen is the scratch on defense again.

Stars bolster depth with Jason Williams

February, 13, 2011
2/13/11
1:03
AM CT
Jason Williams is excited to be back in the NHL. The Dallas Stars – banged up at the forward position – are happy to have NHL experience to help fill the void.

“I heard from my agent that they had been running into a few injuries here and there and that I could get a call,” Williams said after practicing with the Stars at American Airlines Center Saturday. “I was very fortunate and very happy when I did receive the call that they wanted to sign me. I am definitely looking forward to the chance.

The 30-year-old Williams, who had been playing with the Connecticut Whale of the AHL, signed a two-way deal ($500,000/$105,000) with the Stars for the remainder of the season.

Williams will help a team that has had its forward depth tested recently due to injuries to Jamie Benn, Adam Burish, Krys Barch and Toby Petersen. Tom Wandell, who had missed four games, just returned this week.

"He's a nice addition to our group. He gives us some depth and right now we desperately need that," said Stars coach Marc Crawford. "We're hopeful he's going to help us venture through here. I don't think there is anything but good that can happen from it right now. If he comes in and gives us a boost it's terrific. It's a very inexpensive way to move forward. He's hungry. At this time of the year you're always looking for guys that can add to your energy and he's got a hungry energy that I think can help us.”

Williams is a quick, versatile forward with good offensive skill. He signed a professional tryout contract with Connecticut in late December and played 17 games, picking up 9 points (4 goals, 5 assists). He played 44 games for Detroit last season and was slowed by a fractured fibula. He registered 15 points (6 goals, 9 assists) in 44 games.

For his career –which has included stops in Detroit, Chicago, Columbus and Atlanta – he has 91 goals and 129 assists in 420 games. His best season came in 2005-06, when he scored 21 goals and added 37 assists for Detroit. He had a good run down the stretch with Columbus in 2008-09, scoring 12 goals and adding 17 assists in 39 games after being acquired in a trade.

"I am just going to come in and play my game,” Williams said. “I feel I can read the ice well, shoot the puck. I am going to finish my checks, do my thing and try not to do too much. I am not going to be scoring hat tricks every other game or anything like that, but I am going to chip in as much as I can offensively, work hard and show them what I can do."

Crawford said Williams is expected to play on the Stars’ depth lines, which is where the injuries have taken a big toll.

“He’ll give us NHL experience on the depth group and you can’t underestimate how important that is,” said Crawford. “We’ve been really pleased with the contributions of [Aaron] Gagnon, [Tomas] Vincor, [Francis] Wathier and some of the other guys that have come up, but when push comes to shove in these intense games you want guys that have been there before and not guys that you’re always having to constantly boost.”

Williams is a right shot, which the Stars like. He can play all three forward positions. He can be used on the power play and Crawford believes he can be used on the penalty kill as well.

“I know he’s a skilled guy, good speed and a pretty heads up player who sees plays develop,” said Stars captain Brenden Morrow. “And depth is huge this time of year as banged as we are right now,”

Stars notes

*The Stars assigned left wing Francis Wathier to the Texas Stars (AHL) on Saturday.

*The Stars placed Krys Barch (fractured orbital bone) on injured reserve retroactive to February 3.

*F Toby Petersen practiced with the team again Saturday, but is not ready to return for Sunday’s game against Columbus.

Quotable

“They (Andrew Raycroft and Kari Lehtonen) know. They’ve seen me in practice. It was a fluke.”

-Stars captain Brenden Morrow on his shootout goal against Marty Turco in Friday night’s win over Chicago. It was Morrow’s first shootout attempt this season.

Practice update: Jason Williams arrives

February, 12, 2011
2/12/11
2:08
PM CT
Jason Williams, signed to a free agent contract by the Stars, practiced with the team today at American Airlines Center. Williams signed with for the remainder of the season. It's a two-way deal that pays him $500,000 at the NHL level and $105,000 at the AHL level.

Williams, who played with Detroit last season, has been playing with the Connecticut Whale of the AHL this season. He signed a professional tryout contract with the Whale in late December and registered four goals and five assists in 17 games.

"After playing 17 games in Connecticut, I feel pretty good. I am looking forward to getting into the NHL and playing here again," said Williams. "I am just going to come in and play my game. I feel I can read the ice well, shoot the puck. I am going to finish my checks, do my thing and try not to do too much. I am not going to be scoring hat tricks every other game or anything like that, but I am going to chip in as much as I can offensively, work hard and show them what I can do."

Stars coach Marc Crawford said he expects Williams to play on the depth lines, where the Stars have been hit hard with injuries recently. The players called up from the AHL have played well, but Williams brings a wealth of NHL experience.

"He's a nice addition to our group. He gives us some depth and right now we desperately need that," said Crawford. "We're hopeful he's going to help us venture through here. I don't think there is anything but good that can happen from it right now. If he comes in and gives us a boost it's terrific. It's a very inexpensive way to move forward. He's hungry. At this time of the year you're always looking for guys that can add to your energy and he's got a hungry energy that I think can help us.

"When push comes to shove in these intense games, you want guys that have been there before and not guys that you're always having to constantly boost."

A few other notes from today's practice.

The Stars sent forward Francis Wathier back to the Texas Stars of the AHL.

Krys Barch (fracture orbital bone) was placed on injured reserve retroactive to February 3.

Toby Petersen (leg) will not play tomorrow.

"He's getting closer," said Crawford. "He'll practice with us on Monday and we'll see what happens moving forward."

Stars sign forward Jason Williams

February, 12, 2011
2/12/11
10:59
AM CT
The Stars have signed free agent forward Jason Williams to a contract for the remainder of the season. Here's the release from the team:
The Dallas Stars announced today that the NHL club has agreed to terms with forward Jason Williams on a free agent contract for the remainder of the season. The deal is a two-way contract ($500,000/$105,000). Williams is expected to practice with the Stars today and be available for Sunday's home game vs. Columbus.

Williams, 30, is a veteran of 420 NHL games, scoring 91 goals and 129 assists for 220 points. He won a Stanley Cup with Detroit in 2002, and has 27 career playoff games on his record (one goal, two assists). Williams began this season with the Connecticut Whale of the American Hockey League (AHL), playing in 17 games with four goals and five assists for nine points and 10 penalty minutes.

"Jason Williams has won a Stanley Cup and brings veteran experience to our club," said Stars General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk. "He has the versatility to play any forward position and gives us another right-handed shot. We're pleased that we could add him to our team."

Williams played in 44 games for Detroit last season, scoring six goals and nine assists for 15 points. He has also played for Chicago, Atlanta and Columbus over his career.

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