A weary Dallas Stars team left Edmonton with a point Friday night but have dropped two of their last three games for their first mini-slump of the season.
A good problem to have in December, no doubt, but one they'll endeavor to pull out of tonight as the Carolina Hurricanes come calling at the American Airlines Center. The Stars got three days of rest after the four-game swing and now hope to avoid the classic slumping first game back home-
"We gave them a little more rest than we normally do," Ruff said of his team Monday. "Hopefully, that will work. I like the jump we had in practice so I think the extra day was a big deal. I think the scenario is a little different this time."
Dallas lost to Toronto and Florida at home after their other two long road trips this season.
Dallas beat the Hurricanes on the road earlier this year despite getting out-shot and look to to continue their dominance over the East. Their 11-4-0 mark is best in the West against the Eastern Conference, and only Montreal has more wins against the league's lesser half.
Despite the time off the Stars will still be without the services of Jason Demers, who they have missed dearly when not in the lineup. He is skating but is not yet ready to return.
The Hurricanes don't appear to be all that good.
Their score adjusted Corsi % is top-ten in the league, however, and their shooting percentage is quite low- Suggestive of a team that has been quite unlucky this year to-date, and one that has received the kind of goaltending Dallas did last season.
So Stars fans can relate. They should also know what the Hurricanes and their poor record are capable of. The Montreal Canadiens found out over the weekend in their quest to continue leading the National Hockey League as Carolina reared up and beat them 3-2 before laying five goals on the Coyotes on the second night of a back-to-back.
They have talent. They can score. They ordinarily out-shoot their opponents, as they did Dallas 31-28 on November 6th almost exactly a month ago. They're the best faceoff team in the league. Perhaps more importantly on the other end they allow just 25.7 shots per game, which is the best mark in the entire league.
Overall they've earned points in eight of their last twelve games.
Their lineup, or something like it:
From Stars PR:
ROCK ME LIKE A HURRICANE
The Dallas Stars return to American Airlines Center after a four-game Western Conference road trip to face the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night. The Stars play their second and final contest of the season against the Hurricanes, who have lost 10 of their last 12 games in the Lone Star State. Dallas defeated Carolina, 4-1, in the first meeting of the season on Nov. 6. Eight different Stars skaters inked the score sheet that evening including a season-best two-point outing (0-2=2) from forward Colton Sceviour. Defenseman Jason Demers (1-0=1) and forwards Patrick Sharp (1-0=1) and Ales Hemsky (1-0=1) added goals in the Dallas victory. Since the 2008-09 season, the Stars have a 8-3-0 overall mark against their foe from the Eastern Conference.
BENN THERE, DONE THAT
Stars captain Jamie Benn leads the NHL with 18 goals this season and is tied for second with 35 points (18-17=35).
The native of Victoria, B.C. has points in two of his last three games against the Hurricanes (1-2=3) and has points in four of his last six games against them (4-4=8). Over the course of his NHL career, he has played in 10 games against Carolina and has posted 11 points (6-5=11). Benn has has tallied at least one point in 20 of the first 27 games this season and has now recorded a point in 32 of his last 42 games (30-30=60) dating back to last season. Since being named captain before the start of the 2013-14 season, Benn has tallied at least one point in 125 of 190 games (86-114=201), the most games with a point of any NHL skater over that span.