Despite their recent struggles, the Dallas Stars still remain in fine shape in the Western Conference playoff race. The same can't be said for scuffling Calgary.
The Flames will try to bolster their hopes with a fourth consecutive win over the Stars on Monday night.
Dallas (30-14-5) is 2-6-2 in its first 10 games in 2016 but has a 13-point lead over ninth-place Nashville in the West and is in second place in the Central Division. The Stars are one point ahead of St. Louis and five back of Chicago heading into their final game before the All-Star break.
They'll face a road-heavy stretch when they end that hiatus Feb. 2 and will attempt to end an eight-game skid away from home. That makes Monday's game crucial to pick up some points before that begins and to provide at least an emotional boost.
“It's going to be huge for us. It's a home game, too We need all those points now,” defenseman John Klingberg told the team's official website. “Chicago is in front of us now, and we want to keep playing good here, so it's going to be a big game.”
Dallas might need a big lift after losing 3-1 to Colorado on Saturday despite registering a whopping 43-15 advantage on shots. Despite having league scoring leaders Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, the Stars have averaged 1.9 goals in their last eight games and are 4 for 33 on the power play in their past 12.
“We're missing nets,” coach Lindy Ruff said. “It's a lot of little things.”
The Flames (21-22-3) dropped to 2-4-1 in their last seven with a 5-2 loss to Carolina on Sunday and fell to 1-2-1 on their season-high five-game trip. That stretch has them nine points out of a playoff spot.
“We were not ready. Plain and simple,” coach Bob Hartley said. “We had a few days over here (in Raleigh), and we talked about it yesterday. We talked about it this morning. But we were just not there.”
The Flames will try to bounce back by completing their first season sweep of the Stars since 2010-11. Calgary used its two wins over Dallas last month as bookends to a seven-game streak.
The Flames started with a 4-3 shootout victory in Calgary on Dec. 1 and posted a 3-1 road victory Dec. 17.
In the most recent matchup, Dougie Hamilton had one of his team's two goals in the final five minutes of the first period. He also tallied the tying goal in regulation in the win in Calgary and has scored in each of his last four matchups.
Johnny Gaudreau has three goals and two assists in his past four meetings. The Flames are also bringing in Sam Bennett, who has scored eight goals in his last six games.
Bennett, who didn't register any points Sunday, doesn't have one in two games against Dallas.
Benn and Seguin have also been kept off the scoresheet in those matchups. Klingberg, one of the league's top-scoring defensemen, has no points in five career contests against the Flames, one of three teams he's never scored against.
Calgary will head into the break after a home game against Nashville on Wednesday.