Dallas Stars

Stars emphasizing strong start as regular season begins

Early season play, especially from the likes of NHL scoring champ Jamie Benn, left, might set the tone for the Dallas Stars.
Early season play, especially from the likes of NHL scoring champ Jamie Benn, left, might set the tone for the Dallas Stars. AP

One and six.

As Dallas Stars center Jason Spezza said, it’s not an ideal figure to glance at, but it will magically disappear once the regular season begins Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Coach Lindy Ruff said the Stars’ 1-6 preseason mark is already in the past as his team prepares for its regular-season opener.

“I think you learn from some adversity here,” Ruff said. “The adversity is, they’re looking at me wondering how I’m going to react to the preseason. The preseason is done for me. I’m not going to spend any time with the preseason.”

What has Ruff’s full attention are those first 20 or so games that, last season, saw the Stars dig a hole from which they ultimately couldn’t climb out.

Through the last three games of October and the entire month of November, the Stars posted a 5-9-3 record that included a seven-game losing streak.

“You can’t have a seven-, eight-game stretch where you don’t win hockey games,” Ruff said. “The math doesn’t add up in this league.”

The NHL season begins Wednesday.

Here’s a look at five Stars games to watch this season:

Pittsburgh Penguins

at Stars, Thursday,

7:30 p.m.

A new season kicks off at the American Airlines Center as the Stars welcome Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby, who finished third in scoring last year with 84 points. Stars captain Jamie Benn claimed the Art Ross Trophy last season with 87 points, but after undergoing off-season hip surgery it’s uncertain if Benn will be back to full strength by opening night.

Edmonton Oilers at Stars, Oct. 13, 7:30 p.m.

The No. 1 overall pick from the 2015 NHL Draft, Connor McDavid, makes his first trip to Dallas. In three seasons with the Erie Otters of the OHL, McDavid recorded 97 goals and 188 assists in 166 games. McDavid was winner of the 2015 Red Tilson Trophy, given to the most outstanding player in the OHL.

Chicago Blackhawks at Stars, Dec. 22,

7:30 p.m.

The season series against the reigning Stanley Cup champions begins in Dallas just days before Christmas. Three of the Stars’ off-season acquisitions — left wing Patrick Sharp, defenseman Johnny Oduya and goalie Antti Niemi — all won at least one Stanley Cup with the division rival Blackhawks at some point in the past five years.

Nashville Predators at Stars, Dec. 31, 7:30 p.m.

Continuing the Dallas tradition, the Stars close out the final few hours of 2015 with a New Year’s Eve tilt against a division foe. Nashville won the season series 3-2 last year and features defenseman Seth Jones, son of former Dallas Mavericks forward Popeye Jones. Seth played in all 82 games last season, his second in the NHL, posting eight goals and 19 assists.

Stars at Los Angeles Kings, April 2, 3 p.m.

This Saturday matinee could have serious playoff implications. The Kings and Stars finished as the first and second teams out of the Western Conference wild-card race, respectively. It’s also the first leg of the Stars’ final back-to-back of the season, as play at the Anaheim Ducks on April 3 at 8 p.m.

Travis L. Brown can be reached at tbrown7137@gmail.com and on Twitter @Travis_L_Brown

