After matching their season-high winning streak, the Pacific Division-leading Dallas Stars have a chance to tie a franchise record with a seventh consecutive victory on Monday night when they open a home-and-home set with the stumbling Phoenix Coyotes.
The Stars (34-20-5) last won seven straight games from Nov. 22-Dec. 5, 1997, which matched their original club record set from March 16-28, 1980, and equaled March 16-April 2, 1997.
They pulled within one victory of that mark Saturday with a 6-2 win over St. Louis. Five different players scored for Dallas, which has 19 goals from 10 different players during the six-game run.
"That's who we are as a team," Stars coach Dave Tippett said. "Scoring by committee, that's the way we play. When we're clicking, we're going to get a lot of people contributing. It makes us a hard team to play against."
The Stars are also looking to build on an outstanding performance on the power play against the Blues. The unit netted three goals on as many shots over four chances. In the 20 previous, Dallas had gone only 9-of-88 (10.2 percent) with the man advantage.
"The last few games, we've been passing it on the power play," said Stars center Mike Ribeiro, who had a power-play goal and two assists on Saturday. "Tonight, we shot. When you shoot, you get a lot more chances. Our penalty-kill and goaltending have been great all season. But our power play has been in a big slump, so tonight was good for our confidence."
Ribeiro has been a major contributor during the winning streak, getting 10 points to give him a team-leading 64, one shy of his career high set in 2003-04 with Montreal. However, he was held pointless in the last two games - both losses - against the Coyotes (28-24-4) after getting a goal and two assists in a 5-3 road win on Oct. 27.
The Stars could start Mike Smith for a third consecutive game if No. 1 goaltender Marty Turco is still bothered by a sore neck. Turco suffered the injury when he collided with teammate Jeff Halpern in Tuesday's win over Vancouver.
Smith, who made 27 stops Saturday, posted a shutout in his other start in place of Turco. But the second-year netminder didn't last long in his last start against Phoenix, allowing two goals on nine shots and being pulled after 13:49 of the opening period of a 5-0 loss on Nov. 2.
The Coyotes are looking to avoid matching their longest losing streak of the season after falling 6-3 to Nashville on Sunday. Phoenix has lost three straight and five of its last six.
Phoenix last dropped four consecutive contests from Nov. 28-Dec. 3, with all of the losses coming on the road.
Goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov has been in a slump recently, going 0-2-2 with a 3.24 GAA in his last five starts. He was pulled 13:27 into Sunday's loss after giving up three goals on eight shots.
"We need Bryzgalov to be better," Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky said. "He's taken on the responsibility as number one, and now he has to prove it. He's got to be way better."
Backup Mikael Tellqvist wasn't much better in relief against the Predators, allowing a pair of goals 23 seconds apart in the third period after the Coyotes rallied to tie the game at 3.
Tellqvist, though, has recorded wins in the last two games against Dallas, stopping 24 shots in a 5-2 victory on Nov. 8 after a 35-save performance Nov. 2 in his lone shutout this season.
|Apr 04 '08||PHX 4 at DAL 2||M. Hanzal|
|Apr 03 '08||DAL 4 at PHX 2||B. Morrow|
|Mar 05 '08||PHX 2 at DAL 1||S. Doan|
|Feb 14 '08||DAL 2 at PHX 5||N. Kapanen|
|Feb 11 '08||PHX 1 at DAL 2||M. Modano|
|Nov 08 '07||DAL 2 at PHX 5||E. Jovanovski|
|Nov 02 '07||PHX 5 at DAL 0||N. Kapanen|
|Oct 27 '07||DAL 5 at PHX 3||N. Hagman|