DALLAS – The chance to gain a split on a demanding four-game road trip and complete the season’s first 10 games with a 4-5-1 record might not seem like a whole lot, but given their daunting early season schedule, the Ducks could consider such a scenario a significant success.
In order to accomplish that, however, the Ducks will need to defeat the Dallas Stars in Tuesday night’s matchup at the American Airlines Center.
It isn’t that things will get appreciably easier, what with upcoming back-to-back games Friday night against New Jersey at Honda Center and Saturday night at San Jose, but the game in Dallas completes an opening stretch of 10 games that featured seven on the road. After this weekend, the Ducks will play five of six games at home.
“We look at every game – it could be the turning point for us in the season, get us going the right direction,” Ducks forward Todd Marchant said. “What I mean by that is not just winning one, losing one, winning one, losing one. I’m talking about winning four or five in a row or getting points in six or seven straight. That’s what we’re looking to start.”
With that in mind, the Ducks went through a spirited practice Monday morning despite less-than-ideal ice conditions at the American Airlines Center. Coach Randy Carlyle said unusual weather that included relatively high humidity contributed to the sloppy surface.
“We felt we covered some of the areas we’re going to continually work on, and see if we can improve our level of play,” Carlyle said. “We need to focus on the little things, and not turn that puck over so many times in situations where we feel we have a better option.”
The Ducks opened their current trip Wednesday with a 3-1 loss at Columbus and rebounded the next night to win 3-2 at Philadelphia, but let two- and one-goal leads get away Saturday night in a 5-4 loss at Detroit.
“You take whatever you can get when you’re on the road,” Carlyle said. “It’s a huge game for our hockey club. We get a chance to salvage .500 here. We’re playing a division rival. These are important games.
“We know the Dallas hockey club is playing very well. A lot of things have gone right for them. They’ve had a great start. Their young players are starting to make major contributions to their lineup. They’re a difficult team to play against.”
The surprising Stars, 5-2, are coming off a 1-0 loss to visiting Nashville on Saturday. A regulation victory Tuesday would bring the Ducks within one point of Dallas.
“Finishing the first 10 games, we would love to have a better record than we have,” Marchant said. “You look at some of the games, and we’ve given some points away. We know that. It could be a lot better than it is. We’re definitely looking at this game as hopefully something for us to start to build on.”