Senators, Stars, look to overcome recent struggles

DALLAS — When the Ottawa Senators visit the Dallas Stars Friday night one team will see its two-game losing streak end.

Ottawa (9-10-3, 21 points) is 2-6-1 on the road after a 6-4 loss at Minnesota on Wednesday night. They followed up a 7-5 loss on Monday at home to the Florida Panthers falling behind early Wednesday in Minnesota.

“Every loss, whether it’s this one or another one, you’re not happy about losing period,” Senators coach Guy Boucher said after his allowed six goals for the sixth time this season.

In Wednesday’s loss, Ottawa trailed 2-0 after one period and 4-1 at the second intermission. Despite mounting a nice comeback in the final 20 minutes, the same issues which have plagued the Senators all season continue to be a factor.

“We had a major push and we tied the game, but what’s been hurting us is still hurting us,” Boucher said. “It’s the way we defend, just easy coverage in front of the net. We got to get better there. Our forwards have to tie up in front of the net when the puck’s behind the net and we got to get better at it.”

Perhaps one positive is that the Senators have already defeated Dallas this season, 4-1 in Ottawa back on October 15.

Dallas (11-9-2, 24 points) is also on a two-game losing streak after losing 5-1 at Pittsburgh on Wednesday two days after a 2-1 loss to the New York Rangers and three days after scoring four times in the second period of a 6-2 win over the New York Islanders.

Injuries were a big factor for the Stars as eight players were sidelined, including five defensemen and starting goaltender Ben Bishop, expected to miss at least a week with a lower body injury after getting hurt on Monday.

Despite the injuries, first-year Dallas coach Jim Montgomery wasn’t making excuses after a disappointing result.

“We feel bad and embarrassed about the way we played tonight,” Montgomery said postgame.

Montgomery opened his postgame media scrum by falling on the sword for his team’s four-goal loss, saying it was on him because the Stars weren’t adequately prepared to face the Penguins.

The Stars, who are 7-3-1 on home ice, have scored two goals or fewer in seven of their last 11 contests.

Montgomery has a pretty good idea why the offense is currently stuck in dry dock, and again blamed much of those offensive woes on the aforementioned lack of preparation.

“We’re not skating. We’re not together,” Montgomery said. “Our puck support is not good enough. Our timing and spacing, a lot of negatives. I’m not preparing them well enough, so we’re not in sync.”

Dallas players and coaches took Thanksgiving off before hosting the Senators on Friday, and Montgomery feels a day to flush this game out of their system is a big positive.

“Yeah, tonight’s over with,” Montgomery said Wednesday. ?We just start preparing for Ottawa now, enjoy Thanksgiving at home with family and get back to work on Friday. This is over with.”

One positive to come from the loss was the NHL debut of goaltender Landon Bow, who relieved starter Anton Khudobin, who allowed five goals on 16 shots, midway through the middle frame.

Bow stopped all 14 shots he faced.

But in the end, Stars captain Jamie Benn summed up the loss best.

“Pretty embarrassing tonight,” Benn said. “We let our goalie down.”

Dallas is 0-3-2 in the last five meetings with Ottawa.