Only two teams in the Western Conference have allowed more goals than the Stars this season (81), and it just so happens they're the next two opponents on Dallas' schedule as Glen Gulutzan's group goes about the business of trying to forget what happened at the American Airlines Center Saturday night.
The 8-1 shellacking the Chicago Blackhawks gave Dallas was the team's worst loss ever at the AAC, and Jamie Benn had some choice words after the defeat.
"We [expletive] on our first goalie and we [expletive] on our second goalie," Benn explained. "We left them hanging out to dry and it's unacceptable. We need to do something within this room to change that. It's an unacceptable effort tonight."
That the Flames have allowed so many goals this season seemingly bodes well for a Dallas team that has scored just two goals so far during a four-game home stand that wraps up tonight, but the Stars know well what Calgary can do at the other end as the Flames have scored 11 goals in two regulation wins over Dallas this season.
Calgary enters on a two-game win streak, both at home, but are 0-5-1 in their las six on the road (as was Nashville when they came to town last Tuesday).
The puck drops tonight just after 7:30pm CST on Fox Sports Southwest PLUS.
Jamie Benn and Ray Whitney both missed practice on Sunday in Farmers Branch as the training staff and coaches continue to take care with the wrist and foot injuries, respectively.
"He'll be able to play," Gulutzan said of Benn Sunday. "It's no worse than it was, so he'll be able to play. But, at the end of the day, we're going to have to make some decision on if we need to get him a couple of more days."
The schedule gets no less compacted this week as the Stars leave Dallas for a back-to-back set in Colorado and Los Angeles, so it will be interesting to see where they get Benn an extra day if he needs it. Mike Heika reported yesterday that Benn received a numbing shot that allowed him to play with the wrist problem, though he logged only 13:22.
As for what the Stars need to do better than they did Saturday night, there's quite a selection. Turnovers and discipline have been topics of stinky conversation lately, but a good offensive performance could be a good deodorant. Dallas has scored just three totals goals in their last 12 periods of play.
Lines on Saturday night started out like this:
Brenden Dillon led the team in even-strength ice time against Chicago and was only a -1 on the night. Derek Roy was the only Star to not record a negative plus/minus rating Saturday.
Kari Lehtonen should start this one. What happens on the back-to-back with the Kings being the second opponent is anyone's guess at this point.
Calgary is coming off hot offensive performances against the Red Wings and Predators, both wins. They notched six in their last outing against Nashville, a team that the Stars could not solve a single time at home last week in a 4-0 loss.
On the other hand, they've scored just eight total goals in their last six road games (1.33 per) leading up to this one (0-5-1) including consecutive road losses to the Kings last week, and a shutout in Anaheim.
They allowed the Stars just three power play opportunities here on February 17th, and have been stingier still as of late away from home: They've been shorthanded just twice, total, in their last three road games.
Joey McDonald, the winning goaltender against Bachman on February 17th, is expected to get the start tonight as Kiprusoff tends to a personal issue. The win in Dallas was one of only three for McDonald on the season, though he owns a .900 save percentage on the year now.
The Calgary Herald is covering the team's well documented road woes...
"I really don't know the answer," Lee Stempniak said of the difference between here and there. "I wish we could put our finger on it and bring it with us on the road. But it seems like we have a better start (at home) and get the lead. I think that helps us out, where we're able to feel good about ourselves and carry that momentum forward."
"You can (get some traction), for sure," said Blake Comeau. "We've talked about it in the room. We can't have one win, one loss, one win, one loss. That's not going to get us into the playoffs. We have to string some wins together and climb the ladder. We've got to have a better road trip."
For sure, the team's established pattern must soon end. Two wins at home - then overtime loss in Minnesota, loss in Denver. Two more wins at home - then losses in Anaheim and Los Angeles, twice. Now two more wins at home - then, well, that's up to them.
Injuries: , Mikael Backlund (lower body), Paul Byron (upper body) and Sven Baertschi (hip) are likely out, though reports Sunday make Backlund sound like a possibility. Miikka Kiprusoff is schedule to miss this one for the birth of a child.