The Dallas Stars are at the bottom of the Central Division, thanks in large part to owning one of the NHL’s worst home records.
Facing the Carolina Hurricanes to open a season-high five-game homestand gives them a chance to begin changing that.
The Stars will try to avoid the longest home losing streak in franchise history Tuesday night, when they look to continue their dominance of last-place Carolina.
Dallas (6-8-4) is 1-4-4 at American Airlines Center after going 23-11-7 while reaching the playoffs last season. The Stars haven’t looked remotely that effective at home while tying a team record by losing six games in a row (0-4-2) – scoring two or fewer goals in four of them.
They last dropped six straight as host from Feb. 21-March 8, 2009, and haven’t gone longer without a win since a 10-game stretch that included three ties from Jan. 8-Feb. 11. 1996.
History indicates Dallas isn’t likely to get closer to that mark since it’s won six straight and 10 of 11 home matchups with one tie against Carolina, dating to a loss to the Hartford Whalers on Feb. 11, 1996.
Coach Lindy Ruff is putting an emphasis on using this homestand to begin a turn around.
"This will be the biggest point of the season," Ruff told the team’s official website. "We’ve got to make a stand."
Dallas, though, enters this stretch following Sunday’s 6-2 loss at Chicago, giving up four unanswered goals in the third period to lose for the ninth time in 11 overall contests. The Stars were outshot 23-5 in the final period and 47-24 overall.
"It’s desperation time," forward Vernon Fiddler said. "We’ve really got to take care of business at home. We can set ourselves up here and get back in this race with a good homestand."
Production from Jamie Benn, who had career-highs of 34 goals and 45 assists, would surely help. The left wing has gone 11 games without a goal – six at home – after a five-game goal-scoring streak.
He has just five of his 13 points in Dallas.
Tyler Seguin’s 12 goals are tied with the New York Rangers’ Rick Nash and Steven Stamkos of Tampa Bay for the league lead, but he’s come up empty for three games in a row after scoring five in the previous two.
The center has five goals at American Airlines Center, highlighted by a hat trick in Dallas’ lone home win, 5-3 over San Jose on Nov. 8.
Seguin has one goal in each of his last three meetings with Carolina, while Benn has three goals in his last three, scoring once and assisting on two other tallies in a 4-1 home win Feb. 27.
The Hurricanes, 1-6-2 on the road, are trying to stop a three-game slide of their own during which they’ve been outscored 7-2. They didn’t have a problem creating chances Sunday, amassing a 45-19 shot advantage while falling 2-0 to the Sharks.
"I don’t think we’ve wasted any goalkeeper performances," said captain Eric Staal, who was a minus-2 while taking five shots. "We’ve got to contribute with some offense. (Sunday) it was everything but the goals and that can be frustrating."
Jiri Tlusty has scored six of his team-leading seven goals on the road. But he has just one in his last eight overall games and is a minus-5 in that span.