So how do the Stars shake out of a 2-4-1 run in which they have lost four straight on the road?
And how do they do that while playing five games in eight nights in five different cities (a run that started with a thud in Toronto on Monday)?
They say they have to concentrate on details and walk the fine line between aggression and grace.
``It's about being smart,'' Stars coach Marc Crawford said after practice in suburban Toronto. ``Our mistakes (against Toronto) had nothing to do with aggressiveness. Execution is doing simple things effectively most of the time. It's unrealistic to think you're going to execute perfectly. Nobody does. But if you get as close as you can, then you cut down on three or four chances a game, and that can make the difference.''
Captain Brenden Morrow and center Brad Richards said they would like to see a little more unified aggression in getting the puck deep and putting pressure on with a heavy forecheck. Most NHL teams are attacking with a two-man forecheck, and it's proved difficult for the Stars' defenders to handle at times. However, the best way to relieve that pressure is to control puck and play in the other end of the ice as much as possible.
``We seem to play our best lately when we have more emotion and we're maybe a little more desperate,'' Morrow said. ``When we get on the attack, and we get in hard, that's when we play with confidence and we create chances. But too often, we go in slowly or we just have one or two guys who might lack confidence, and then things start to break down. It's so easy to get it in your head that you don't want to be the guy who makes a mistake, but you can't play that way, you can't have that hesitation.''
Richards played in Tampa Bay, where the Lightning embraced the slogan: ``Safe is Death,'' and said he understands how that can help a team.
``I think we've got to get a little bit of that mentality,'' Richards said. ``You can look at `Safe is Death' as a lot of things, but to me it's taking control and getting out of your comfort zone. It has to be everybody on the same page. You have to be in synch, you have to be supporting each other.''
Stars defenseman Trevor Daley said it's clear teams are attacking hard and you have to be able to handle that pressure.
``You have be able to handle it,'' Daley said. ``It's a two-man forecheck and they're trying to take your time away, and you have to find a way to make a play. That's all there is to it. You have to be able to make a play.''
Daley said the team also has to be able to handle the pressure of the standings at the same time. The Stars are 10-8-1 and in 12th place in the West. Meanwhile, teams like Phoenix and Columbus are going on winning streaks and climbing the standings. Dallas has games in hand, and it will be making up ground, but it has to win to make those games mean anything.
``You have to understand the schedule and know what's out here and what other teams are doing,'' Daley said. ``So you look at that and you know you have to get points. You can't think about it within the game, but you have to know what's on the line and you have to go out and get those points.''
The Stars play at Ottawa Wednesday, have Thursday off for Thanksgiving, play St. Louis at home on Friday, play at St. Louis on Saturday, and then play at Carolina on Monday before getting a two-day break.
This is a small pocket, but they need to get some wins here _ especially on the road.