Loui Eriksson's strong start has been one of the few bright spots for the Dallas Stars this season.
The third-year forward looks to continue his solid play while trying to help the Stars to a third straight victory when they visit the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night.
Eriksson recorded his first career hat trick in Dallas' 6-5 shootout victory over Columbus on Thursday for its sixth victory in nine contests. The 23-year-old has scored five of his team-leading and career-high 17 goals in his last two games for a Dallas (13-14-4) team that has been plagued by injuries to key players like Brenden Morrow, Sergei Zubov and Jere Lehtinen.
"He's one of those guys who you look to do the job, and he comes through no matter what," Stars coach Dave Tippett said of Eriksson. "We had him penciled in for 20-plus (goals). We knew he had the potential and he's doing a heck of a job. He's had timely goals that have given us life."
The left winger had 20 goals in 128 games during his first two seasons, but is making the most of his scoring opportunities for a club that is last in the Pacific Division with 30 points.
"I'm trying to be more (in front of the net) and the puck is going in right now," Eriksson said.
Brad Richards had a goal with three assists while Mike Ribeiro added two assists against Columbus as the Stars tied their season high for goals. Richards has seven points in his last nine games versus Ottawa.
Marty Turco made 23 saves against the Blue Jackets and improved to 12-12-4 with a 3.28 goals-against average in winning his third straight game. He is 3-0-0 with a 2.21 GAA against the Senators, including a 2-0 win over them on Dec. 15, 2005 in the teams' most recent meeting in Ottawa.
This will be the first meeting between the teams since Ottawa won 4-2 in Dallas last December.
While Dallas is among the lowest scoring teams in the Western Conference with 86 goals, Ottawa (11-14-5) is last in the NHL with 68.
The Senators fell 5-1 at New Jersey on Friday for their second consecutive loss and fifth in six games. Jarkko Ruutu scored his third goal for the Senators, who have been outscored 16-5 during their last five contests.
Senators coach Craig Hartsburg split up his top line of Dany Heatley, Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza, but none of them registered a point.
"It's about the attitude and having to work for everything we are going to get," Hartsburg said. "I thought we worked harder, but obviously, it's not enough. We can't accept it. We've got to keep pushing forward to get better."
Heatley is the team's leading scorer with 14 goals and 14 assists, but has failed to record a point in five consecutive games. He has a goal and four assists in six games versus Dallas.
Alex Auld made 21 saves against the Devils and was back in goal for Ottawa after Martin Gerber started three of the last four. Auld, who is 9-7-4 on the season, has lost his last five starts against Dallas, while Gerber - 2-6-1 with a 2.56 GAA in 2008-09, is 2-1-1 with two ties and a 1.77 GAA versus the Stars.