Coming off a lackluster performance in Sunday’s 3-2 loss to Los Angeles Sunday evening, the Dallas Stars will look to bounce back Monday night against the Anaheim Ducks at American Airlines Center.
The message Monday morning was pretty simple: The Stars have to be a lot better than they were Sunday and they have to be ready to go as soon as the puck drops Monday night.
“Be ready tonight,” said forward Antoine Roussel. “Play as a team, be ready, put the puck deep, no turnovers and let’s go – win that game. That was the message.”
“The message was 35-5 turnovers (last night),” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “We’ve got to be better tonight. We’ve got to get refocused and come to play tonight and have a different mentality.”
Monday’s game kicks off a series of three straight games against the Ducks. The two teams will play in Anaheim on Wednesday and Friday.
“It can be a blessing because we’ve got to get up for a three-game series, like the playoffs,” said Gulutzan. “We’ve got a chance to get back into a spot in the playoffs by winning a series. This isn’t going to be unlike a playoff series. We have to start off on the right foot tonight.”
Stars recall Wathier, he could play tonight
The Stars recalled left wing Francis Wathier from the Texas Stars and he was on the ice for an optional skate Monday morning at American Airlines Center.
Gulutzan said Wathier, who has nine NHL games under his belt, could be in tonight and if he is it will be fourth line duty.
“The reason I wanted Francis here is because I know playing fourth line minutes, he’ll play direct and he’ll play exactly the way a fourth line player should play,” Gulutzan said. “He’ll dump pucks in, he’ll finish his checks and he’ll go to the net. He’ll take 35-second shifts and get off and do his job. He’s a veteran guy at the American League level that knows his role, and that’s why I wanted him here.”
Wathier was called up earlier this season, but did not get in a game. He’s hoping to get in this time and earn a job at this level.
“I don’t want to make the best out of it, I want to stay here,” Wathier said. “I want to show that able to bring what I am able to bring – hard work, finishing checks and bringing that physical play on the fourth line. That’s what I am going to bring if I am in tonight.”
If Wathier is in, it’s not clear who would come out. Gulutzan said the Stars do have a few guys dinged up.
Lehtonen in goal tonight
Kari Lehtonen will start in goal tonight for the Stars. It will be the fifteenth straight start for Lehtonen. It will be the second straight time he has started both games of a back-to-back for the Stars. The last time he started the second game of a back-to-back, he stopped 40 shots and registered his only shutout of the season in a 2-0 win over Los Angeles (March 21).
Injury notes: Fiddler skates
Vernon Fiddler, who missed last night’s game with a charley horse, skated briefly this morning at the American Airlines Center. He is out for tonight’s game.
Ryan Garbutt (hand) also skated this morning. He is out tonight as well.