Considering who their next opponent is, the Dallas Stars have to like their chances of breaking out of their slump.
The Stars go for their sixth straight win over the NHL-worst Edmonton Oilers as they try to end a four-game road losing streak Tuesday night.
Dallas (31-19-6) has gone 2-6-1 in its last nine games. The only regulation win in that stretch came over Edmonton (16-32-8) on Jan. 26, and the Stars’ slump began immediately after a five-game win streak - which was capped with a victory over the Oilers on Jan. 20.
Kari Lehtonen(notes) has started all three games between the teams this season, posting a 1.67 goals-against average. Brenden Morrow(notes) has three goals, and Adam Burish(notes) two goals and two assists in those victories.
Edmonton, though, has been competitive in all three losses, falling by a total of five goals.
Neither team was happy with how it played in defeats Sunday.
The Stars fell 2-1 to Columbus at home and were outshot 18-6 in the first period, the fifth straight game they were outshot through 20 minutes.
“I can’t explain it, but they were more into it in the first period than we were,” center Brad Richards(notes) told the Stars’ official website. “We chased the game after that. We didn’t compete like they did at the start.”
Richards, who has goals in three consecutive games, did not make the trip after absorbing a hit late in Sunday’s loss. Stars coach Marc Crawford said the team was “going to be cautious with him and do what we feel is best.”
Dallas’ Nicklas Grossman(notes) left in the first period with a groin injury. Grossman and Stephane Robidas(notes) make up the team’s top unit on defense, and the Stars had to shuffle their defensive pairings to compensate.
Coach Marc Crawford, though, wouldn’t use Grossman’s departure as an excuse.
“Casual play can’t be accepted at this time of the year,” Crawford said. “We have no one to blame but ourselves for that.”
Grossman is day to day.
The Stars have been outscored 23-9 during their road skid, going 0 for 12 on the power play.
Edmonton fell 4-0 to Anaheim on Sunday, its third straight loss and seventh in the last eight. The Oilers matched a season low with 12 shots on goal.
“Nothing surprises me with this squad right now,” coach Tom Renney said. “We’re talking about mental toughness now. We have people that should be out there fighting for their jobs in the National Hockey League that needed to do more. We have others that have established themselves in the league that needed to take on some leadership.”
The Oilers have gone 0-6-1 in their last seven home games, scoring once in 29 power-play opportunities.
“We don’t have enough urgency,” defenseman Theo Peckham(notes) said. “We’re not playing like it’s the last game we’re ever going to play. There’s not enough pride right now, and it’s something we have to work on.”
The Oilers, last in the NHL on the power play at 11.3 percent, have gone 1 for 10 against the Stars.