The speed and pace of Thursday’s Dallas Stars practice was evident. The team skated up and down the ice focusing mostly on quick puck movement, breakouts, and both sides of odd-man rushes.
The reason was even more obvious: Dallas is coming off their worst loss of the season, falling 5-1 to the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday. The Stars played slow and sloppy, looking out of sync in all areas of their game. For DeBoer, it was important to get right back to what they were doing well up until that point.
“I thought our game in Winnipeg, individually and collectively as a team, our execution was slow, our pace was slow, reads were slow,” he said.
The loss doesn’t worry DeBoer and his staff. While it was a huge opportunity to go 3-0 on the trip, steady their position at the top of the Central Division, and bring a load of momentum home with them, it was also so far from what they have done all season and likely a one-off rather than a genuine concern.
In a long 82-game NHL campaign, it is expected that teams will have an off night. The key is not letting one turn into two and fall into a losing streak.
“You're going to get games like that, '' DeBoer added. “And that’s what we talked to our group about today. Everybody has games like that. It’s always in the response. Good teams respond. You want to stop the bleeding right away, you want to get back and play a really good game the next night and get it back on track.”