The Dallas Stars probably can't wait for their road trip to come to an end.
The struggling Stars look to avoid a ninth straight road loss Thursday night when they conclude a three-game trip with a rare visit to Montreal to face the Canadiens.
Trying to return to the playoffs after missing out last season, Dallas (19-16-11) is making matters tough on itself due to its recent struggles on the road. Four points out of the last playoff spot in the Western Conference, the Stars are 7-11-6 away from home including an 0-6-2 mark since winning 3-2 in a shootout at San Jose on Dec. 11.
"It's a tough league and it's hard to win on the road," center Brad Richards told the Stars' official Web site. "We've got to find a way to win. We've got to out-will some teams in certain times. There's a lot of cliches, I don't have one to sum it all up, but we're finding ways to make it hard on ourselves right now."
The Stars matched their goal output from their previous four road games Tuesday, but still fell 6-3 at Philadelphia. They've been outscored 23-10 while losing five of six overall.
"We've been self-destructing, shooting ourselves in the foot," Richards said after the Flyers scored four times in the second period. "No one's trying to do this stuff, but we're doing it."
Steve Ott scored twice and James Neal added his team-leading 19th goal Tuesday for Dallas, which was coming off a 2-0 loss at Columbus on Sunday. Neal's goal was his first in nine games.
Marty Turco is likely to be back in net despite being pulled after allowing five goals on 19 shots in Philadelphia. Turco is 2-2-0 with a tie and a 1.99 lifetime goals-against average versus Montreal. He made 16 saves in Dallas' 3-1 home loss to Montreal in the teams' last meeting March 8.
The Canadiens also beat Turco 4-2 in the Stars' last visit to Montreal on Jan. 16, 2006. Montreal has won two of the last three games in this series overall.
Like Dallas, the Canadiens (22-21-4) have struggled to find the back of the net of late, totaling five goals while losing three of four. Scott Gomez provided the only offense in the Canadiens' 2-1 overtime loss at home to New Jersey on Saturday.
"It's hockey and it's about goals," said Montreal's Jaroslav Halak, who took the loss after making 26 saves.
While Gomez has three points in his last two contests, leading scorer Michael Cammalleri (20 goals) has been held scoreless in his last four games. Cammalleri also has just two goals in his last 13 games against Dallas.
Losing forward Andrei Kostitsyn (knee surgery) and his 12 goals for six weeks has also played a part in the Canadiens' recent offensive struggles. Kostitsyn last played in a 5-4 win at Florida on Dec. 31, the game immediately preceding Montreal's current 1-2-1 stretch.