The Anaheim Ducks and Dallas Stars have reversed course heading into their first meeting of the season on Thursday night in Dallas.
The Stars lost eight of their first nine games before winning their past two.
The Ducks won six of their first eight before losing their past two.
Anaheim doesn’t seem overly concerned with its first losing streak of the season.
“I’d be surprised if we dwell on it too much,” Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler said after a 6-1 loss at the Nashville Predators on Tuesday. “We’ve got to get ready for the next one.”
The Ducks will be up against former teammate Corey Perry for the first time since he left the organization after 14 seasons. Anaheim bought out the final two years of the forward’s contract, and Perry signed a one-year, $1.5-million deal with the Stars in the offseason.
Perry missed the first seven games recovering from a small fracture in his foot. In the four games since his return, he has a goal and two assists, all coming in a 4-1 win at the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.
Joe Pavelski, another veteran trying to adapt to a new team after spending the past 13 seasons with the San Jose Sharks, also appears to be settling in with the Stars. He scored in a 2-1 win against the visiting Ottawa Senators on Monday, his second goal in four games after going without in the first seven.
Most importantly, the Stars are riding a winning streak for the first time this season.
“It’s encouraging, but it’s got to continue,” Pavelski said. “It’s a small sample size of what we have done right so far. It’s on us to continue with that.”
The Ducks would be wise not to look back at their performance in Nashville.
They gave up six goals after allowing just 16 through the first nine games. John Gibson, who came in with a 1.88 goals-against average and .939 save percentage in seven starts, stopped just 15 of 19 shots before he was replaced by Ryan Miller at the start of the third period.
“The one thing you can’t do in this league is gift goals because they’re damn hard to score,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said after the game.
Both teams are looking to improve their power play.
The Ducks are tied for last in the NHL in power-play efficiency, converting just once in 25 opportunities.
The Stars have the fourth-worst power play in the league at 9.4 percent, scoring three times on their 32 power plays.
Dallas went 1-for-5 with the man-advantage against the Senators, which Pavelski hopes will be a step in the right direction.
“It’s encouraging, but you don’t realize how intense you’ve got to be, how clean you’ve got to be,” he said. “Teams have a plan. They know what you’re doing. You’ve got to be better than them.”
Dallas coach Jim Montgomery didn’t seem concerned with the performance of his special teams either.
“It’s just like anything. You get in a rhythm once you score goals, you feel better about yourself,” Montgomery said. “We’re going to continue to get better looks and better looks.”
–Field Level Media