The Dallas Stars can tie the franchise record for most consecutive victories when they host the struggling Vegas Golden Knights on Monday night.
Dallas has won six straight, including a 2-1 shootout win over the visiting Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday. The franchise record is seven, accomplished four times, most recently in the 2007-08 season.
It’s been quite a turnaround for the Stars, who managed just three points (1-7-1) in their first nine games. They’ve bounced back to go 13-1-1 over their past 15 games, including 10-0-1 in their last 11.
“We are managing games,” Dallas coach Jim Montgomery said. “We are finding ways to win even when we are not playing at our best, and we are not beating ourselves right now.”
The Stars have gotten strong goaltending from the combo of Ben Bishop (8-5-1, 2.25 goals-against average) and Anton Khudobin (6-3-1, 2.15). The latter had 38 saves, including one on a Patrick Kane breakaway in overtime, and stopped two shots in the shootout in the win over the Blackhawks. Joe Pavelski and Tyler Seguin both scored in the shootout to win it for Dallas.
Khudobin (third) and Bishop (sixth) both ranked in the top six in the NHL in GAA entering Sunday.
“It’s always great when you’re winning, confidence always goes up,” Khudobin said. “But at the same time, we have a lot of work in front of us. We can celebrate today a little bit, we can have fun, but at the same time, there are a lot of games in front of us.”
The next one will be against a Vegas team that has won just two of its last nine games and comes in off a 4-2 home loss to Pacific Division-leading Edmonton on Saturday.
The Golden Knights, expected to make a strong run at the Western Conference title, are just 3-5-4 over their last 12 games. They are in fourth place in the Pacific and have been one of the NHL’s most disappointing teams to start the season.
Vegas head coach Gerard Gallant, who before Saturday night’s latest loss had told reporters that he was still “feeling good about our team” following a 2-1 overtime home loss to San Jose on Thursday, sounded a lot more frustrated about his team’s inconsistent play following the setback to the Oilers.
“Trust me I’m not happy about it,” Gallant said. “I am not happy with the way we were playing tonight with a big game against a first-place team in your division, and you’ve got them in your building. You think you are going to come out with some fire, and there was no fire. It’s disappointing on our part.”
Gallant then went on to blast his team for its effort.
“It’s got to start with competing and battling and winning those battles and playing to get your nose dirty a little bit,” he said. “And it’s not all the guys, it’s some of the guys. We’ve got to get more of a team game.”
Gallant was asked if his team’s latest loss was a wakeup call heading into a two-game trip that also includes a Wednesday game at Nashville before returning home to face second-place Arizona on Friday afternoon.
“Well, I hope so,” Gallant said. “I sure hope so, because it was disappointing from the start right to the finish. I mean it was 4-2, so were in the game at different times, and we just didn’t have any push back, and that’s what disappoints me with our group.”
–Field Level Media