Dallas coach Lindy Ruff is doing his best to sugarcoat the Stars’ inability to convert on the power play during a tough stretch that has been highlighted by narrow defeats.
Now he’ll have to try to solve those issues without one of his top goal producers with the man advantage.
Dallas seeks just a second victory in seven games while looking to win a sixth straight meeting with the visiting Washington Capitals on Saturday night.
Five of the Stars’ contests during a 1-3-2 stretch have been decided by one goal, including Thursday’s 2-1 home loss to Winnipeg. They finished with season highs of 47 shots and seven power-play opportunities, but failed to convert any chances with the man advantage and fell to 1 for 24 in such situations over their last five.
Defenseman Trevor Daley scored with the extra attacker with less than two minutes left after Dallas (19-17-7) allowed a short-handed goal earlier in the third period.
"I think these last three games there has been some real good zone time and the setup has been good (on the power play), but the finish has been lacking," Ruff said. "The entries on a whole were good. We didn’t have much puck luck. But we did have some point-blank opportunities that should be in the back of the net."
Daley’s five power-play goals are the club’s second-most to Tyler Seguin’s six, but Daley is likely to sit out this contest with an undisclosed injury. Forwards Ales Hemsky and Brett Ritchie also didn’t practice Friday.
"There is a possibility all three could be out. We’ll see," Ruff said. "Hemsky is probably a player. The other two I would put in the probably not category."
Center Vernon Fiddler is expected to return after missing the last two with a lower-body injury for the Stars, who got a goal from Seguin and 35 saves from Kari Lehtonen in a 5-0 win over Washington in the last meeting April 1.
The Capitals (24-12-8) will look to end their skid against Dallas after suffering a 4-3 defeat Friday to Nashville in coach Barry Trotz’s first game against the team he guided for the previous 15 seasons.
Alex Ovechkin scored twice as Washington netted three straight goals to take a one-goal lead, but the Predators scored two in the final five minutes. The Capitals had won three straight as part of a 7-0-2 stretch since Dec. 27.
Ovechkin has scored in seven of the last nine, totaling eight goals in that span.
"We battled hard and had a lead in the third period," said former Stars defenseman Matt Niskanen, whose turnover led to Nashville’s winning goal. "Then I make the bonehead play of the month. That one’s on me. I’ll try and forget about it and move on."
Braden Holtby made 26 saves against the Predators. He’s 14-3-4 with a 2.08 goals-against average while starting the last 21 for Washington’s, including a pair of back-to-back sets since Justin Peters made his most recent start Nov. 29.
Holtby gave up two goals on 13 shots in relief in the last meeting with the Stars, whom Peters has never faced.
Ruff didn’t reveal whether he would start Lehtonen or Anders Lindback, who relieved Lehtonen in Tuesday’s 5-4 win over Ottawa before making 20 saves against Winnipeg.