The Dallas Stars earned their fourth straight win on the season last night, defeating Edmonton 4-1 at Rexall and improving moving their record over the last six over all to 5-1-0 as they continue to surge back into playoff contention in the West.
Brenden Dillon fired a puck off an Oiler leg, off the Oiler end-boards and then off Devan Dubnyk's nameplate for the big second period equalizer, and Eric Nystrom scored in similar fashion when he turned and rifled one toward the net from the blue line that took an odd turn off RNH's glove to give the Stars the lead for good. Insurance would come from Jaromir Jagr and Ryan Garbutt to make the scoreboard counter-indicative of a game that was tied through 50 minutes, and one that the Stars easily could have lost if not for Kari Lehtonen.
Dallas has out-scored their opponents 13-6 in the four-game stretch, scoring four goals last night for the first time since opening night against Phoenix at home. After potting just four total goals in their first five road games the Stars have lit the lamp 10 times in their last 3 away from the AAC.
"It was nice confidence-wise for Fiddler's line to get a couple points tonight," said Glen Gulutzan after the win. "I know Fids had a couple assists tonight. It's good for morale and the guys were hooting and hollering, calling those guys out and having some fun. When you get that secondary scoring it can only benefit."
Calgary has had two days off to stew in a 2-1 shootout loss at home to the Wild on Monday night. They await Dallas with a 3-4-3 record on the season. Dallas took three of four from the Flames last year, including one at the Saddledome.
The puck drops tonight at 8:30pm CST on Fox Sports Southwest PLUS.
Dallas will hope to continue their on-the-road scoring trend tonight in Calgary, but must defeat the elephant in the room as their 1-14-2 stretch on the second night of back-to-backs over the last two season once again rears its ugly head.
"Do I know the number? Yeah, I think we all do," backup netminder Richard Bachman told media Tuesday. "But as far as back-to-back, I don't think about it. It's not going to change how I perform or how I play. I want to win every game I play, so that's how I approach each game."
Netminding has not been the Stars' chief problem on the second night of these sets - goal scoring has. Dallas has recorded only a single goal in 12 periods (3 games on the second night of back-to-backs) this season.
Chief among Glen Gulutzan's concerns will be starting better, as Dallas was grossly out-chanced and out-possessed through much of the first 40 minutes in Edmonton last night.
"They were real quick to pucks and they were on us right from the start," said Gulutzan, "especially during that second period. We held in there, we got some big saves and we got in the game with a fortuitous bounce."
Inserting Ryan Garbutt into the lineup proved serendipitous as the Fiddler trio enjoyed what was by far their best night on the year. As such, lines could remain the same in Calgary, though Tom Wandell and Antoine Roussel wait in the wings with fresh legs.
Calgary hasn't been as bad as they're made out to be. They scored 23 goals in a 7 game stretch (3.29 goals per game) recently, earning points in five of those, and took the two best teams in the conference (Chicago and Vancouver) to overtime along the way. So they're competitive at the least and ready to break through, though their record would indicate otherwise.
Currently they're nursing a two-game losing streak, having scored only a single goal in each of their last two outings (@Vancouver, home to Minnesota).
Calgary is dealing with the loss of franchise netminder Miikka Kiprusoff, out with a sprained knee ligament.
"Kipper's not coming back for two more weeks," Flames GM Jay Feaster told media Tuesday. "There's an awful lot of time. We have a lot of games to play in the next two weeks."
What they're left with is 24 year-old Leland Irving, who is 1-1-1 since Kiprusoff went down after beating out Henrik Karlsson in training camp in January. He is their likely starter tonight as the Stars search for their fifth straight win.
According to the Calgary Herald, the Flames lineup could look something like this:
Glencross A. Tanguay J. Iginla
The Flames had been without forward Michael Cammalleri for three games, but he should be ready to return tonight just in time for Dallas' arrival.
"I started feeling really good right before I went out," Cammalleri told media Tuesday. "I thought my last two games before I got hurt there were probably my best two. Hopefully, I can pick up where I left off."
Or hopefully not.