OTTAWA -- Two skidding teams will collide Thursday night at Canadian Tire Centre, where history shows the visitors will have the inside track.
Losers of two in a row by a combined 10-0 score, the Ottawa Senators (27-18-6) would appear to be catching a bit of a break with the arrival of the Dallas Stars (21-23-10), who have not managed to take a single point from their past three games.
However, the Senators' problems with the Stars date back to the days when their franchise was based in Minnesota, with an all-time record of 11-20-0-1. And home ice has been no advantage, as Ottawa is 5-9-0-1 against the Stars in Canada's capital.
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The Stars, who have won seven of their past eight meetings with the Senators, have only lost once at Canadian Tire Centre since Feb. 27, 2003, and that was on Dec. 20, 2008.
Dallas has won its last four games in Ottawa.
No, this doesn't exactly bode well for a Senators team coming off one of its worst ever home ice losses, a 6-0 shellacking at the hands of the St. Louis Blues.
"Getting away from our defensive system is certainly not helping us. We know that's what gets us wins," Senators defenseman Marc Methot said. "Once we step out of that and start trading chances with teams, the outcome isn't always what we'd like.
"We need to keep the morale up in the room. We can't all start getting negative because of a couple of bad games. It's important to stick together through tough times. No one is going to help us. It's just the guys in the dressing room that can improve the situation, and we're going to do it."
Senators coach Guy Boucher stuck to his schedule on Wednesday, when the team did not practice but held an off-ice workout. It is believed Mike Condon, who had a franchise record of 27 straight appearances stopped when he served as backup to Andrew Hammond on Tuesday, will be back in goal against the Stars, although No. 1 goalie Craig Anderson is close to making his return. Anderson has missed two months while his wife has undergone cancer treatment.
Dallas has scored seven goals during its three-game losing streak, which most recently included a 3-1 loss in Toronto on Tuesday. The Stars had 40 shots on goal but experienced all sorts of trouble with Maple Leafs backup Curtis McElhinney in a setback that left them seven points out of a playoff spot with 28 games left.
"We're all sick of talking about it," center Tyler Seguin, who had nine shots on goal against the Maple Leafs, said to the team website regarding Dallas' recent woes. "Look yourself in the mirror. Dig deeper. We've got to hold each other accountable and get out of this together."
The Stars put former Senators captain Jason Spezza (upper body) on injured reserve Wednesday, retroactive to Feb. 2. Goalie Kari Lehtonen, who had made 10 straight appearances before taking a back seat to Antti Niemi on Tuesday, is expected to be back in goal for the Stars.