After a successful trek west, the Stars return home looking to continue riding their resurgent offense on Sunday against the Canadiens, who seek their third road win in 15 games.
The Stars endured a season-high six-game homestand from Feb. 19-March 1 in miserable fashion, scoring 11 goals en route to a 1-5-0 record. In a three-game swing through California, though, Dallas found the back of the net 11 times while earning five of a possible six points.
Dallas (31-26-8) bounced back from a 5-4 overtime loss to Los Angeles on Thursday night with a 3-2 victory over Anaheim on Friday. Loui Eriksson scored his team-high 30th and 31st goals, and Marty Turco made 36 saves.
“You can’t overstate the importance of getting points and playing well,” Turco said. “For us, our belief is that if we keep playing the way we have on this road trip, good things will happen.”
Playing on the road has had the opposite effect for the Canadiens, who’ve managed one goal in defeats at Buffalo and Atlanta. Despite facing one of the NHL’s worst teams, Montreal (34-24-7) couldn’t avoid its second shutout loss of the season, 2-0 to the Thrashers on Friday.
Coach Guy Carbonneau—a member of the Stars’ Stanley Cup winning team a decade ago—said he was encouraged that his team “worked for 60 minutes and gained confidence” against Atlanta.
“We keep working like this, we’ll be OK,” he said.
That could be up for debate. A season after winning with Eastern Conference’s top seed behind a 25-12-4 road record, the Canadiens are 14-18-3 away from home and 2-11-1 in their last 14 road games.
Montreal has scored 32 goals during that stretch, and is 0-10-1 when scoring three goals or less.
It’s not immediately known who Carbonneau will start in goal. Jaroslav Halak has missed the last two games with the flu, and All-Star Carey Price is 2-10-1 with a 3.71 goals-against average in 15 games since returning from a lower-body injury that sidelined him for three weeks at the start of the new year.
Regardless of who starts, Montreal will be looking for its first win in Dallas since March 4, 1998. The Canadiens have scored five goals while posting four losses and a tie.
The Stars will likely counter with Turco, a 30-game winner for the sixth straight season. Turco has lost four straight home starts since beating Edmonton on Feb. 19, but has two wins, a tie and a 0.97 GAA in three career home starts against the Canadiens.
Mike Ribeiro, a Montreal native and second-round pick by the Canadiens in 1998, has two goals and three assists in a three-game points streak. He leads Dallas with 44 assists and 61 points.