Dallas won for the 11th time in 13 games when it beat Anaheim 2-1 on Wednesday night, moving the Stars 15 points ahead of the Mighty Ducks in the Pacific Division.
The Stars cracked the 100-point mark for the seventh time in nine seasons while remaining close to Detroit for the top record in the Western Conference. A victory against Anaheim would clinch the third straight playoff berth and eighth in the past nine seasons for Dallas.
“This whole year has been set up for nothing but success and getting better every game,” Dallas goaltender Marty Turco said. “But there’s a lot of work left for what we want.”
The Ducks are locked in a race with several teams for the final few playoff spots in the conference. While Detroit has clinched and Dallas and Nashville are close to spots, Anaheim—with 86 points—is one of seven teams between 81 and 88 points.
The Ducks have lost two straight following a season-high six-game winning streak and have struggled to score against the Stars this season.
Anaheim has dropped five of its six meetings with Dallas, scoring only 10 goals in the season series.
“Every time we’ve played them it’s been low-scoring. We have a tough time generating offense against them,” Anaheim’s Joffrey Lupul said. “That puts pressure on us to take advantage of the chances we got. It’s frustrating.”
Turco has stepped up his game over the last month for the Stars. The goalie, who has won an NHL-best and franchise record 39 games this season, has allowed two goals or fewer in eight of his last nine games and is 10-2 in his last 12 starts.
Anaheim is looking to set a club record for wins in a month, surpassing the 10 wins the Ducks had in February 1999.
The teams play for the final time on April 6 in Anaheim, concluding three meetings in a five-game span.
“We got these guys three times in a week, you’re going to get to know each other well,” Dallas coach Dave Tippett said. “I like games like that. For our team right now, it’s a good thing. You like putting your team in situations where they have to compete hard, because that’s when they feel good about yourself. That’s the kind of games you want going into the playoffs.”
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