The Dallas Stars just dropped their first game in more than two weeks. Facing a New York Rangers club that's struggling to score may be the ideal opponent to get them back on track.
While Dallas looks for its fourth straight home win on Friday night, New York will try to avoid its first four-game slide of 2008-09.
The Stars (24-19-7) had their season-high five-game winning streak snapped on Thursday, 3-2 at Colorado. It was Dallas' first loss since a 4-2 defeat at Tampa Bay on Jan. 19.
"We expect more from this group," said Stars coach Dave Tippett, whose team plays 10 of its next 12 at home. "Let's jump right back on. We've got a tough team coming in tomorrow night. Points are still of the utmost importance. It doesn't matter where you get them."
Lately, Dallas has been getting plenty of points from Steve Ott. The sixth-year center extended his point streak to six games with a first-period goal. Ott has four goals and four assists during this stretch.
"We know the standard we need to be playing at, and that's what we've got to bring at home," Ott said.
The Stars play their next four at American Airlines Arena where they've gone 11-2-1 since losing four straight from Nov. 13-28. The Rangers, meanwhile, have dropped three straight on the road, getting shut out twice during this span.
Loui Eriksson scored his team-leading 25th goal at 8:02 of the third period Thursday, but Marty Turco allowed the game-winner to Cody McLeod less than five minutes later.
"Feeling sorry for ourselves is not what we're all about," Turco said. "It's putting our best foot forward the next night."
Turco made 28 saves in the Stars' 2-1 win at Madison Square Garden on Oct. 20.
New York (29-18-5) looks to snap a three-game skid following Tuesday's 2-1 shootout loss to lowly Atlanta. Markus Naslund beat Kari Lehtonen with 10.7 seconds left to send the game to overtime, snapping the Rangers' 125-minute, 54-second scoreless streak.
New York outshot the Thrashers 40-22, and had eight more shots than Boston in Saturday's 1-0 loss.
"In our last two games we've outchanced our opponents significantly," Rangers coach Tom Renney said. "What we have to do is stick with it."
Scoring goals hasn't just been a recent problem. While New York has only three total goals during its current 0-2-1 skid, the Rangers have been shut out four times this season and are averaging just 2.40 goals - 28th in the NHL.
"This is not our first hurdle this year - we've handled it pretty well," Renney said. "I think this team's got what it takes in terms of the fiber and the fabric to correct itself and get winning. We have 30 games left, there's 60 points to get. We want to get as many of them as we can get."
All-Star goalie Henrik Lundqvist made 21 saves against Atlanta, but allowed shootout goals to Bryan Little and Slava Kozlov.
"It's really frustrating for me," said Lundqvist, 1-2-0 with a 2.35 GAA in his career against Dallas. "I really want to be there to get the extra point. It was just two really good shots."
Dallas is 4-1-0 with a tie in its last six home games versus New York.