The Dallas Stars hope to apply the brakes on their losing skid when they open a six-day, four-game road trip against the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday.
The Stars dropped a 5-3 decision to the league-worst Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday for just their fifth defeat at home (14-4-1) and first since Dec. 14. Now they’ll look to address their woes on the road, where they have lost seven straight games and own a 4-12-1 record this season.
“They all hurt,” Dallas forward Tyler Seguin said. “They’re all opportunities wasted that can come back and bite you at the end of the year. We lost to Ottawa a couple times this year, now lost to Montreal.
“Hopefully, this is just a blessing in disguise in that we have no choice but to get our act straight on the road. Coming up, going on a long road trip here, there’s no excuses.”
Joe Pavelski, who joined Seguin collecting a goal and an assist on Tuesday, has 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in his past 10 games. Pavelski leads the team in goals (16), assists (22) and points (38).
Unfortunately for the Stars, others haven’t been routinely contributing at the offensive end. Captain Jamie Benn, a nine-time 20-goal scorer, has two goals in his past 14 games. Miro Heiskanen has one goal in his past 23 contests while fellow offensive-minded defenseman John Klingberg has one goal this season.
The skidding Stars were tied for 20th in goals per game (2.78) entering play Wednesday. As a result, they found themselves residing in sixth place in the Central Division.
“You can’t look at the standings, it’ll frustrate you too much knowing how many games we’ve let slip away,” defenseman Ryan Suter said. “It’s got to come from within, and guys want to do it. It could be a little different, but guys still care and want to find a way out of this and get back in the hunt.”
The Sabres had dropped eight of their previous nine contests (1-5-3) before posting a 3-1 win over the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday.
Michael Houser made 43 saves in his season debut for the Buffalo, which has used six different goaltenders this season.
“It’s fun to see the boys so happy, not only for me but for a win,” said Houser, who signed a one-year contract on Jan. 12.
“I think we’ve been playing pretty well, at least since I’ve been here. I’ve watched quite a bit of the games from Rochester (of the American Hockey League), and the team is playing so much better than last year and the beginning of this year, too.
“You can see the team getting better. To be a part of it and to get a win for the boys, it feels really good.”
Alex Tuch recorded a goal and an assist on Tuesday to boost his point total to seven in as many games with the Sabres. He was traded to Buffalo in November in a deal that sent former captain Jack Eichel to the Vegas Golden Knights.