Stars continue road trip against Hurricanes
Wednesday, 12.16.2009 / 7:00 PMSTARS (14-8-10) at HURRICANES (7-19-6)
Dallas 4-2-4; Carolina 2-7-1
The Stars will look to sweep the season series after shutting out the Hurricanes in Dallas on Nov. 23. Jamie Benn
and Brad Richards scored power-play goals and Marty Turco made 22 saves for the shutout.
No team in the NHL has benefitted more from the point awarded to teams after a regulation tie than Dallas, which has gained 10 of its 38 points this season through overtime or shootout losses. Still, this creates a bit of a conundrum – while the Stars will be viewed at by most as six games over the .500 mark, they have actually lost four more games than they have won. They have currently picked up at least a point in four straight games (1-0-3), but that includes an overtime loss to Anaheim and shootout losses to Edmonton and Los Angeles.
Coming off a rare shootout victory in San Jose on Friday, Dallas found itself right back in the penalty-shot tiebreaker one night later in Los Angeles. The momentum didn't carry over, as Michal Handzus scored in the fourth round for the Kings and Mike Ribeiro
of the Stars was poke-checked by goalie Jonathan Quick. The puck then bounced off the skate of Ribeiro and ended up in the net, but the play was dead after the poke-check. The Stars lost 3-2 and are 1-0-2 on a five-game road trip that concludes Thursday in Atlanta.
"It definitely feels like we're making progress," defenseman Matt Niskanen told the Dallas Morning News. "I think if you look at this trip, we played pretty well most of the time."
After winning in Pittsburgh for its road victory of the season, Carolina dropped the final three of a four-game trip. The Hurricanes were competitive in each defeat – a one-goal loss to Washington and two-goal defeats to New Jersey and Ottawa that featured empty-netters – but they need to start picking up two points and not just one if they want to escape the Eastern Conference cellar.
"We need to win some games, so to be that close to it is frustrating," coach Paul Maurice said. "We've been playing good for about three weeks to a month now and we've had a lot of these nights. A little understaffed, a little undermanned and we're running some kids a little hard. They're playing, but you've got to get that puck across the line."
Dallas forward Brad Richards is consistent as ever, with three goals and two assists during a four-game points streak. … Veteran forward Ray Whitney had both goals for Carolina in its 4-2 loss to Ottawa on Saturday. He has four goals and seven points in his last five games.
Stars defenseman Mark Fistric
is questionable for Wednesday's game due to illness. … Carolina forward Sergei Samsonov (lower body) and defenseman Niclas Wallin (upper body) are also questionable, while forwards Chad LaRose
, Erik Cole and Michael Ryan and defensemen Joe Corvo and Casey Borer are all on injured reserve.
Dallas is 2-7 this season in the shootout and 2-3 when the game is decided in overtime. The Stars lead the League with 14 games to go beyond regulation.
At times this year Marc Crawford has bemoaned the extra points Dallas has left on the ice, but he has been high on his club during this road trip.
"We played a real complete road trip," Crawford told the Morning News. "There's a lot to build on."