As bad as the Dallas Stars are playing away from home, even a visit to Edmonton no longer seems like the ideal place for them to snap the longest single-season road losing streak in franchise history.
The Stars look to avoid an 11th consecutive road loss and fourth straight at Rexall Place on Friday night when they face the lowly Oilers, losers of nine in a row.
Dallas (21-18-11) fell 4-3 at Vancouver on Thursday, dropping to 0-8-2 away from home since beating San Jose in a shootout Dec. 11. The Stars led 2-1 early, but the Canucks scored three straight goals with two coming in the third period.
“That’s been symptomatic of a lot of the games we’ve not performed well in,” said Dallas coach Marc Crawford, whose team concludes this three-game trip Sunday at Colorado. “You can look at probably 40, 45 minutes of the game where we were pleased, but when the game got on the line their level elevated and they played about 15 minutes and won.”
The Stars’ current road drought is the main reason they’re tied for 10th in the Western Conference, but their 14-5-5 home record is also why they’re only five points out of the final playoff spot.
Now, even a matchup with Edmonton (16-27-6) could be a challenge for the Stars, who have already suffered a pair of shootout losses to the Oilers.
Edmonton, however, is last in the West, and 0-7-2 since beating Toronto on Dec. 30 for the club’s worst losing streak since a 12-game skid from Feb. 25-March 21, 2007.
That presents a solid opportunity for the Stars to end their road skid after falling short in their bid for a third consecutive victory Thursday.
Loui Eriksson(notes) scored his 21st goal Thursday, and third in as many games as Dallas remained competitive despite continuing to play without injured stars Brenden Morrow(notes), Mike Ribeiro(notes) and Jere Lehtinen(notes). Only Morrow (upper-body injury) appears closest to returning.
Turco is 14-13-8 with a 2.84 goals-against average, but he’s allowed 18 goals in his last five starts. Turco is 17-6-2 with a 2.34 GAA versus the Oilers — a figure that rises to 3.12 during a 1-2-2 stretch.
The Oilers have scored 11 goals in their last six games, but their struggles in killing penalties has been an even bigger issue recently. Over the last four games, Edmonton’s opponents have converted seven of 14 power-play chances, and all three Canucks goals came with the man advantage.
“It’s definitely pretty frustrating the way we’ve been losing games lately,” said Gagner, who has a goal against Dallas this season. “We had a lot of passion and intensity and played the game the right way. We have to regroup and use our anger the right way and be better.”
After Devan Dubnyk(notes) stopped 26 shots in his fifth career start Wednesday, Jeff Deslauriers may start. He’s 9-14-3 with a 3.18 GAA this season, but has posted a 4.71 GAA over his last five games (0-4-1).
Deslauriers is 1-1-0 with a 2.89 GAA all-time against Dallas.