Dallas Stars Schedule

Date= Visitor/ Home= Time (CT) =TV Network

Thursday=Penguins at Stars= 7:30 p.m.= FSSW

Saturday=Stars at Avalanche= 8 p.m.=FSSW

Oct 13=Oilers at Stars= 7:30 p.m.=FSSW

Oct 15= Stars at Lightning= 6:30 p.m.=FSSW

Oct 17=Stars at Panthers= 6 p.m.=FSSW

Oct 20= Stars at Flyers= 6:30 p.m.=NBCSN

Oct 22=Stars at Penguins= 6 p.m.=FSSW

Oct 24= Panthers at Stars=7 p.m.=FSSW

Oct 27=Ducks at Stars= 7:30 p.m.=FSSW

Oct 29=Canucks at Stars=7:30 p.m.=FSSW

Oct 31= Sharks at Stars= 2 p.m.=FSSW

Nov 2=Stars at Maple Leafs= 6:30 p.m.=FSSW, TVAS

Nov 3=Stars at Bruins= 6 p.m.=FSSW+

Nov 6=Stars at Hurricanes=6 p.m.=FSSW

Nov 8=Stars at Red Wings=2 p.m.=FSSW

Nov 10=Maple Leafs at Stars= 7:30 p.m.=FSSW+

Nov 12= Jets at Stars= 7:30 p.m.=FSSW

Nov 14=Wild at Stars= 7 p.m.=FSSW+

Nov 17= Stars at Sabres=6 p.m.=FSSW

Nov 19=Stars at Capitals= 6 p.m.=FSSW

Nov 21=Sabres at Stars= 7 p.m.=FSSW

Nov 24=Senators at Stars= 7:30 p.m.=FSSW+

Nov 27=Canucks at Stars= 7:30 p.m.=FSSW

Nov 28=Stars at Wild= 7 p.m.=FSSW+

Dec 1= Stars at Flames= 8 p.m.=FSSW+

Dec 3=Stars at Canucks= 9 p.m.=FSSW, SN360

Dec 4= Stars at Oilers= 8 p.m.=FSSW+

Dec 8= Hurricanes at Stars= 7:30 p.m.= FSSW

Dec 11= Flyers Stars= 7:30 p.m.=FSSW

Dec 12= Stars at Blues= 7 p.m.=FSSW+

Dec 15= Blue Jackets at Stars= 7:30 p.m.=FSSW

Dec 17=Flames at Stars= 7:30 p.m.=FSSW+

Dec 19=Canadiens at Stars= 6 p.m.=FSSW+, HNIC, TVAS

Dec 21=Stars at Wild= 7 p.m.=FSSW

Dec 22=Blackhawks at Stars= 7:30 p.m.= FSSW+

Dec 26= Stars at Blues= 7 p.m.=FSSW+

Dec 27= Blues at Stars= 5p.m.= FSSW

Dec 29= Stars at Blue Jackets= 6 p.m.= FSSW

Dec 31= Predators at Stars= 7:30 p.m.= FSSW

Jan 2= Stars at Devils= 6 p.m.=FSSW+

Jan 3= Stars at Islanders = 4 p.m.= FSSW

Jan 5= Stars at Rangers= 6 p.m.=FSSW+

Jan 7= Jets at Stars= 7:30 PM FSSW

Jan 9= Wild at Stars= 7 p.m.=FSSW

Jan 15= Stars at Ducks= 9 p.m.=FSSW+

Jan 16= Stars at Sharks= 9:30 p.m.=FSSW

Jan 19= Stars at Kings= 9:30 p.m.= FSSW

Jan 21= Oilers at Stars= 7:30 p.m.= FSSW

Jan 23=Avalanche at Stars= 7 p.m.=FSSW

Jan 25= Flames at Stars= 7:30 p.m.=FSSW

Feb 2=Stars at Jets= 7 p.m.=FSSW

Feb 4=Stars at Avalanche= 8 p.m.=FSSW

Feb 6=Blackhawks at Stars= 7 p.m.=FSSW+

Feb 9= Stars at Wild= 7 p.m.= NBCSN

Feb 11= Stars at Blackhawks= 7:30 p.m.=FSSW

Feb 13=Capitals at Stars= 7 p.m.=FSSW

Feb 15= Stars at Predators= 7 p.m.= FSSW

Feb 16= Stars at Blues= 7 p.m.= NBCSN

Feb 18= Stars at Coyotes= 8 p.m.=FSSW

Feb 20=Bruins at Stars= 7 p.m.= FSSW

Feb 23= Stars at Jets= 7 p.m.=FSSW

Feb 25= Jets at Stars= 7:30 p.m.= FSSW

Feb 27=Rangers at Stars= 3 p.m.= FSSW

Feb 29= Red Wings at Stars= 7:30 p.m.=FSSW

March 1=Stars at Predators= 7 p.m.=FSSW+

March 4= Devils at Stars= 7:30 p.m.=FSSW

March 6= Stars at Senators= 4 p.m.=FSSW+

March 8= Stars at Canadiens= 6:30 p.m.=FSSW

March 11= Blackhawks at Stars= 7:30 p.m.= FSSW

March 12= Blues at Stars= 8 p.m.= FSSW

March 15= Kings at Stars= 7:30 p.m.= FSSW

March 17=Lightning at Stars= 7:30 p.m.=FSSW

March 19= Islanders at Stars 7 p.m.=FSSW

March 22=Stars at Blackhawks= 7:30 p.m.=FSSW

March 24=Stars at Coyotes= 9 p.m.= FSSW

March 26= Stars at Sharks= 3 p.m.=FSSW

March 29=Predators at Stars= 7:30 p.m.=FSSW

Mar 31= Coyotes at Stars= 7:30 p.m.=FSSW

April 2= Stars at Kings= 3 p.m.=FSSW

April 3=Stars at Ducks =8 p.m.=FSSW

April 7=Avalanche at Stars= 7:30 p.m.=FSSW+

April 9=Predators at Stars= 7 p.m.= FSSW+