The Dallas Stars still have an impressive record, but they have stumbled into a bit of a funk.
The Stars look to get back on track against a team they have beaten five straight times when they visit the Washington Capitals on Thursday.
Dallas (16-8) put just five third-period shots on net and allowed two goals in the final 20 minutes of a 2-1 loss at Chicago on Wednesday. It was the second straight game the Stars led 1-0 after two periods, but allowed two unanswered goals in the third to lose.
“We had the lead in the third period; it doesn’t matter how many goals,” said goaltender Marty Turco, who made 26 saves. “We were talking about finding ways, and we found ways to lose and it’s not acceptable.”
Dallas’ offense has scored just one goal in three of its last four games, but has had no trouble scoring against the Capitals (9-9-6). The Stars have outscored Washington 24-8 to win the last five meetings in the interconference series.
Dallas has allowed a league-low 51 goals, but Turco has been shaky of late. The goaltender is 0-3 with a 3.27 goals-against average in his last four starts, but has been excellent in his career against the Capitals, going 3-0 with a 1.34 GAA.
Jere Lehtinen’s fourth goal of the season provided the Stars’ only offense Wednesday. He has also scored a goal in each of his last four games against Washington.
Mike Modano, who assisted on Lehtinen’s goal Wednesday, has seven assists in his last four games against the Capitals.
Washington has not defeated the Stars since a 3-2 overtime win on Dec. 28, 2001.
Goaltender Olaf Kolzig, in particular, has been unable to catch a break against the Stars. Kolzig is 0-9 with a tie and a 3.50 GAA versus Dallas.
On Tuesday, though, the 15-year veteran made a season-high 48 saves as the Capitals ended a six-game losing skid with a 5-2 victory over Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
“You want to get shots, get into a groove,” said Kolzig, who stopped 25 shots in the third period. “Fifty is a little extreme, but anytime you can get 10 to 12 shots a period, it’s good for a goalie. You’re into it.”
Washington is 4-0-2 when allowing 40 or more shots this season, and Kolzig has made 20 or more saves during the third period in each of those four victories.
“He’s the backbone of our team,” Chris Clark said of Kolzig. “We were outplayed maybe in the first period, but he was here to keep it (close).”
The Capitals were outscored 25-9 during their six-game skid.
Alexander Ovechkin scored his team-leading 16th goal and added an assist on Tuesday. Ovechkin has scored in each of his last three games.
Dallas, which lost 2-1 at Detroit on Monday, is trying to avoid its first three-game losing streak since March 31-April 3.