FRISCO -- The Dallas Stars are back out on the road and they are facing a stiff five-game trip that will start in California and end in New Jersey.
“It’s huge,” said Stars captain Brenden Morrow. “We’re going coast to coast. We’re just kind of hovering right now. We’re getting some guys back and hopefully we can get this thing streaking again in the right direction.”
Morrow, who has missed the last six games with a back injury, is one of those guys coming back. He’s expected to play Thursday. Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said defenseman Alex Goligoski, who has missed eleven games with a broken thumb, and defenseman Trevor Daley, out the last three games with a back issue, will definitely be in when the Stars open the trip Thursday in San Jose.
The Sharks will be one of several tough matchups on the trip.
“I think the key to any road trip is to get off to a good start,” said Gulutzan.” We’ve got a real tough game in San Jose. They came into our building and beat us and played hard. We just want to go back into their building, play hard and see what happens. We thought we played a pretty good game against them, took some penalties, but played a pretty good game. We want to bring that same game and see what transpires.”
After that it’s another divisional game against the Los Angeles Kings, one of the teams the Stars are battling for a playoff spot in the West. Then they Stars will head head east, where they’ll take on the New York Rangers, one of the top teams in the league right now, the New York Islanders, a team that beat them over the weekend and then they conclude the trip next Friday in New Jersey.
“It’s a cliché, but it’s one at a time,” said Morrow. “We want to focus on 60 minutes in San Jose and once that one is over we move on to the next one. The divisional games seem like there is always more at stake, but we are going to treat those games in New York just as important as the first two. But we are going to take them all separately.”
Fistric will sit three games for hit
The Stars will be without defenseman Mark Fistric for the first three games of the trip after he was suspended by the NHL for his hit on Islanders forward Nino Niederreiter in Saturday’s game at American Airlines Center.
NHL Senior VP of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan, who suspended the Dallas defenseman three games, said Fistric violated rule 42.1(charging).
“In the game you step up and make a hit and someone might view it one way and someone might view it another way. That’s part of the game, I guess,” Fistric said just before the decision came down. “I don’t think he (Shanahan) liked the height of the feet after the contact. If you watch some of the big hits in the NHL, lots of guys’ feet are not on the ice. It’s sort of frustrating a bit, I think. But it is what it is.”
The league also considered the fact that Niederreiter suffered an injury (concussion) on the play and that Fistric was fined in 2010 for hitting Eric Nystrom, then with Calgary, with a helmet during a fight.
Fistric will forfeit $16,216.23 in salary. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
Barch: 'I knew something was going to happen'
Stars forward Krys Barch, who was traded to the Florida Panthers Wednesday, told a Miami newspaper that knew something was going to happen on that front. The Stars traded Barch and a 6th round pick in 2012 to Florida in exchange for minor league prospect Jake Hauswirth and a fifth round pick in 2012.
Barch has played in only ten of Dallas’ 26 games this season. He is expected to join the Southeast Division leading Panthers in Boston on Thursday.
“I kind of knew something was going to happen with the way this year has gone,” Barch told the Miami Herald. “I didn’t know where or how. But I’m ecstatic to be going to a team that’s where they are now.”