A confident Mike Ribeiro has been instrumental to the Dallas Stars' surge over the past two weeks.
Ribeiro looks to continue his torrid pace on Sunday in his first game against his former team as the Pacific Division-leading Stars host the Montreal Canadiens.
Ribeiro had two goals on Friday - his second coming 57 seconds into overtime - in Dallas' 3-2 victory over Calgary. The Stars (20-12-4) have won five of their last six games to move atop the Pacific.
"Usually it starts after the All-Star game, but this year every game's important as everyone's in it," Ribeiro said. "We're playing with confidence right now, everyone's playing well and chipping in, and our special teams are going good."
Ribeiro has seven goals and five assists in his last seven games. He scored on his only two shots on Friday, and leads the NHL in shooting percentage at 38.3 percent.
Despite taking just 47 shots this season, Ribeiro leads Dallas with 18 goals - matching his total from 2006-07- and 36 points. He is two goals shy of his career high set with Montreal in 2003-04.
Ribeiro, a Montreal native, played six seasons for his hometown team before being dealt to Dallas in September 2006 for Janne Niinimaa. The Stars have not played Montreal since losing 4-2 on Jan. 16, 2006. The teams also haven't met in Dallas since playing to a 1-all tie on Dec. 31, 2003.
Backup goaltender Mike Smith made 22 saves on Friday to win his first game since Nov. 25, but Marty Turco is expected to be back in net on Sunday.
Turco had a five-game winning streak end with Dallas' 3-2 loss to Vancouver on Thursday, dropping him to 6-2-0 with a 1.96 goals-against average this month. He is 1-1-0 with one tie and a 1.97 GAA lifetime against the Canadiens.
The Stars, who are opening a four-game homestand, have won six of their last eight at the American Airlines Center.
Montreal (17-12-6) lost to Atlanta 3-2 in a shootout on Saturday, snapping a three-game road winning streak. The Canadiens are 11-5-2 away from the Bell Centre this season, tying them with Ottawa for most road wins in the Eastern Conference.
Montreal failed to score on either of its two shootout attempts on Saturday, while Cristobal Huet allowed goals on both shots he faced. The Canadiens fell to 2-5 in shootout games.
"The shootout is something we try to work on, but it's not something we can spend too much time on," said Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau, who played five seasons with the Stars, including on the 1999 Stanley Cup team. This is his first game back in Dallas as the Canadiens coach.
Huet stopped 26 shots against the Thrashers in his second game back after missing seven due to a pulled groin. He's 0-1-0 with two ties and a 1.54 GAA lifetime against the Stars. Rookie Carey Prince, who is 2-1-1 with a 1.73 GAA since Dec. 11, could get the start.
Alexei Kovalev scored his team-leading 15th goal on Saturday, and has three goals and five assists in his last seven games.