Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 3/16/12
DALLAS -- Just two days removed from seeing their 11-game point streak end in dramatic fashion with a 5-2 loss at Winnipeg on Wednesday, the Dallas Stars return to the ice on Friday night against Chicago, the first of a four-game homestand that will also see them host Phoenix, Vancouver and Calgary. "You can't look too far ahead right now. It's a playoff mentality and playoff mentality is you go one at a time. Tonight is a big game for us. It's a team that with win we pass them in the standings," Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas said. "We're ahead of them but we just put them a little lower. That's what we have to look at, take care of our own destiny. Winning hockey games and playing the right way, that's the only focus that we should have right now." Dallas first-year head coach Glen Gulutzan agrees Friday's game with the Blackhawks is huge, especially considering they currently have one more point than his Stars and a win Friday could be big heading into the final 10 games. "That word big comes before every game for the next 11, right? I think the focal point is they're a point ahead of us here," Gulutzan said. "I know they're not in our division. Two points is two points and it's going to be a real tough game." After arriving back in the Metroplex early Thursday morning, the Stars players had the day off, something which was invaluable not only in giving them some much-needed rest after playing on back-to-back nights in Minnesota and Winnipeg, but also allowing them to get away from the game after a tough loss. "It's one of those games where we didn't play the right way. We got beat and they deserved to win. We know why we lost. That stuff's going to happen," Robidas said. "That's why we've got to forget about it and learn from the mistake that we made and just move on." Teammate Steve Ott agrees. "Those games happen. I truthfully believe that. I can't even really imagine the loss as much as how good we've been playing of late in the 10 games before that," he said. "I think taking the confidence that we've built in the last little while will be key for tonight." Veterans Radek Dvorak and Sheldon Souray will miss Friday's game but will both return on Tuesday when the Coyotes visit. "They both should be ready for Tuesday. They won't be tonight though," Gulutzan said after Friday's morning skate. Dallas rookie defenseman Philip Larsen will be a game-time decision for tonight's game with a lower body injury and should he not be able to go, fellow rookie Jordie Benn, older brother of Stars' 2012 NHL All-Star center Jamie Benn, will get the nod. But one position that won't be a question mark for the entire homestand is between the pipes, where No. 1 netminder Kari Lehtonen will start all four games for the Stars. "I think for any team right now, the goaltending becomes a real big factor. There's a big spotlight on your goalie now and the other team's goalie. Kari's rested. He's going to get tonight and he's going to get the next four games," Gulutzan said. "It's important and we feel we've got a better chance than most people because we've got Kari Lehtonen."
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