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Stars’ Ruff preaching a simple game versus divisional opponent

Lindy Ruff

Dallas Stars’ Lindy Ruff, center, looks at the scoreboard during the third period in Game 1 of the first-round NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoff series against the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday, April 16, 2014, in Anaheim, Calif. The Ducks won 4-3. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)


As the Dallas Stars visit the Colorado Avalanche tonight head coach Lindy Ruff says his team needs to play a simple game.

The Stars (9-9-5) are winless (0-5-3) against the Central Division nearly two months into the season.

“We’ve hurt ourselves by not keeping it simple,” Ruff told the Dallas Morning News. “I want to see the same pace, the shifts probably even shorter, and we force them to come the length of the ice. And we make it tough on them, that we don’t hand them the rush situations that we’ve handed some teams in these back-to-back situations. And we’ve got to stick with it for 60 minutes.”

Complicating matters for the Stars is their play in back-to-back games.

As Mike Heika points out in his piece, Dallas is 0-3-0 in the second half of back-to-backs this season and 4-11-1 going back to last season.

Part of the problem is finding Kari Lehtonen a suitable backup to handle the second game of the back-to-back.

Anders Lindback is 0-4-0 on the season with a 4.52 GAA and .845 save percentage.

Jussi Rynnas is 4-1-4 with a 2.53 GAA and .915 save percentage with the American Hockey League’s Texas Stars, but has missed time due to an illness.

According to Ruff, the illness prevented Rynnas from getting a look with the parent club.

“We’ve talked about it, but Rynnas missed about 10 days with illness,” Ruff said. “We really had a plan in place, and it didn’t come to fruition for us, because of the illness.”

Lindback will get a chance at his first win of the season tonight when he goes head-to-head with Avalanche rookie Calvin Pickard.

Follow @dcmahiban