With an eight-game homestand, a team should play with confidence and authority.
The Dallas Stars might be doing that, but it isn’t showing on the scoreboard. Two games into their longest stretch at home for this NHL season, they’ve logged two consecutive 2-1 overtime losses to the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Stars get their next chance Thursday against the visiting Carolina Hurricanes to start the teams’ second two-game miniseries matchup this season.
Center Andrew Cogliano, held pointless in both games vs. Chicago, said the Stars have to take better advantage of these two weeks at home.
“It’s an advantage for us to play at home with our fans and the energy in the building,” said the 33-year-old. “These last two games were just not good enough. … We have six games left on this homestand, and it’s a big part of our season. You can’t lie to yourself about that.”
There were moments of promise in Tuesday’s game. Rookie goalie Jake Oettinger stopped 27 shots and forced the Blackhawks to call on finesse to score.
The Stars had several breakaways and solid scoring chances but couldn’t finish. Roope Hintz scored for the Stars.
Cogliano, however, isn’t about to settle for the little takeaways.
“There’s no time to take moral victories, he said. “I know it’s cliché, but you see the teams that win every night in our division and you have to find a way to get points. … I thought (Chicago) played really well, but we need to look at some good things and figure out what we did negatively in the third period.”
The Stars had a 39-25 advantage in shots on goal, won 60 percent of their faceoffs and out-hit the Blackhawks, 25-11.
The Stars aim to regroup vs. Hurricanes, who dropped a 3-2 decision to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday, skating only 11 forwards and six defensemen.
Center Vincent Trocheck was a late scratch, suffering a lower-body injury in Sunday’s 6-5 win over the Blue Jackets.
Head coach Rod Brind’Amour indicated after a light skate yesterday in Raleigh, N.C., that Trocheck, who has six goals and nine points in nine games, may be ready to play against the Stars. Martin Necas, out since last Thursday after taking a big hit from Blackhawks’ Calvin de Haan, may be “another day or so,” Brind’Amour said.
“At least we’re getting closer and closer with those guys,” the coach said.
The Hurricanes had a rare two-day break in between games, providing a “much-needed” respite.
“It’s a mental break, that’s what we need,” Brind’Amour said. “Physically it’s tough with all the games. … Just the grind here, getting people home, letting the guys see their families. It feels like we’ve been on the road for all of our games. …
“Any time we can get a chance to take a breather, we need to do it. We ask a lot: to get ready, to focus, to play, play, play. You need to just be able to forget about it for a day.”
Jordan Martinook, who had an assist in Monday’s loss, said the atypical schedule of playing every other day can be wearing, but the Hurricanes would rather be playing.
“From a rest aspect, that’s the main thing you take from (this break),” the 28-year-old left winger said. “Ask any guy in our room, especially after a loss like we had, you wanna get back out there and play as quickly as you can. It’s nice to have the days, but we want to get back out there and get back on the winning side of it.”
–Field Level Media