OTTAWA - Two days after one of their poorest efforts of the year, the Stars rebounded with a steady and sturdy showing to grab a much-needed road win in Canada's capital.
Brenden Morrow snapped a third-period tie, and backup goalie Andrew Raycroft made 18 saves to give Dallas a well-deserved 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place on Wednesday night.
The win snapped Dallas' four-game road losing skid, and also put the breaks on a less than fruitful seven-game span in which they won just twice.
The Stars' last road win was a 4-1 victory over Florida over a month ago, and well before the Halloween pumpkins were carved.
"It was almost a perfect road game," Raycroft said. "We didn't give them many chances, and I was able to get in front of a couple and not really give anything bad up."
Trevor Daley also scored for the Stars, who were far more inspired 48 hours after a deflating 4-1 defeat at Toronto.
"We haven't won in a month on the road, and that's unacceptable for this team," Daley said. "We had sleds on our feet in Toronto, and tonight was a new night."
Raycroft was making just his third start of the season, and fourth appearance overall. He helped preserve the win with a sparkling save with five minutes to go in the third, stopping a glorious chance on a pass intended for Ottawa's Chris Neil that eventually wound up ricocheting off defenseman Stephane Robidas' skate just outside the crease.
"We got some good goaltending, we took advantage of our scoring chances, and Brenden got a big goal for us in the third," forward Jamie Benn said. "It was a gritty win, and that's what we need on the road. You have to have hard-working wins on the road."
Raycroft improved to 2-1-0 on the year to help move the Stars to 4-5-0 away from home.
"It's always encouraging when your backup can go in and play that well," coach Marc Crawford said. "We won the right way tonight. If we would have buried our chances it might have been a little bit easier, but sometimes to struggle to win maybe makes it that much sweeter."
The Stars came in focused after a rigid practice on Tuesday, and set the tone by taking six shots during the game's first seven minutes. Their forecheck was strong all night long, and they suffocated Ottawa when the Senators came into the defensive zone.
"To persevere and play well defensively is very good for our club," Crawford said.
Ryan Shannon scored, and Pascal Leclaire finished with 24 saves for the Senators, who've now lost four times in their last five games.
"As the game went on it seemed like it was going both ways," Raycroft said. "There was a lot of neutral zone play, and we clogged it up pretty good."
The Stars played without defenseman Mark Fistric, who sustained a groin injury during Tuesday's practice when he crashed into the boards after getting tangled up with Toby Petersen.
Morrow snapped in his ninth of the year just 73 seconds into the third period for what proved to be the winner. From along the right boards Mike Ribeiro was able to feed Morrow, whose quick shot from the inner edge of the right circle eluded Leclaire.
After a scoreless first period, Dallas broke through when Daley potted his second of the season 6:14 into the second period to grab a 1-0 advantage. The defenseman joined in on a Stars rush that turned into a 4-on-3, and after receiving a pass in the high slot from Brad Richards let a wicked wrist shot go that went into the top-right corner.
The Senators tied it on a fluky goal by Shannon with 3:31 left in the second to make it 1-1. From the right point, the diminutive forward flicked a harmless-looking shot towards the net, but the puck bounced before knuckling in past a befuddled Raycroft.
Morrow had a chance to give the Stars the lead at the second-period break when he went in alone on Leclaire after picking up a loose puck at the Ottawa blue line along the right boards with 35 seconds to go. But the puck wouldn't settle for the Stars captain, and he buried his chance into Leclaire's stomach.
The Stars return home for a Friday night encounter with the St. Louis Blues (7:30, FS-SW) at American Airlines Center before the two teams play again on Saturday in St. Louis to complete the home-and-home set.
-- Defenseman Jeff Woywitka was inserted into the lineup for Fistric, and played in just his fourth game of the season. Forward Brian Sutherby and defenseman Severin Blindenbacher were the other scratches. Blindenbacher was recalled from Texas of the AHL on Tuesday.
-- Woywitka registered his first point of the season with an assist on Daley's goal.
-- Forward Loui Eriksson and Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson are good friends and skate together in the summer. "He's a slippery player," Alfredsson said about his fellow Swede. "He's really good around the net. It seems like he has magnets on his shin pads and skates because the puck always seems to find him."
-- Forward James Neal played despite having a laceration on his leg sustained in Monday's loss in Toronto.
-- Raycroft allowed five goals in his last appearance in a loss at Colorado on Nov. 6, but posted a shutout in his first start of the year against Buffalo in October.
-- Daley's goal was the first by a defenseman since Robidas' tally against Pittsburgh on Nov. 3, a span of nine games.
-- Forward Krystofer Barch left the game and didn't return after playing five shifts in the first period.
-- The Stars improved to 6-2-0 against Eastern Conference foes.
-- Dallas was 0-for-4 on the power play, and has converted just one of 31 man-advantage opportunities on the road this season.
-- The Stars had been outscored by a 16-4 margin during their four-game road winless stretch.