Posted November 03, 2011 on
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With the first month under new coach Glen Gulutzan a major success, the Dallas Stars are looking for similar results as their November schedule begins.
Facing the struggling Colorado Avalanche could help the Stars begin the month on a positive note.
Playing its first game in nearly a week, Dallas concludes a three-game homestand Friday night against an Avalanche club that may be glad to be skating outside Denver.
Hired in June to replace Marc Crawford, whose two seasons at the helm each resulted in last-place finishes, Gulutzan has the Stars (8-3-0) atop the Pacific Division and off to their best start since opening 11-2-0 in 2006.
"Looking at the first 10-game segment, if you'd asked any one of us at the start of the season if we'd take 7-3, we'd all sign up for that, and here we are at 8-3, that's a pretty good month," captain Brenden Morrow told the team's official website following Saturday's 3-1 victory over New Jersey. "We're pretty happy with our start."
While the Stars would like to increase their shot output - they rank near the bottom of the NHL with 26.6 per game - the club is 6-1-0 in games it has been outshot.
Kari Lehtonen, named the NHL's second star for October after going 8-1-0 with a 1.75 goals-against average, has been in net for six of those contests as the Stars have killed 32 of 36 penalties.
"You're going to get into these games where you get outshot, maybe out-chanced and you find a way to win," Gulutzan said.
However, slowing down the Avs' power-play unit could be a challenge. Colorado (7-5-0) has converted 35.7 percent of its chances in the last nine games, including 8 of 14 on the road.
The Avalanche, though, went 0 for 4 on Wednesday in a 4-1 home loss to Phoenix. They're 2-4-0 since a five-game winning streak and have totaled five goals in their five losses.
"It's hard to win hockey games when you're not scoring goals," said forward Milan Hejduk, who had three goals and an assist as Colorado and Dallas split four matchups in 2010-11. "We just have to keep playing the same way and eventually we'll start scoring goals."
The Avs are averaging a league-worst 1.2 goals on home ice - where they are 1-4-0 - but have scored 24 times while posting the league's best road record at 6-1-0.
Facing Lehtonen, 5-0-1 with a 2.14 GAA in six starts against Colorado, could slow down that production. He has a 1.82 GAA while winning five of six at home.
Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov, 4-0-0 with a 2.59 GAA on the road, has never started in Dallas. Backup Jean-Sebastien Giguere has made 19 starts there, going 5-12-2 with a 2.88 GAA.
Morrow notched a team-best three goals versus Colorado last season but has not scored in six straight games. Loui Eriksson and Mike Ribeiro, who have combined for seven goals and 10 assists in 2011-12, each had four points in the final three meetings last season as Dallas went 2-0-1.
Avs center Ryan O'Reilly, who scored Wednesday and has a team-high nine points, has just one assist in eight games against Dallas.
The Stars conclude a stretch of five of six on the road Nov. 18 in Denver, and Colorado returns to Dallas 10 days later.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Well, the first month of the 2011-12 NHL season is in the books and through their first 11 games, the Dallas Stars have an 8-3-0 record and sport an impressive point total of 16. So, it's safe to say the Glen Gulutzan era is off to a roaring start here in Big D. But the hiring of Gulutzan wasn't the only change for the local club this season.
Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk, who...
There was a time when depending on Kari Lehtonen to be in your lineup on a regular basis was about as reliable as Patrick Kaleta not head-butting a guy.
That changed when Lehtonen was dealt to the Dallas Stars in the middle of the 2009-10 season. The move was looked at as a big risk by GM Joe Nieuwendyk, especially since a 4th-round pick and touted prospect Ivan Vishnevskiy went...
While it’s true that Eric Nystrom probably wouldn’t be here if the Dallas Stars didn’t need to add salary to remain above the NHL’s salary cap floor, there’s no question that they’re glad he is a part of their...
Very early in the season I picked Kari Lehtonen of the Dallas Stars as the early MVP. In time he was passed by Phil Kessel of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the early year MVP race. Lehtonen remained the top goalie in the young season. I no longer think that is true.
Lehtonen is playing very well. He posts a .947 saves percentage and a 1.75 GAA to go with an 8-1 record. He...
Peter Mueller is back on skates for the Avalanche, albeit not in a game yet. The young left winger, whose career has been beset by concussions the last two years, skated Wednesday and is scheduled to do so today, on his own before practice.
Dallas Stars' Steve Ott out for Friday's game, could miss more time with hip injury
Coming into this season, the underlying question for the Dallas Stars was, "who can replace Brad Richards?". Richards logged the heaviest minutes (around 22 per game) among all of the Stars forwards and was a substantial piece of the power-play unit, even if it was ineffective for much of the season.
1 month into the season, it looks like that prospect isn't as...
Before the games, the Avs and Stars watch game film of the Philiadelphia Flyers-Winnipeg Jets game and decided "I want to try that."
Matt Duchene had a four point night including his first career hat trick but the Avs still fell 7-6 in OT on night where the bounces were crazier than a Tim Burton Pinball Machine.
Despite coming out to a 2-0 lead in the first period...
Following are some odds and ends on the Stars' final off night in a stretch of six nights without a game. The club returns to the ice tomorrow night, taking on the Colorado Avalanche at the American Airlines Center.
* Jamie Benn has practiced the last few days after receiving a cortisone injection to alleviate pain in his wrist. However, Steve Ott (hip) has not practiced and...
Loui Eriksson scored his second goal of the night at 3:55 of overtime as the Dallas Stars beat the Colorado Avalanche 7-6 Friday night.
Avalanche coach Joe Sacco on Thursday moved Matt Duchene to the same line as the team's highest-paid player, Paul Stastny. For tonight's game against the Dallas Stars, Duchene will skate at left wing on a line with Stastny, with veteran Milan Hejduk on the right side.
Loui Eriksson scored his second goal of the night at 3:55 of overtime as the Dallas Stars beat the Colorado Avalanche 7-6 Friday.
In a sizable shake-up to his lineup, Avalanche coach Joe Sacco will move center Matt Duchene to left wing for tomorrow's game in Dallas.
Dallas' recently-completed October was one of the best in franchise history since moving to Texas. The way goaltender Kari Lehtonen has opened the season, November could be a very good month as well.
Avalanche coach Joe Sacco wanted more offense and he got it in the form of six goals. Unfortunately, the Avs gave up seven, falling in overtime 7-6 to the Dallas Stars on Friday night.