Hurricanes-Stars Preview

Publish date:

Dallas Stars coach Lindy Ruff acknowledged that his team ran into a hot goalie in losing the finale to a four-game trip.

That's not an issue against the next opponent.

Opening a stretch of five of six at home Tuesday night, the Western Conference-leading Stars look to bounce back against a Carolina Hurricanes team that has allowed at least four goals in four of its last five games.

Dallas (20-5-2) fired 43 shots on Edmonton's Anders Nilsson on Friday, but only Mattias Janmark scored in a 2-1 overtime loss. Tyler Seguin, held without a point for just the second time in 11 games, had seven shots while Jamie Benn and Jason Spezza had five apiece for the Stars, who were limited to fewer than two goals for the second time this season.

"He made some great saves," Ruff said of Nilsson. "Right off the start, we probably could have had three or four (goals)."

The Stars, one of the league's highest-scoring teams at 3.4 per contest, still managed to earn a point for a 10th time in 11 games and go 2-1-1 on their trip.

"We can't be disappointed with six out of eight points on a road trip," Ruff said. " ... We got the points you need in a four-game block. These last two games we've really played well. We're missing too many really good opportunities to put teams away."

One area where the Stars have squandered chances is with the man advantage.

They are converting 24.1 percent of their power-play opportunities for the West's best mark but are 0 for 11 in the last four games.

Dallas has a prime opportunity to get its power play on track against the Hurricanes, who are killing 69.0 percent of penalties on the road for one of league's lowest success rates.

The Stars have also totaled 13 goals in their last three games against Carolina, winning 4-1 on Nov. 6 behind third-period scores from Patrick Sharp, Radek Faksa and Jason Demers.

The Hurricanes (10-13-4) have given up an East-worst 3.13 goals per game since the beginning of November, with the save percentages of Cam Ward (.889) and backup Eddie Lack (.872) ranking among the NHL's worst in that span.

Carolina has surrendered 14 goals during a four-game road losing streak but is coming off a pair of encouraging home wins following a 2-5-4 stretch.

A night after beating East-leading Montreal 3-2, the Hurricanes rallied for a 5-4 win over Arizona on Sunday. Ron Hainsey tied the game with 4:22 to go and Justin Faulk scored the winner with 17 seconds left.

"Big win last night, and to roll it over is huge," Faulk said. "It started with a high compete level, and that's what you need to do every night to win in this league. ... If we continue to bring that every night it's going to be huge for us going forward."

Faulk's goal was his ninth of the season - all on the power play. In 27 games, he has already tied the team record for power-play goals by a defenseman, set by Anton Babchuk in 72 games in 2008-09.

Faulk is essentially the only scoring threat with the man advantage as Victor Rask, Jeff Skinner and Eric Staal have tallied the only other three power-play goals for Carolina, which has the league's second-worst conversion rate at 13.3 percent.

The Stars have killed all nine penalties in the last four games and have been getting strong play in goal from Kari Lehtonen, who seems likely to start after Antti Niemi got the call Friday.

Lehtonen has a 1.98 goals-against average in winning his last seven starts, which includes beating the Hurricanes last month, and is 6-1-0 with a 2.55 GAA in his last eight versus Carolina.