There was a time earlier this season when the Ottawa Senators had some trouble scoring goals.
That’s not the case anymore.
Coming off one the best offensive performances in franchise history, the Senators look to extend their winning streak to four games when they visit the Dallas Stars.
Ottawa began the season with 13 wins in its first 29 games, scoring an average of three goals over that span. Since Dec. 18, however, the Senators have posted nearly four goals a contest in going 14-2-4 in their last 20.
On Saturday, Ottawa defeated the New York Rangers 9-1 at home to extend its winning streak to three games. The Senators, who have scored 15 goals in their last two contests, lead the NHL with nine players having more than 10 goals.
Ottawa, which won the President’s Trophy last season, leads the NHL with 167 goals scored.
“We took it to them with our positional play,” said Ottawa center Bryan Smolinski, who scored twice in the first period Saturday when the Senators opened a 4-0 lead. “They came out hard and they wanted to do well. We just wanted to make sure it wouldn’t be easy for them.
“We didn’t give them anything. We really just went out and did what we’re supposed to do. I know we scored nine goals, but we really didn’t do anything special. We just went out and got the job done.”
Dallas also has been getting the job done lately. The Stars skated to a 2-2 tie at home with the Detroit Red Wings on Monday to extend their unbeaten streak to three games.
The Stars are 12-5-6 in their last 23 contests, including four wins in their previous five. Dallas needed that run to get back into playoff contention in the Western Conference standings, where it has moved into the top eight.
“We’ve battled through some demons, and we’ve become mentally stronger as a team,” Dallas coach Dave Tippett said.
STANDINGS (through Jan. 26): Senators - 64 points, 2nd place, 1 PB, Northeast Division. Stars - 55 points, 2nd place, 6 PB, Pacific Division.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Jan. 26): Senators - Power play: 23.0 percent (54 for 235), 2nd in NHL. Penalty killing: 85.2 percent (178 for 209), 9th. Stars - Power play: 15.6 percent (32 for 205), 15th. Penalty killing: 85.5 percent (165 for 193), 7th.
2002-03 SEASON SERIES: 1-1.
LAST MEETING: Feb. 27; Senators 3-2, OT. At Ottawa, ex-Senator Magnus Arvedson picked up his 200th career point by scoring at 2:24 of overtime as the Stars had their 10-game road unbeaten streak snapped.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Senators - 11-5-3-1 on the road; Stars - 13-6-5-0 at home.