A franchise record-tying win streak has started to separate the Dallas Stars from the rest of the Pacific Division.
The Stars go for their eighth straight victory as they travel to meet the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday night in the finale of a home-and-home series.
On Tuesday, Dallas (35-20-5) rallied for a 2-1 home win over Phoenix behind Mike Modano. The center assisted on Steve Ott’s goal with 8:15 to play before putting the Stars ahead less than five minutes later.
Dallas and Phoenix have split four games this season and will meet four more times, including another home-and-home set April 3-4.
“We have a handful more against these guys down the stretch,” Modano told the Stars’ official Web site. “We needed to initiate better early on and we will learn that lesson going forward.”
Modano has two straight multipoint games, but has been held pointless in three of his last four games in Arizona. He had a goal and assist on Oct. 27 in the Stars’ 5-3 win at Jobing.com Arena.
Modano, the all-time leading U.S.-born scorer with 1,267 points, is tied with Jean Ratelle for 33rd on the career list.
Dallas’ Marty Turco returned Tuesday after missing two games with a sore neck, and recorded 19 saves en route to his fifth consecutive win and 24th this season.
“Those games can be mentally taxing and it’s tough to keep with it, but I was glad we did and got the goals we needed to take the win,” Turco said of maintaining focus when not facing many shots.
Turco, who has 199 career wins, stopped 26 shots on Nov. 8 in a 5-2 road loss to the Coyotes that snapped his three-start winning streak there.
Dallas, which last won seven in a row from Nov. 22-Dec. 5, 1997, has a four-point lead over second-place Anaheim and five over third-place San Jose in the Pacific.
“The other teams in our division have put the pressure on us to win, and our expectations to keep winning are still there every night,” Turco said.
Former Star Niko Kapanen scored in the first period Tuesday and Ilya Bryzgalov made 42 saves, but the Coyotes (28-25-4) lost their season high-tying fourth in a row. Phoenix, fourth in the Pacific with 60 points, hasn’t had a five-game skid since March 24-April 3.
“I gave my team a chance to win the game,” Bryzgalov said. “That’s my job, that’s what I have to do. I played well, it was so close to winning the game for our side. But they score with three minutes left, so it’s kind of a tough feeling to lose the game in the last few minutes.”
Though he’s recorded 18 wins in 36 starts since the Coyotes claimed him of waivers from Anaheim in November, Bryzgalov has slumped recently. Since beating Columbus on Jan. 29, he’s 0-3-2 with a 3.01 goals-against average in six starts.
Backup Mikael Tellqvist could get the start for Wayne Gretzky’s club. Tellqvist is 2-0-0 with a 1.00 GAA versus Dallas this season and stopped 35 shots in a 5-0 win on Nov. 2.
Coyotes captain Shane Doan missed Tuesday’s loss due to a strained groin and is day-to-day. Doan leads Phoenix with 36 assists and 54 points.