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Ruff calls Stars’ struggles ‘the biggest test I’ve ever been through’

Lindy Ruff

Dallas Stars coach Lindy Ruff shows his displeasure with a no-goal call in the third period of the Stars’ NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014. The Stars went on to score two quick goals to win 3-2. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)


The Dallas Stars were supposed to make a stand on Tuesday night. Instead, they fell flat on their faces once again, falling to 1-5-4 at home as the Carolina Hurricanes topped them 6-4.

To their credit, the Stars did a decent job not sounding like broken records to the Dallas Morning News, even if they understandably failed to provide an adequate solution to their problems.

One thing’s clear: head coach Lindy Ruff still supports beleaguered starting goalie Kari Lehtonen, even considering the workhorse Finn’s very disappointing start to 2014-15.

“He’s not going to like his game … I didn’t like his game,” Ruff said. “He’s been my guy and he’s going to continue to be my guy but he needs help. We can criticize those goals but we made some plays that we don’t need to make that hurt us.”

Simply put, the Stars failed in Dallas once again, something Jason Spezza described as “the story of our season so far.”

Defending Big D backs up the feeling that this is a team searching aimlessly for answers:

Everything that had gone wrong in the past six weeks continued to go wrong, and not only did the Stars not show any progress but continued to regress and with each goal scored against -- looked more and more out of sync, out of sorts and exactly like a hockey team that has no idea how to fix what is wrong.

It’s a situation that’s leaving Ruff dumbfounded, which is saying something since he’s currently in his 17th NHL season as a head coach.

“This is the biggest test I’ve ever been through. I don’t think I’ve ever gone through anything like this in the home building,” Ruff told the DMN. “We drew up a little bit of a different game plan. I thought if I got Eakin, Seguin and Benn out against some certain individuals that we could get them on the board and get them going. You get one thing going and another goes sideways. We’ve had great games here where we just couldn’t get that big save to win the game. You also need one less big mistake at certain times.”

It might seem melodramatic to argue that the Stars are running out of time to get things together, but considering how competitive the Central Division and Western Conference is shaping up to be, it certainly feels like the clock is ticking.

Follow James O’Brien @cyclelikesedins