The Edmonton Oilers are hoping a change of scenery will end the third-period problems that have plagued them recently. The Dallas Stars, meanwhile, are hoping their dominance of the Oilers helps them avoid a three-game losing streak as the teams meet Monday at American Airlines Center.
The Oilers (13-16-1) are opening a challenging three-game road trip that includes stops at Detroit and St. Louis. Edmonton has allowed three goals in the third period of each of its last two games, most recently a 4-3 setback to St. Louis on Friday.
"It's two games in a row we've allowed three third-period goals, you think we'd learn from (Wednesday) but we didn't," said Oilers defenseman Tom Gilbert.
Edmonton suffered a brief but pivotal lapse in each loss. In Wednesday's 4-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Oilers squandered a 2-0 lead by allowing goals 21 seconds apart that triggered a four-goal rally.
On Friday, the Blues snapped a 1-all tie with a pair of goals in a 54-second span. The Oilers closed within one goal on two occasions but failed to tie the game.
"We gave up some untimely goals and it cost us again," Edmonton forward Dustin Penner said. "It's a lack of focus, especially when you enter the third period tied with a team that is as good as St. Louis. You have to kick it up a notch. And we didn't.
"It seems like right now it is two steps forwards and one step back. We have to start moving forward again."
Oilers center Shawn Horcoff had a goal and an assist in Friday's loss, giving him four goals and six assists during a six-game point streak. He has four points in his last two games versus Dallas and five goals and nine assists in 21 lifetime games against the Stars.
Dallas (15-11-4) has dropped four of its last six games after a season-high six-game winning streak, and fell 4-2 to Ottawa on Friday. Mike Smith made 16 saves, but took the blame for the loss after allowing two first-period goals - including a soft flip by Christoph Schubert 5:18 into the contest.
"I needed to make some saves early and I didn't do that tonight," said Smith, making his first start since Nov. 30. Once you get behind, you chase the game and it's unfortunate to start like that. A couple of more saves on my part would have made it a different game."
Marty Turco likely will get the start for the Stars. He is 11-4-0 with a 2.13 goals-against average and three shutouts lifetime against the Oilers, including a 6-2-0 mark with a 1.76 GAA and all three shutouts at home.
Turco's strong play against the Oilers is merely the most recent part of Dallas' mastery of Edmonton. The Stars are 22-6-3 with one tie versus the Oilers since the start of the 1998-99 season. Edmonton has played better at Dallas recently, though, winning three of its last five there after going 0-10-0 with one tie in a stretch from 1999-2004.
Veteran Stars center Mike Modano has 28 goals and 67 points in 57 games versus Edmonton.
Dallas won three of four games between the teams last season.