With injuries to some of their top offensive players, the Dallas Stars and Edmonton Oilers have leaned on their defenses to keep winning.
The Stars go for a season high-tying fourth straight win Friday when they host the Oilers.
Dallas (19-9-0) has shut out its last two opponents and won six in a row at the American Airlines Center en route to an 11-2-0 record there. Since February 1996, the Stars are 16-2 with one tie in 19 home games against the Oilers.
Edmonton (15-10-2), meanwhile, has allowed just one goal in winning its last two games. Despite a 4-6-1 road record, the Oilers are tied with the Minnesota Wild atop the Northwest Division with 32 points.
But fans expecting to see some of the best players on both teams likely will be disappointed. Dallas will almost certainly be without Mike Modano, Eric Lindros and Brenden Morrow, and Edmonton will be missing Ryan Smyth and Ales Hemsky.
Modano, who is five goals short of 500 for his career, missed Wednesday's 3-0 win over Phoenix with a lower-body injury. The oft-injured Lindros hasn't seen game action since Dec. 2 because of a bruised foot and Morrow, who took over as Stars captain this season in place of Modano, has been sidelined since Nov. 25 with a groin injury.
Modano leads Dallas with 10 goals, including four game-winners, and 20 points. Lindros is tied with Sergei Zubov for the team lead with 13 assists and Morrow has five multipoint games this season.
"We're playing very well in our own end and in our calculation we are not giving up a lot of scoring chances," coach Dave Tippett told the Stars' official Web site. "We're also not generating as much as we should because you look at how many chances a guy like Modano or Morrow create on their own, and you are missing them out of your lineup."
Marty Turco - who hasn't allowed a goal in his last 143 minutes 6 seconds - has never recorded three consecutive shutouts in his career.
"We've tightened up with some players out of the lineup," said Turco is 5-1-0 with a 1.66 GAA - and three shutouts - lifetime in Dallas against the Oilers.
Smyth, the Oilers' leading goal scorer with 16, suffered a broken thumb Saturday in a shutout loss to Columbus and is out indefinitely. Hemsky, tied with Jarrett Stoll for third on the team with 18 points, hasn't played since Nov. 28 due to a shoulder injury.
In a rematch of last season's Stanley Cup finals, Edmonton came away with a 3-1 win Wednesday over Carolina. Jason Smith's goal with 1 minute left in the second period snapped a 1-all tie, and Fernando Pisani tallied his first goal in eight games early in the third.
"We played simple and we played smart," Stoll said. "And you could tell every time we got to the red-line we got that puck in deep and went around on the forecheck. We weren't fooling around in the neutral zone. When we do that we are not a very good hockey team."
In a rare start, backup goaltender Jussi Markkanen made 28 saves for his first win since Oct. 17.
Dwayne Roloson should be back in goal for this contest after posting his second shutout of the season and 20th of his career in a 4-0 win Monday over Vancouver. He hasn't started a game in Dallas in more than nine years since a 4-1 loss on Dec. 5, 1997, while with Calgary.
The Stars won their third straight over the Oilers with a 3-2 win Nov. 3 in Edmonton behind 24 saves from Turco and goals from Morrow, Niklas Hagman and Trevor Daley. Smyth and Petr Sykora scored for the Oilers, who got 23 saves from Roloson.