Two weeks ago, it appeared the Dallas Stars would earn one of the final playoff spots in the Western Conference. They've been fading from postseason contention ever since.
The Stars look to avoid losing seven straight games for the first time in more than 19 years when they visit the Phoenix Coyotes on Monday night.
One season after falling two victories shy of the Stanley Cup finals, Dallas (33-33-9) is in danger of missing the playoffs for just the second time in 12 seasons. The Stars were seventh in the West following a 3-2 win over Minnesota on March 14, but are 0-5-1 since to drop to 11th.
After managing one point during a three-game homestand, Dallas plays five of its final seven on the road, where it's lost a season-high four straight. The Stars haven't dropped five in a row away from Dallas since Nov. 4-22, 2003.
"There's no time to wait around and see what other teams are going to do," defenseman Matt Niskanen said after Saturday's 6-3 defeat to Florida. "All we can control is how we play and start winning games."
Niskanen scored his sixth goal of the season Saturday and Dallas finally showed some signs of life offensively after recording seven goals in the first five games of the skid. The Stars struggled again defensively, though, allowing at least five goals for the third time in four games.
Marty Turco stopped 27 shots Saturday in his 13th straight start for Dallas. He has a 3.19 goals-against average and one shutout during the losing streak, the franchise's longest since Dec. 5-15, 1995.
The Stars have not lost seven straight since Nov. 30-Dec.12, 1989, when the team played in Minnesota.
Turco has been in net for every game against the Coyotes this season and despite a 1.56 GAA and one shutout, has gone 2-2-1. He hasn't gotten much help offensively, as the Stars lost 1-0 in the last two meetings.
Left wing Loui Eriksson, who leads Dallas with 33 goals, scored twice in each of the Stars' two victories over Phoenix this season.
The Coyotes are coming off Saturday's 3-2 defeat to San Jose, dropping to 3-6-2 since March 6.
Phoenix stayed with the Sharks, taking a 1-0 lead in the second period and heading into the third tied at 2, but could not defeat the best team in the West.
"We seem to be playing with a lot more intensity, and our speed is much stronger right now," Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky said. "For us to have the kind of night we had was a pretty strong effort."
Phoenix hopes to bounce back at home, where it's 3-0-1 since March 17 after going 1-8-0 in its previous nine at Jobing.com Arena.
Ilya Bryzgalov, who has a 1.96 GAA in the Coyotes' last four home games, is 3-1-1 with a 1.56 GAA and two shutouts against Dallas this season.
Captain Shane Doan, two goals shy of matching his career high of 30 set in 2005-06, has been held without a goal in his last seven games versus the Stars.