The Dallas Stars broke a four-game losing streak Friday night against the New Jersey Devils- And not a moment too soon as the race for home ice in the playoffs intensifies in the best division in hockey.
"It was obviously really important," Ruff said of finally getting on the right side of the scoreboard. "I thought we played our hearts out against Detroit and we didn't get it. We had about ten bad minutes in Nashville that really hurt us. I thought we played a great first period in that building. They're trying their damnedest. I think that tonight was a really good step in the right direction."
The victory bought them a temporary reprieve in the standings- Until the Predators took the ice Saturday and claimed two points once again, inching within seven points once again. The Blues and Blackhawks were idle but play tonight.
A win keeps the Stars in first place in the conference- For now. The Anaheim Ducks have won 10 games in a row and sit at 82 points with two fewer games played than Dallas and Chicago with aims on claiming home ice throughout.
So they'll hope it's the start of something good- Except it might have been the start of something quite bad.
John Klingberg went out with a "muscle thing" early in the first period Friday night, leaving his teammates with just five d-men to see things through. Now it seems that he will not join the team on this two-game trip north of the border.
That makes two of the Star's top five d-men on the shelf with Jordie Benn left in Dallas as well. Add Patrick Sharp to the list along with Patrick Eaves and the Stars are really hurting all of a sudden.
Eyeing call-ups... Julius Honka is also on the shelf down in Cedar Park. The injury bug spreads throughout the system.
Stephen Johns is alive and kicking though, evidently...
Johns levels a Moose https://t.co/e1SEBzgNtN— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) March 6, 2016
Officially Klingberg is day-to-day, but without going on the trip can't come back until The Stars' impossibly difficult back-to-back next weekend against Chicago and St. Louis.
Like the Devil the Sens sit five points back of a wild card spot, holding on to hope. Unlike the Devils they've been playing very, very well of late. They've collected points in seven of their last ten games, including a 3-2 win over Toronto yesterday.
Andrew Hammond stopped 41 of 43 Maple Leaf shots in the victory and Zack Smith supplied the game winner to give Ottawa their 31st win on the season.
Though they've been succesful of late they've also given up a plethora of shots over their last five games- 43, 29, 48, 38, and 36 going back to February 25th. On the flip side the Devils' 20 shots on goal allowed by Dallas Friday night was the fewest Ruff's bunch had seen since giving Colorado only 15 on Jan 23- A loss.
The Senator lineup that hung seven on the Stars in Dallas earlier this season with just 20 shots-
From Stars PR:
A PLACE TO STAND, A PLACE TO GROW
The Dallas Stars and Ottawa Senators meet on Sunday afternoon for the second and final time during the 2015-16 regular season. The Stars have won seven of their last eight games against the Senators (7-1-0), including wins in three-straight games (3-0-0) against the Senators in Ottawa and collecting points in six-straight games (4-0-2) away from Dallas against them. In the first meeting of the season on Nov. 24 at American Airlines Center, the Senators won 7-4, and snapped a seven-game losing skid to the Stars. Stars captain Jamie Benn notched three-points (2-1=3) and forward Patrick Sharp recorded two points (1-1=2), with forward Tyler Seguin (1-0=1) adding the other goal for Dallas.
FEELIN' THE VERN
Stars forward Vernon Fiddler tallied a goal (1-0=1) on Friday night against the New Jersey Devils, marking his 100th career goal in the NHL. Fiddler now has goals in three-straight contests (3-1=4), tying his career-best mark for a goal streak (previous: Dec. 21 - 27, 2005 with Nashville, 3-0=3). His three-game point streak also ties his longest of the 2015-16 campaign, which came most recently when he posted points in three-straight games (2-2=4) from Dec. 17 - 21, 2015. The native of Edmonton, Alta. skated in his 800th career NHL contest on Monday night against the Detroit Red Wings and registered two points (1-1=2), including the game-tying goal in the third period to force overtime. In 802 career NHL contests, Fiddler has 255 points (100-155=255) and has recorded 110 points (41-69=110) in 350 career games with Dallas. In 11 career games against the Senators, he has two points (0-2=2).