On the verge of their longest point streak in eight seasons, the
red hot Dallas Stars aren’t showing any signs of slowing down.
That doesn’t bode well for an Anaheim Ducks team that’s already
struggled to keep up with the Stars.
Hoping to extend its run, Dallas tries for a sixth win in seven
meetings with visiting Anaheim as the Pacific Division rivals
conclude their season series Saturday night.
Dallas (37-26-5), which was nine points out of first nearly a
month ago, has since climbed its way to the top of the division
behind an 8-0-1 run. The Stars have outscored teams 29-15 and
killed all but one of their 27 penalties over that stretch.
Despite its recent surge, Dallas has only a slim lead over
Phoenix, San Jose and Los Angeles, with Anaheim (29-29-10) bringing
up the rear. The Stars haven’t recorded points in 10 straight games
since going 9-0-0 with three ties Dec. 27-Jan. 22, 2003.
“It’s so tight and every game is important. That’s what we’ve
been doing lately-playing for each other and playing really hard,”
right winger Loui Eriksson, who leads the team with 61 points, told
the Stars’ official website.
“We’ve been getting some big wins. It’s always nice when you’re
winning as a team. That always helps too, when you play with that
confidence. That’s what we’re doing now.”
After All-Star center Jamie Benn tied the score early in the
third period, relatively unknown Tomas Vincour sent Thursday’s game
into overtime before notching the shootout’s lone goal in a 4-3 win
over the Sharks.
“It feels great. That’s a huge two points for us. It doesn’t
matter who scores the goal,” said Vincour, who had scored just four
goals in his previous 59 career games. “Now is the time to get two
points every night and every goal is huge for us. I’m happy I could
score for us but it doesn’t matter who scores.”
Dallas’ recent success surely doesn’t surprise Anaheim, which
has experienced plenty of difficulty in this series of late.
Coach Glen Gulutzan’s team improved to 4-1-0 against the Ducks
this season with a 6-2 road win Feb. 1. The Stars have also gone
6-1-1 in their last eight home matchups in the series.
Anaheim opened a three-game trip Thursday with its fourth loss
in six games, falling 3-1 at St. Louis. The Ducks took a 1-0 lead
on Corey Perry’s 34th goal but couldn’t contain the Blues, who
scored twice on four chances on the man advantage.
“Five-on-five, we were just as good as they were,” coach Bruce
Boudreau said. “But the special teams, which have been our Achilles
heel for the last month, snuck up on us again and killed us.”
Jonas Hiller made 24 saves, dropping to 0-3-0 with a 3.40
goals-against average over his last three road starts. Hiller, who
has allowed a combined 15 goals in four losses to the Stars this
season, is 2-7-1 with a 3.11 GAA in his last 10 games in the
He’ll look to slow down forward Michael Ryder, who’s tallied six
goals and four assists over an eight-game point streak. Ryder
posted a goal and two assists Feb. 1, giving him six and six,
respectively, in 12 career matchups with the Ducks.
Dallas’ Kari Lehtonen made a season-high 45 saves Thursday,
improving to 6-0-1 with a 1.65 GAA in his last seven games. He’s
won four of five versus the Ducks while posting a 2.00 GAA.
Brenden Morrow was activated from injured reserve Friday
following an 18-game absence due to an upper-body injury. He’s
listed as questionable for Saturday.