The Pacific Division-leading Dallas Stars have been scoring at will lately, and a big trade appears to have made them even more potent offensively.
Hours after acquiring forward and goaltender Johan Holmqvist from Tampa Bay, Dallas looks to continue rolling when it concludes its season series with the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday.
|Brad Richards and Johan Holmqvist are the newest faces of the Dallas Stars.
The Stars (39-22-5) have won 11 of their last 13 games to pull within six points of Detroit for the highest total in the league. They drew closer to the Red Wings by scoring 11 times in winning their last two contests.
Dallas defeated Edmonton 5-2 on Friday and won 6-3 at Nashville the following night, as Mike Ribeiro and Brenden Morrow each had four points against the Predators.
Ribeiro's two goals Saturday were part of a three-goal outburst on only nine shots in the second period.
"We are not staying back right now," Morrow told the Predators' official Web site. "We are playing aggressively and dictating play, which are positive signs for this hockey club."
Another positive sign was the bold trade for Richards and Holmqvist that came before Tuesday's trade deadline. Richards was the Lightning's fourth-leading scorer with 51 points (18 goals, 33 assists) in 62 games, and the talented forward should bolster one of the Stars' top two lines.
Holmqvist was the starter in Tampa Bay, going 20-16-6 with a 3.01 goals-against average, and will back up Marty Turco with the Stars. Dallas sent goalie Mike Smith, forwards Jussi Jokinen and Jeff Halpern and a draft pick to the Lightning in the deal.
While the Stars await Richards' arrival, Morrow and Ribeiro look to keep Dallas hot offensively. Morrow has two goals and four assists in the last two games after going without a point in the previous three. The Stars captain has 26 goals to tie Ribeiro for the team lead.
Ribeiro has five goals and seven assists in nine career games against St. Louis (28-24-10), including six points in three meetings - two wins - this season. Ribeiro scored once and assisted on two other goals - one by Morrow - in the last matchup with the Blues, a 6-2 home victory for Dallas on Feb. 9.
The Stars, though, haven't fared well in St. Louis recently. They've lost four consecutive games there, including a 4-2 defeat on Jan. 10.
Dallas will look to Turco to help them snap that skid. The goalie, rested in favor of Smith on Saturday, is 8-2-0 with a 1.89 GAA and a shutout in his last 10 starts. Turco, though, posted a 2.99 GAA in dropping his last two games at Scottrade Center.
The Blues are looking to avoid a fourth consecutive loss after an 0-2-1 road trip. St. Louis was outscored 9-2 on the trip, which concluded Sunday with a 2-0 defeat to Phoenix.
"It's as simple as that," Blues goaltender Manny Legace said. "You're not going to win hockey games if you're not scoring goals."
Legace, who had 18 saves against the Coyotes, is likely to be back in net Tuesday despite losing each game of the current skid. He has won his last three starts against Dallas, posting a shutout and a 1.34 GAA.
Blues goal-scoring leader Brad Boyes was held without a point on the trip and has managed only two goals in the last 10 games. He scored twice in a 4-2 home win over Dallas on Jan. 10.