The Dallas Stars got off to a woeful start this season, winning just once in their first nine games (1-7-1).
However, they have quickly turned things impressively.
Joe Pavelski scored twice, including an empty-netter, as the Stars defeated the host Calgary Flames 3-1 Wednesday night to improve to 8-1-1 in their past 10 games.
They will look to continue their winning ways when they continue their four-game trip with a Thursday night game against the Vancouver Canucks.
“We’ve had a good little stretch, but we’re not out of the woods by any means,” Pavelski said. “Our team’s got higher standards. … We’ve put in some good work to get into this position and give ourselves an opportunity to keep climbing a little bit. Good effort. Good hockey lately.”
Stars goaltender Ben Bishop stopped 24 of the 25 shots he faced Wednesday.
“Even though we got off to a tough start, we were playing some decent hockey. We were finding ways to lose games,” Bishop said. “We were only losing by one goal. We were playing some good teams, too. I think it just took one win and then a couple wins to kind of get this group back on track.
“We have a great team in here, experienced guys. Kind of a tough start, but obviously we’ve turned it around.”
Stars forward Justin Dowling, a Calgary native, scored his first NHL goal in the victory over the Flames. The 29-year-old was playing in his 34th NHL game.
“I mean, it took a long time, but it’s nice that it happened here,” Dowling said. “I think it was meant to be, actually. It’s great. Last year, I only got to play a period. I got hurt. I was feeling pretty good going into that game last year. Having the opportunity to come back and play again this year and getting my first one here means a lot.”
It wasn’t the only milestone for the Stars, as forward Corey Perry played in his 1,000th NHL game.
While Dallas brings plenty of position momentum into Vancouver, the Canucks hope they are back on track, too.
Vancouver snapped a four-game winless streak with a 5-3 victory against the visiting Nashville Predators on Tuesday, as reigning Calder Trophy winner (rookie of the year) Elias Pettersson scored twice on his 21st birthday. Tanner Pearson also scored twice, including an empty-netter, and added an assist.
The five goals matched the total the Canucks had during their 0-3-1 skid.
“It’s great to get a win again,” said Pettersson, who has 17 points (six goals, 11 assists) in his past 12 games. “It’s really nice to score goals.”
Vancouver went 3-for-3 on the power play.
“It’s only one night. but it’s really good when the power play scores,” Pettersson said. “That won us the game. We have to bring it the next game and hopefully score some more goals.”
The Canucks played Tuesday without Jay Beagle because of an undisclosed injury, and fellow center Brandon Sutter left early in the first period.
Sutter is expected to miss some time while Beagle is listed as day-to-day. The Canucks moved to fill the center spot on Wednesday by calling up center Tyler Graovac and winger Zack MacEwen from Utica while sending defenseman Jalen Chatfield to the AHL team.
Graovac, 26, has one goal in six games for Utica this season. He has previous NHL experience with the Minnesota Wild and the Washington Capitals.
MacEwen, 23, notched three goals and five assists this season with Utica. He recorded one assist in four games for Vancouver in 2018-19, his first NHL action.
–Field Level Media