Stars aim to remain hot when they clash with Flames

NHL
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As the Dallas Stars near the one-quarter mark of the season, they can claim to be the National Hockey League’s biggest Jekyll and Hyde club.

Heading into Wednesday’s road clash with the Calgary Flames, the Stars are on a 7-1-1 run after starting the season with a dreadful 1-7-1 mark. That turnaround is one reason they weren’t distraught after blowing a third-period lead before falling to the Winnipeg Jets 3-2 in a shootout on Sunday, which snapped a four-game winning streak.

“You aren’t going to be able to win 82 games,” goalie Anton Khudobin said. “Sometimes you’re going to lose a game like that when we have a one-goal lead, but at the same time we’re going to win the same games when we have a deficit of one or two or three goals or whatever. Losing (stinks), it hurts, but at the same time you have to keep going.”

As well as the Stars are playing these days, concern remains over when star players Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn will find their offensive touch. Seguin has five points over the last five games, but has managed just 11 in 18 contests. Meanwhile, Benn, who has averaged more than 30 goals per season over the last six campaigns, has just one tally.

With the team’s co-leading scorer, Roope Hintz (11 points), out of the lineup due to injury, as well as standout defenseman John Klingberg, the onus on Seguin and Benn to step up their game looms even larger for a club that’s near the bottom in offense.

“We believe that with our system, we’re going to get chances,” Benn said. “We haven’t been successful just because we’ve been lucky as of late, it’s because we believe in what we’re doing. We’re just going to stick with that.”

The Flames are coming off a 3-2 overtime loss to the St. Louis Blues on Saturday, leaving them 2-0-1 during their current homestand that ends with the Dallas clash.

Despite sitting in a playoff position, Calgary has been plagued by inconsistency all season, but continues to show signs of hitting a higher gear.

“We’re getting better here as we go,” said coach Bill Peters, who has not hidden his disappointment over the season while his team has floundered. “There are lots of good things. Lots of things that we can still work on and clean up and tighten up a bit, but it’s headed in the right direction.”

After being the league’s busiest squad over the first month, the Flames have finally been able to string together some days of practices. Among those areas the coaching staff has been focused on is the club’s three-on-three play.

Calgary has gone to overtime in seven of the first 20 games, and five of those contests were decided during the five-minute overtime period. Therefore, the coaches wanted to brush up their charges about defensive coverage compared to regular five-on-five action.

“When we scrimmaged three-on-three, all the offense was off turnovers,” Peters explained. “Somebody had it offensively, they forced it impatiently, and the other team went the other way. They can learn from that. We can learn from that. You see that around the league, too.”

–Field Level Media

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