- Mark Stepneski, ESPNDallas.com
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The Dallas Stars have played well at times over the first five games and their play has been spotty at other times, but there are few complaints about the bottom line record of wins and points.
After sweeping their just concluded three-game homestand the Stars are 4-1-0 on the season as they get ready to play four straight and eight of their next eleven games on the road.
“Early on at home if you can gather points you can gather some momentum and feel good about your game going on the road,” said forward Adam Burish. “That’s the most important thing, feeling confident about the way you want to play. After [Saturday] we can finally see that playing the way our coach is telling us to play works. It’s a good feeling.”
Picking up eight of a possible ten points is important as well. In what is expected to be a tight race for playoff spots in the Western Conference any point a team gets can pay dividends when all of them are added up at the end of the season, and the Stars have done a good job collecting them so far.
“These games are as important as the ones in March. The points count the same in the standings,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “Our week now on the road will be a good test for us mentally, to see what we’re made of. I like the way this ended, because I think we’ve got a day to soak it in, we’ve got a day to practice and get geared back up and we go to Columbus and we try to duplicate what we did here.”
The Stars had Sunday off. They’ll practice Monday in Frisco and then depart for Columbus, where they’ll take on the Blue Jackets Tuesday.
Fistric staying positive despite being odd man out on defense for now
With Adam Pardy returning to the lineup and all seven defenseman now healthy, Mark Fistric was the odd man out for Saturday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Fistric took Saturday’s healthy scratch in stride.
“I did all that I can do. We have seven healthy D and that’s the way it goes sometimes,” said Fistric. “I’ve got to stay positive and when I get my chance I have to play the way I have been and good things happen.”
Stars coach Glen Gulutzan noted that Fistric has played well for the Stars in the first four games of the season and said the team has confidence in all seven defensemen.
“I had a meeting with the D [Friday] saying I had faith in all seven,” Gulutzan said. “We've got some internal competition now, so I am not going to be hesitant to take somebody out or switch them around because I have confidence in seven guys.”
Fistric said being seven strong on the blue line is a positive for the team and the competition for playing time provides motivation to work harder.
“It’s a good problem to have for an organization,” said Fistric. “If you are Gully and you’re sitting in your office and you have seven guys you are hemming and hawing over playing, it’s a good situation for the organization. I want to win and I am going to do whatever it takes for this team to win. That’s just coming to the rink every day and trying to get better.”
A look at Lehtonen's numbers
Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen ranks high in several statistical categories after his first four starts this season. Here's a look at the numbers.
By the Numbers: Kari Lehtonen
A look at some statistics for Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen and his league rank.