After scoring just one goal in his first 19 games this season, Stars forward Erik Cole has picked up the pace recently.
Cole, who had one goal and two assists in Thursday’s 4-1 win over Vancouver at American Airlines Center, has scored four goals over his last nine games.
“Erik has been consistent,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “I think if you look at his points over the last ten games, it’s about where we need him. Tonight he really skated well, physical he was good. He got a puck on net that found a way to way to go in, and he made a heck of a play to Val [Nichushkin] on that goal. He’s a big man that is hard to control. When he is skating, he is a powerful body out there for us.”
Cole sees the goal he scored at Vancouver on Nov. 17 as a turning point for him this season. That snapped a 17-goal scoring drought. That helped put Cole on a stretch that has seen him pick up 10 points (five goals, five assists) over the last 15 games.
“I played through an injury for a while. Some other guys were going and I wasn’t really able to get back up the lineup,” Cole said. “Even now it’s kind of been up and down, but I feel like I can contribute and play a bigger role. Hopefully, it can continue and I can help take some of the load off our top guys.”
Quotable: Lindy Ruff on the Stars’ consecutive wins
“We are trying to treat our home fans to a Merry Christmas. I think the one thing is the energy in the building has been getting better and better. We’ve talked about being a better team here at home. I think the last two games the way we’ve played is the way we need to play. We need to pay attention to playing well in our own end. I think these last two games we were a fun team to watch. We were great on the rush, but sometimes we take the play away from the puck a little bit for granted at home. I really want our team to build off that. These last two games have been a little bit of a present for our fans. We’d like to wish all our fans a Merry Christmas, too.”
*The Stars are 3-1-0 in their last four home games and 4-1-2 over the last seven at American Airlines Center.
*The Stars have won consecutive games for the first time since Nov. 13-17 when they won three in a row.
*The Stars are 7-2-1 vs. the Pacific Division.
*Colton Sceviour has scored three goals in four games since being recalled from the AHL.
*Valeri Nichushkin has 10 points (4 goals, 6 assists) over the last 9 games.
*The Stars were 4-4 on the penalty kill and 0-3 on the power play.
*The Canucks outshot the Stars 28-26. Alex Goligoski led the Stars with 4 shots on goal.
*Goligoski led the Stars in ice time with 25:58.
*Cameron Gaunce was a game-high plus-three.
*The Stars won 23 of 51 (45 percent of faceoffs). Jamie Benn won 5 of 7. Rich Peverley won 7 of 15. Cody Eakin and Tyler Seguin both won 3 of 9.
Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin –Valeri Nichushkin
Antoine Roussel – Cody Eakin – Ryan Garbutt
Whitney – Horcoff – Chiasson
Cole – Peverley – Sceviour
Alex Goligoski – Brenden Dillon
Jordie Benn – Sergei Gonchar
Kevin Connauton – Cameron Gaunce
Kari Lehtonen (starter)
Injured: Vernon Fiddler (upper body), Aaron Rome (lower body), Trevor Daley (ankle), Stephane Robidas (leg)
Scratched: Dustin Jeffrey, Maxime Fortunus
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.