A win in Dallas earlier this season sparked a winning streak for the Anaheim Ducks that provided some stability in their up-and-down season.
The Ducks (18-14-3) hope a victory over the Stars (14-14-5) at American Airlines Center will start another such run.
Anaheim has dropped three of its past four games and is 2-4-0 in its last six. While the Ducks have scored three goals in each of the past three games, inconsistent play from their goaltenders has led to consecutive losses—each by a 4-3 margin.
Ryan Getzlaf’s goal gave Anaheim a 2-1 lead 3:45 into the third period Tuesday at Calgary, but Jean-Sebastien Giguere gave up the tying goal 14 seconds later and allowed the Flames to score two more over the next 11 minutes.
“We beat ourselves tonight, I believe that” Brendan Morrison said. “You have to have a big shift after you get the lead like that and this is a veteran group in here, we should be able to go out and do that and preserve a lead in the third period.”
Anaheim started the season 1-5-0 before going 8-0-1 in its next nine games. But the Ducks followed that up with a 1-3-2 stretch before a 2-1 shootout victory on Nov. 22 at Dallas started a four-game winning streak.
Anaheim, though, has gone 4-6-0 since that run ended. The Ducks also have dropped five of their last six on road, getting outscored 18-11 in that span.
In winning three of their past four, the Stars have gotten consistent offense, scoring 20 goals.
That includes a season-high in Tuesday’s 8-2 victory in Toronto, where rookie James Neal recorded his first career hat trick.
“Just being able to step out onto the ice was something special, and things were going in for me,” Neal said. “Everything I shot found a way in.”
They also went in for five other Stars, as four players had two assists and 15 players had at least one point in the win.
Brad Richards, who scored a goal and leads the Stars with 29 points, enters Saturday’s game with eight points during a four-game point streak. Mike Ribeiro, who had a goal and an assist Tuesday, is also on a four-game streak and has eight points in the past five games.
That offensive outburst has helped overcome one of the worst defenses in the league—Dallas is yielding 3.42 goals per game. Despite going 3-0-1 in four consecutive starts, Stars goalie Marty Turco has given up 13 goals in that span.
Turco, however, has yielded three goals in the two games against the Ducks this season, and has a 6-2-2 record with a 1.67 goals-against average in his last 10 regular-season starts against Anaheim. The Stars goalie also had a 2.01 GAA during last year’s six-game quarterfinal playoff series victory over the Ducks.
Anaheim has won its last two games at American Airlines Center after going 0-5-1 in the previous six.