The Ottawa Senators got back on track as they opened a home-heavy portion of their schedule. The Dallas Stars would like to start playing better before they return home.
The Senators go for consecutive wins for the first time in more than two weeks Wednesday night when they face a Stars club trying to avoid its fifth straight road loss.
Coming off a 1-3-0 trip, Ottawa (10-10-1) snapped a three-game skid Monday with a 3-2 victory over Los Angeles. It began a stretch of six of seven at Scotiabank Place.
"Often you come back from a week-long road trip, the first game home is often the toughest one," said coach Cory Clouston, whose Senators were outscored 17-4 in the previous three contests. "So we wanted to guard against that as well. We ground out a win and we'll build on it."
Clouston is hoping Pascal Leclaire can build on Monday's 28-save effort. Making his first start since Nov. 11, the Senators goaltender earned his first victory of the season.
"He played very well -- it's nice to see it for him," Clouston said of Leclaire, 1-3-1 with a 3.62 goals-against average. "He's had kind of a roller coaster season already."
Leclaire, who missed nearly a month earlier in the season with a groin injury, will likely be in net Wednesday in the teams' only matchup in 2010-11. In the only one last season, Leclaire was replaced by Brian Elliott in the third period of a 5-4 loss in Dallas on March 20 after allowing five goals on 19 shots.
The Stars (10-8-1) would welcome that kind of production. They have been outscored 16-4 while dropping four straight road games.
Monday night's 4-2 defeat at Toronto saddled Dallas with its longest road losing streak since an 0-8-2 skid from Dec. 12-Jan. 21.
"It wasn't pretty tonight," said center Brad Richards, who scored for the fourth time in five games. "They pressured us and we didn't handle it very well. We weren't really in the game."
Dallas, which hosts St. Louis on Friday before playing two straight on the road, will look to get off to a better start in this matchup. After trailing 3-0 in Saturday's 4-3 shootout victory over Colorado, the Stars faced a 2-0 second-period deficit Monday.
The Senators have outscored their opponents 8-5 in the first period while winning five of seven at home.
Ottawa is among the NHL's lowest-scoring teams with 2.5 goals per game but scored more than two for the first time in six games Monday. Jason Spezza had the go-ahead goal in the third period, while Alex Kovalev and Milan Michalek each scored for the first time in seven contests.
Kovalev's first-period power-play goal made him the third Russian in league history to reach 1,000 points.
"It's kind of hard for me to imagine but I'm just really proud," he said.
Spezza posted his third career hat trick in last season's loss at Dallas and will likely get another crack at Kari Lehtonen, who turned away 25 shots in that matchup and is 0-3-0 with a 3.07 GAA in his last three road starts.
Richards, who scored twice in the March 20 victory, had a goal and an assist in the Stars' last visit to Ottawa, a 5-4 overtime loss Dec. 20, 2008.
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