The Vancouver Canucks have proven their dominance over Alberta's two teams during a season-high four-game win streak. Their next test should be even more difficult.
The surging Canucks look to post a rare victory against Marty Turco when the Dallas Stars visit GM Place on Wednesday.
Facing division rivals four times in the span of a week is a difficult assignment, but the Canucks (21-18-1) emerged from that stretch with four impressive wins.
They swept a home-and-home series from the Flames on Dec. 26-27 before coasting to a 6-2 home victory over Edmonton on Saturday. Vancouver held on for a 3-2 win Tuesday at Calgary as Roberto Luongo made 13 of his 27 saves in the third period.
The Canucks are one point behind Northwest Division-leading Minnesota and one ahead of the third-place Flames. All five teams in the division are separated by four points.
"I think we've been playing pretty solid hockey lately and everyone's stepping up," left wing Alex Burrows told the team's official Web site. "We've been playing solid in the first period and that's been the key."
Burrows put the Canucks ahead 3-1 on Tuesday with his first goal in 48 games.
Vancouver hasn't won five straight since a six-game run from Oct. 14-25, 2005, but extending the streak won't be easy with Turco in net.
Turco has been brilliant in his career against the Canucks, going 12-2-0 with two shutout wins and a 1.69 goals-against average. He has allowed five goals during a personal four-game win streak against Vancouver.
Winning twice in Calgary was no small achievement considering the Flames had won a franchise-record 10 in a row at Pengrowth Saddledome before Vancouver ended that run last week.
This game marks the opener of a four-game homestand for the Canucks, who have scored 20 goals during a five-game win streak at GM Place. Vancouver has 18 goals in its last four games overall after totaling nine in the previous five contests.
Captain Markus Naslund had an assist in the win, but failed to score a goal for the 15th consecutive game, his longest drought since going 18 in a row during the 1996-97 season.
The Stars (25-15-0) started slowly against San Jose on Sunday and were unable to recover in a 4-2 loss.
Dallas was outscored 4-1 and outshot 17-7 in the first 20 minutes. Turco allowed three goals on 10 shots before he was replaced by Mike Smith 9:05 into the game.
"We knew they were going to play a desperate game," Stars coach Dave Tippett said. "This was our fourth game in six nights and we got behind the eight ball early."
Dallas was missing several top forwards, and that could be the case again Wednesday when it opens a four-game road trip.
Out of the lineup with injuries were captain Brenden Morrow (wrist) and centers Eric Lindros (upper body) and Mike Modano (hip/groin). Center Stu Barnes also left Sunday's game in the second period with stomach flu.
"We've battled more adversity than we ever did last year," Tippett said. "And I think that will make us better in the long run."
The void left by Modano remains the hardest to fill. The Stars have gone 7-6-0 in the 13 games the face of the franchise has missed with hip and groin injuries.
These teams have split two meetings this season with each winning 2-1 at home. Dallas had won four straight in the series before losing at Vancouver on Nov. 6.