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Mired in last place in the Western Conference mere months after nearly advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals, Dallas Stars coach Dave Tippett hinted that changes might be coming in net.
With the team slumping and the goaltending situation shaky, Tippett's Stars host Edmonton on Sunday, looking to defeat the Oilers for the seventh straight time.
Dallas (7-11-4) lost for the fourth time in five games overall Friday, falling 6-2 to the San Jose Sharks. Marty Turco was pulled in favor of backup Tobias Stephan after allowing five goals on 19 shots in the first two periods. Loui Eriksson and James Neal each scored for the Stars, who are allowing an average of 4.1 goals in their last five games, during which they are 1-3-1.
"Our goaltending has to be better," Tippett said. "Our (penalty kill) has to keep pucks out. We have a lot of things we have to work on. We expect a lot more from certain players and that starts in goal with Marty."
Turco, who was 32-21-6 with a 2.31 goals-against average last season when the Stars lost in six games to Detroit in the Western Conference Finals, fell to 1-4-3 with a 4.37 GAA at home in 2008-09.
"It's disheartening," he told the Stars' official Web site. "I wanted to be able to do so much more and be the guy who turns it around. We've all got to do this together, we realize that, but we're just not ... We thought it could have been a big night for us, a big spark for us, but in fact, it was the total opposite."
If Turco continues to struggle, Stephan could see more ice time. After stopping 10 of 11 shots in the third period against the Sharks, Stephan is 1-1-0 with a 3.47 GAA in five games, including two starts.
Turco, though, could benefit from facing the Oilers (10-10-2), against whom he is 15-4-0 lifetime. Dallas has won six straight over Edmonton, including a four-game sweep of last season's series.
"We are in a tough spot right now so we just have to keep battling through," said Eriksson, who has five goals in his last six games. "We have talked about playing harder and more together and it's been frustrating."
Edmonton (10-10-2), meanwhile, has dropped five of its last seven. The Oilers rallied from an early two-goal deficit to avoid a third straight loss Saturday, beating the St. Louis Blues 4-2. Andrew Cogliano, Sheldon Souray, Dustin Penner and Shawn Horcoff scored the goals for Edmonton, while Dwayne Roloson stopped 27 shots to improve to 3-4-2 this season.
"When he's on his game, he's like a sponge and everything is absorbed in the body," coach Craig MacTavish said of Roloson. "He was good and he was really solid."
Souray's goal was his third in the last four games and team-leading eighth of the season. He has never scored a goal against the Stars in six career games.