DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars are currently on a five-game winless streak, which is rare territory in recent history. In fact, the Stars haven't lost six in a now in regulation since the 1995-96 team was outscored 28-13 in a six-game skid between Dec. 5 and Dec. 15, 1995.
The downturn started with a 6-4 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Jan. 2 at American Airlines Center. The Stars' last win was Dec. 31 when they defeated the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 to end 2013 on a high note.
In addition to the loss to the Canadiens, the Stars fell 5-1 to the Detroit Red Wings on Jan. 4 to end a five-game homestand at 2-2-1. During a recent three-game road trip through New York City, Dallas lost 7-3 at the New York Islanders on Monday, 1-0 at the New Jersey Devils on Thursday and 3-2 at the New York Rangers on Friday at Madison Square Garden.
Despite not arriving in Dallas until early Saturday morning, Stars coach Lindy Ruff held practice at the team's Frisco headquarters, although the session started several hours later than normal.
"I am responsible for picking them up and keeping their hope tank full," Ruff told the club's official website Saturday. "This isn't the time to go around and look for every little mistake in the game. We evaluate the game. We see where we could have been better. We made some adjustments out of the Jersey game that I thought the guys really bought into for the Ranger game. We're not quite there, but it was a game we could have won."
The good news is the Stars get a quick chance at redemption when the Islanders make their lone visit of the regular season on Sunday, a game with a puck drop of 5 p.m. local time.
Due to the earlier start time, neither team held a morning skate Sunday.
Here are the projected lineups:
Thomas Vanek – John Tavares – Kyle Okposo
Josh Bailey – Frans Nielsen – Brock Nelson
Michael Grabner – Ryan Strome – Cal Clutterbuck
Matt Martin – Casey Cizikas – Colin MacDonald
Brian Strait – Andrew MacDonald
Calvin de Haan – Travis Hamonic
Matt Donovan – Thomas Hickey
Injured: Radek Martinek (back spasms), Evgeni Nabokov (lower body), Lubomir Visnovsky (concussion).
Scratched: Eric Boulton, Matt Carkner, Peter Regin
Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Erik Cole
Antoine Roussel - Cody Eakin – Ryan Garbutt
Ray Whitney – Vernon Fiddler – Rich Peverley
Valeri Nichushkin – Shawn Horcoff – Alex Chiasson
Alex Goligoski – Trevor Daley
Brenden Dillon - Jordie Benn
Kevin Connauton – Sergei Gonchar
Injured: Stephane Robidas (leg)
Scratched: Dustin Jeffrey, Aaron Rome