If the Dallas Stars are going to mount a serious run at returning to the playoffs, they may need to start showing some improvement in overtime and the shootout. Avoiding the those scenarios when they face the Anaheim Ducks again could also help.
The Stars look to rebound from another loss via the tiebreaker Tuesday night when they face the Ducks for the second time in five days.
Dallas (13-8-8), which failed to reach the playoffs for the first time in six seasons last spring, has played in 11 games that have reached at least overtime, ranking among the most played in the NHL.
The Stars, though, have won only three of those games, and are 1-6 in shootouts while making only four of 24 attempts.
They came up short in the tiebreaker again Saturday, squandering a two-goal second-period lead en route to a 3-2 loss to Edmonton after Marty Turco(notes) was beat by Shawn Horcoff(notes) in the fifth round of the shootout. Turco also gave up the tying goal to Ladislav Smid(notes) with 3:07 left in regulation.
“The shootout foiled us again,” coach Marc Crawford said after watching his team lose the eighth of nine shootouts dating to last season. “This was a game that probably falls more in the category of we shouldn’t have ever let it get to a shootout.”
Dallas used a three-goal third-period to avoid extra hockey in Thursday’s 3-1 win over the Ducks (10-13-6). The Stars also won their last visit to Anaheim, scoring the first three goals of a 4-2 win Oct. 21.
They’re 13-3-4 in the last 20 meetings with Anaheim, but 2-4 in games that went beyond regulation, including a 1-3 record in the shootout.
James Neal(notes) has a goal in each of the last two games after coming up empty in the previous six. The left wing leads the Stars with 13 goals, but has failed to convert any of his five shootout attempts this season after going 5 for 7 in 2008-09.
Neal has two goals and three assists in his last six games against Anaheim.
The Ducks haven’t been much better, dropping six of nine games that have gone beyond regulation, including three defeats during their five-game losing streak.
They fell 4-3 in a shootout to Ottawa on Sunday, two nights after falling 5-4 via the tiebreaker at Minnesota.
Despite getting one point in each game, Anaheim is eight behind the fourth-place Stars in the Pacific Division. The Ducks haven’t dropped six in a row since Jan. 20-Feb. 2, 2008.
“It’s desperation for us right now,” said right wing Corey Perry(notes), whose goal in the third period Sunday forced overtime before he missed his shootout chance. “We’re at the 30-game mark. We have to put something together and go on a run here or we’re going to be out of it pretty soon. Everybody has to come together and be a team in here. That is how we have to play.”
Perry leads the Ducks with 15 goals and 36 points, but one of the four games he was held off the scoresheet came in Thursday’s loss to the Stars.