|CAR||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||2|
|DAL||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||3|
The Dallas Stars are on the verge of some unwanted history that is hindering their playoff push.
Hoping to avoid a franchise-record seventh consecutive home loss, the Stars on Thursday night face a Carolina Hurricanes franchise that hasn't won in Dallas in over 13 years.
Since moving back into the thick of the Western Conference playoff race with a 10-3-0 run earlier this year, the Stars (31-28-8) have won only two of their last 10 games (2-7-1). That slide has left them in a three-way tie with Minnesota and Anaheim for ninth in the West, one point behind the final playoff spot.
Most disturbing is Dallas' dismal offense, which has scored only seven goals during the six-game home skid while going 3-for-33 on the power play.
The six-game slide matches the longest in franchise history, set in 1970 when the team was the Minnesota North Stars.
A 1-for-10 performance on the power play contributed to the Stars' latest home defeat, 3-1 to Montreal on Sunday. That unit struggled again at St. Louis on Tuesday, scoring once in six opportunities en route to a 5-2 loss.
Marty Turco was replaced midway through the first period against the Blues after allowing three goals on eight shots.
"(The playoff race is) amazingly tight, but for us, it is so much more disappointing when you lose because you know you are losing ground," Turco told the Stars' official Web site. "Unfortunately, it is probably easier to fall out of the pack than gain ground so we have to get back to getting points."
Although he hasn't been sharp lately, Turco figures to be back in net Thursday. He is 2-6-1 with a 3.09 goals-against average in his last nine starts, but hasn't been helped by an offense that has averaged 2.2 goals during that span.
Mike Ribeiro and Loui Eriksson are two of the few Stars continuing to produce. Ribeiro has five goals and six assists in his last eight games while Eriksson has five goals and two assists in his last six contests.
Already missing captain Brenden Morrow, top defenseman Sergei Zubov and center Brad Richards, the Stars were also without forwards Jere Lehtinen and Fabian Brunnstrom on Tuesday. Right wing Mark Parrish could be the latest addition to the injury list after he was leveled on a hit by St. Louis' Jay McKee and did not return Tuesday.
The Hurricanes are in a similar position to the Stars, vying with several teams in a crowded playoff race. Carolina is tied with Pittsburgh for sixth in the East - one point behind Montreal and one ahead of Florida.
Dallas hasn't been a very kind place to the Hurricanes, who are 0-4-2 with one tie there since a 5-3 victory by the Hartford Whalers on Feb. 11, 1996.
Bidding for a season-high fifth straight victory, Carolina (36-27-6) instead settled for one point with a 3-2 shootout loss Wednesday night at Chicago.
Rod Brind'Amour scored in the first period and Tuomo Ruutu tallied with 27 seconds left in regulation to help the Hurricanes move to 8-2-1 in their last 11 games.
"You have to keep winning. If you lose, you're going to be out of the playoffs pretty soon," Ruutu said.
Cam Ward had another strong performance Wednesday with 39 saves through overtime. He has surrendered eight goals while going 4-0-1 in his last five starts.
|Mar 12 '09||CAR 2 at DAL 3||B. Morrison|