The Dallas Stars matched their franchise’s best start thanks to outstanding play on the road. Now they look to bring some of that success back to the American Airlines Center on Monday when they take on the Vancouver Canucks.
The Stars (7-1-0) matched their best start after eight games set during 1996-97 season. Their fast start is more impressive considering they played six of their games on the road.
The team now plays five of its next six at the American Airlines Center, where it is 2-0 this season and 4-0 against the Canucks (5-3-1) since a 4-2 loss March 17, 2003.
Dallas has won consecutive games since being shut out in its lone loss Oct. 17. Mike Ribeiro, Mike Modano and defense Philippe Boucher all have scored in both games, most recently in a 4-0 victory Saturday at Phoenix.
While the trio provided the bulk of the offense, backup goaltender Mike Smith stopped 22 shots in his NHL debut for the shutout.
“I told our guys that they blocked more shots than me,” said Smith, who benefited from 12 blocked shots by the team’s defenders. “When that happens you’re going to win a lot of games.”
Smith received the start Saturday in place of Marty Turco, who has a 1.98 goals-against average in seven starts while making 200 saves. With six victories, Turco is tied with Minnesota’s Manny Fernandez, Atlanta’s Kari Lehtonen and Buffalo’s Ryan Miller for the league lead.
Turco is 11-2 with a 1.74 GAA lifetime against the Canucks, including a 6-1 mark with two shutouts and a 1.36 GAA at home. He has won five consecutive home starts against Vancouver since a 4-1 loss Oct. 11, 2001.
The Stars won three of four meetings against Vancouver last season and have won 13 of the last 20 meetings since 2000, including six of 10 at American Airlines Center.
The Canucks are 2-1 entering the fourth game of a five-game road trip, with both the wins coming in overtime. Lukas Krajicek scored 2:23 into the extra period in Vancouver’s 4-3 victory Friday over Nashville, and Roberto Luongo made a season-high 40 saves to win his third consecutive start.
Vancouver is 3-1 in overtime games this season after winning four all of 2005-06.
“Our guys are creating an identity for themselves,” Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said. “They are sticking with the process. They are not giving up. That’s great for our team.”
Daniel Sedin recorded an assist for his 10th point of the season, tying him for the team lead with his twin brother Henrik—who has yet to score a goal.