The Central Division-leading Dallas Stars hope to find some offense following a much-needed three-day break heading into a Wednesday night home game against the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Stars have scored just five goals during a losing streak that reached four games with a 4-1 loss to the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday. Dallas has just two regulation wins in its past nine games (2-2-5) and is clinging to a one-point lead over the second-place Winnipeg Jets in the Central.
“I don’t know what to say,” said center Radek Faksa, who hasn’t scored a point in four games since a 4-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Feb. 8. “Sometimes it’s like that for a few games. It happens to every team that you have a little tough stretch of games. That’s what is happening to us right now a little bit.”
Dallas left winger Mason Marchment hasn’t scored in 27 games while center Joe Pavelski is on a 13-game goal drought. Center Tyler Seguin has one point, an assist, over the past 10 games.
“We have some guys who are squeezing (the stick) a little bit, feeling the pressure of either extended slumps or not scoring,” Dallas coach Peter DeBoer said. “You’re going to have to find ways to overcome. You’re going to have to find a way to overcome (a) back-to-back, a tough schedule and some travel and an early start and a couple of overturned goals. We’ve got to overcome those things.”
The four-game losing streak began with a 3-1 home loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning that was followed by a 3-2 overtime loss to the Boston Bruins. The Stars then dropped a 2-1 shootout at Minnesota on Friday and before falling to the last-place Blue Jackets on Saturday.
“We didn’t have it (Saturday),” said Ty Dellandrea, who scored the lone Dallas goal against Columbus. “I think effort, executing our game plan was just not good enough. It’s unacceptable this time of year, and with the standings, we have to win those games.”
Chicago is in last place in the Central Division but is riding a three-game winning streak following a 3-2 shootout victory over the Pacific Division-leading Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday night.
After Vegas defenseman Alex Pietrangelo picked up a delay-of-game penalty for firing the puck into the stands, Tyler Johnson scored the tying goal on a six-on-four power play with 55 seconds left in regulation. Johnson also scored the game-winner in the shootout when he fired a wrist shot through the pads of Vegas goalie Laurent Brossoit at the end of the third round for the only goal of the tiebreaking competition.
“Tyler plays so hard, and he does all the right things for us,” Chicago coach Luke Richardson said. “It was great to see him get that opportunity to tie it up and then have that chance in (the shootout).”
Johnson said of his game-tying slap shot from the top of the slot that whistled past Brossoit’s glove, “Kaner (Patrick Kane) just found me in the slot there. You kind of dream of those shots. Those are the ones you want to hit.”
Johnson’s goal ended an 0-for-22 drought on the power play for Chicago. Cole Guttman scored a goal for the second straight game for the Blackhawks while Petr Mrazek made 34 saves.
A win over Dallas would match the longest winning streak of the season for Chicago, which won four in a row from Oct. 15-25.
–Field Level Media