The Dallas Stars faced their toughest week so far in this season. This week, the Stars played a pair of back-to-back games facing division opponents chasing them for the top spot in the Western Conference.
The Monday and Wednesday games featured the fifth and fourth best teams in the conference as the Stars played Minnesota and Chicago, respectively.
The Stars won 6-3 against the Wild after recovering from an early 2-0 deficit. Kari Lehtonen was pulled after allowing the first two goals and Antti Niemi finished the game and earned the win.
Then the Stars traveled back home to host the Chicago Blackhawks the next day. It was the first matchup against the Blackhawks this year and the first for former Blackhawks, Patrick Sharp and Johnny Oduya. Antti Niemi shutout the Blackhawks in a 4-0 win, Sharp had a goal and assist against his former team. Sharp talked about playing against his old teammates.
“It was weird, it’s never fun going against your old guys like that,” said Sharp on Stars.com. “Hockey is a game you have to play with intensity and emotion and when you’ve got some good friends on the other side it makes it that much more difficult.”
Saturday and Sunday featured a rare NHL back-to-back double-header as the Stars played the Blues.
The Saturday game went into a shootout after St. Louis scored a late goal in the third tying and sending the game into overtime. St. Louis’s captain, David Backes, scored the winner in the ninth round of the shootout.
A quick turnaround for both teams the next night as they both traveled to Dallas to complete the double header. The Stars won 3-0 as this game featured fights and scuffles throughout the game. Lindy Ruff talked about his teams play and the feel of the game.
“There was some great emotion,” Said Ruff. “I thought the job [Antoine] Russell and [Travis] Moen did was as key as anything. After the [stick] butt-in to Benn, I thought the fact that Seguin jumped in right away for his winger was impressive. This team is just getting closer and closer.”
The Stars now lead the Western Conference by nine points, just ahead of St. Louis, Los Angeles, Chicago and Minnesota.
Upcoming Schedule – All Times Central
12/29 @ Blue Jackets 6:00 pm
12/31 vs Predators 7:30 pm
1/2 @ Devils 6:00 pm
1/3 @ Islanders 4:00 pm