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Stars, Senators have been coming up just short lately

Jan 29, 2024; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators defenseman Thomas Chabot (72) skates with the puck in the second period against the Nashville Predators at the Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Stars are looking to end a three-game winless streak filled with near-misses when they visit the Ottawa Senators on Thursday.

Dallas is 0-1-2 over its last three games, matching its longest winless drought of the season. The Stars have outshot opponents by a healthy 115-79 margin over the three games, yet they have run the gamut of narrow losses in overtime, via shootout and in regulation.

Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to the New York Rangers saw Dallas hold a 42-25 edge in shots, yet Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin was often spectacular in leading New York to its eighth consecutive victory.

Stars coach Pete DeBoer praised Shesterkin’s “elite goaltending” but felt his team “created enough chances to score more than one goal.”

“You know (Shesterkin is) one of the best in the league,” DeBoer said. “So you’ve got to get some more traffic. You’ve got to make it more difficult on him (and) find a way.”

It was just the second regulation loss (8-2-3) in the Stars’ last 13 games. Dallas maintains a two-point lead over the Colorado Avalanche for first place in the Central Division entering Thursday.

The Senators are also coming off a narrow loss against red-hot competition. The host Florida Panthers extended their win streak to six games with Tuesday’s 3-2 overtime victory, and it seemed like it was going to be a long night for Ottawa when Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad scored just 19 seconds into the game.

With Florida leading 2-0 five minutes into the third period, however, the Senators came to life. Thomas Chabot scored at the 5:36 mark, Tim Stutzle collected the equalizer just over three minutes later, and Joonas Korpisalo stopped all 12 shots faced in the third period to force overtime.

“At the end of the day, you’re going to have 59 more minutes to play so you can’t worry too much about that first shift,” Chabot said. “But once again, we came back in that third, and we believed in it. Obviously, every single one of us would’ve rather been going home with a win, but at the end of the day, you’ve still got to take some positives out of the loss.”

The Senators have had to settle for a lot of moral victories this season, as the team sits in last place in the Atlantic Division. With the March 8 trade deadline looming, much of the speculation in Ottawa has surrounded which veteran players could soon be on the move.

This could mean another start for Korpisalo, whose frequent usage in recent weeks could be a possible showcase for trade suitors.

Jake Oettinger is expected to start for Dallas on Thursday. The Stars goalie is 7-0-2 with a .904 save percentage over his last nine games.

Dallas is 5-for-12 on the power play in its last four games and is 16-for-17 in killing penalties over its last six games. The Senators’ penalty-kill unit has also been rolling, with a 15-for-17 performance in their last nine games.

Ottawa forward Claude Giroux has eight points (three goals, five assists) during a six-game points streak.

The Stars recorded a 5-4 win over the Senators in Dallas on Dec. 15. The Stars are 0-4-2 in their last six visits to Ottawa, dating back to the 2016-17 season.

–Field Level Media

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