The Dallas Stars were tied with the Minnesota Wild after two periods on Saturday afternoon. They had played their way to even against the Chicago Blackhawks Sunday evening. Yet as it has all season long, the third period in each case just proved to be too much as Lindy Ruff's bunch went pointless on a back-to-back set this weekend.
At 13 goals against in the first period the Stars are actually hovering around the upper-third in the league at 11th fewest. Their second periods? 17 against, which is very middle-of-the-pac.
Then there's everything after 40 minutes.
The 27 goals against the third periods, plus the three against in overtimes makes them the most scored upon team in the entire league after the game's first two frames.
The third period, coincidentally, is the Carolina Hurricane's best frame offensively this season- Though it has amounted (thus far, mind you) to just 13 tallies in 17 tries, barely besting a total of 11 in the first and 12 in the second.
That amounts to just 2.18 goals per game for the Hurricanes, yet their 5-9-3 record is really not all that disimilar from Dallas' 6-8-4 mark, having lost 12 of 18, including seven of eight here at American Airlines Center.
All in all, perhaps not a "marquee matchup" this evening- But perhaps an opportunity for Dallas after a weekend full of shortcomings, again, against the Central. The Stars now lead the league in losses against their own division with seven, tied with the Oilers, who can't figure the Pacific out either.
Tonight. 7:30pm CST. Fox Sports Southwest.
According to DallasStars.com, "The Stars have won six straight at home against the Hurricanes and are 10-0-1 against Carolina in the last 11 games in Dallas."
So they've got that going for them.
This matchup is unique, however, for reasons about which neither side would likely care to chat: It's the worst home record in the league in some time versus what is so far the worst road record in 2014-2015.
So something's got to give. Probably.
Meanwhile, there are no lines or defensive combinations to report from practice, because there hasn't been any. Not Saturday. Not Sunday. Not Monday. There won't be until Wendesday and to quote Razor, that kind of schedule "erodes" systems coaches are trying to put in place.
There was a little bit of news after Kevin Connauton was placed on waivers, evidently- Opening the way, seemingly, for a Jyrki Jokipakka call-up as the future of the Stars' defensive depth continues to be... now.
Val Nichushkin, of course, is out tonight and until about when Game of Thrones starts on HBO, for those of you who have been living under a rock.
Kari Lehtonen likely starts.
The Hurricanes have been down. And then up. And now down again.
They began with suffering, dropping eight in a row to start the season (0-6-2), allowing a brutal 31 goals in that span (4.43 per game), including a four-game road trip out West (WPG, CGY, EDM, VAN).
Then a resurrection better than anything Dallas has seen thus far- A 5-0-1 stretch that included good wins over the Coyotes, Kings, Blue Jackets, Blue Jackets and Flames, so they'll rear up and beat a Western Conference team on you. Their offense was consistent throughout the stretch, never dipping below three goals, while the defense tightened up significantly allowing just 11 in 6 games.
Now they've lost three in a row, scoring just twice in that span.
So which version do the Stars get tonight? They can be a good offensive team. They've proven to be stingy at times. Like the Stars, they're searching for a way to put it all together. Their special teams skew average, to slightly better than average.
They've been out-scored at even-strength pretty badly, but their Fenwick % is 12th in the league at over 51%, and their Corsi number is also up there. So the puck possession is there.
Alarming note: They out-shot the San Jose Sharks 45-19 the other day while playing the second game of a back-to-back (though somehow managed to lose). They out-shot the Blue Jackets 37-19 two weeks ago.
Comforting note: They've won just once on the road this season.
Cam Ward hasn't given up more than two goals in each of last seven starts. Jordan Staal is out. Alex Semin may return tonight from an upper-body injury.