The Dallas Stars' suddenly struggling offense has scored just one goal in the last two games. The Stars may be glad to see the Minnesota Wild, who allowed eight goals to Dallas just eight days ago.
On Thursday, the Stars make their first visit of the season to Minnesota, where their franchise played for 26 seasons before relocating in 1993.
After being shut out by Nashville on Monday, the Stars (23-14-4) barely avoided the same fate on Wednesday, losing 4-1 at Detroit as Loui Eriksson scored their only goal with just 6:01 to play .
"I think we had some real good chances," said Stars coach Dave Tippett, whose club's Pacific Division lead over San Jose has dwindled to one point. "They had some too. Theirs went in, ours didn't."
Dallas played without top defenseman Sergei Zubov, who missed his first game of the season with an upper body injury. Zubov has logged more than 200 more minutes of ice time than any of his teammates this season.
The Stars have now lost two in a row for the first time since Dec. 5-7, and are trying to avoid matching their season-high three-game skid from Oct. 29-Nov. 2.
Just last week, the Stars were in the midst of scoring a combined 20 goals during a four-game winning streak, including a season high in an 8-3 home victory over the Wild (22-15-2) on Dec. 26. Seven different players scored for Dallas, led by Brenden Morrow's two goals and one assist.
The Stars have never managed more than four goals on the road against the Wild. They haven't scored more than twice in any of their last five visits, but have managed to go 2-0-1 in the last three.
Mike Modano is Dallas' only remaining player who was once a Minnesota North Star. He hasn't scored a goal at Minnesota since January 2002, but he does have six assists in seven games there since then.
Wild goalie Josh Harding allowed all eight goals to the Stars in last week's meeting, and hasn't played since. Niklas Backstrom has started the last three games for Minnesota, winning the first two before a 3-2 home loss to San Jose on Monday.
Minnesota's Mark Parrish scored to tie that game with less than five minutes to play, but the Wild allowed the game-winner on a fluky bounce just 10 seconds later.
"We worked hard to get tied, then a weird bounce and they score from it," Backstrom said. "It was a tough goal for us."
The Wild have still won six of their last nine behind a productive power play. In those nine games, Minnesota has scored 14 of its 30 goals on the man advantage -- converting on 31.8 percent of its chances.
This is the first game for the Wild with defenseman Nick Schultz as captain. Minnesota has been awarding the captaincy to a different player each month, and the 25-year-old Schultz, who has no goals and six assists this season, will wear the 'C' in January.
The Wild are 13-7-0 at home this season, where right wing Marian Gaborik has 24 of his 36 points and an active nine-game point streak.
Despite the loss at Detroit, the Stars are 5-2-0 in their last seven road games.