Erik Cole's recent performances are a big reason why the Dallas Stars have kept their lengthy point streak going. Their next opponent knows all too well how potent a scoring threat he can be.
The winger had one of his best seasons while with the Montreal Canadiens and will try to help send his former club to a third consecutive defeat Thursday night.
Cole scored two goals with the game-winner for the second time in three games in a 3-2 victory over Los Angeles on Tuesday. Tyler Seguin contributed his team-high 20th goal and an assist as Dallas (20-12-7) improved to 5-0-2 in its last seven and 2-0-1 on a five-game homestand.
The Stars' overall point streak is its longest since an 11-gamer Feb. 21-March 13, 2012, but coach Lindy Ruff doesn't want his team to get too far ahead of itself.
"We have a lot of work ahead of us. Try to stay consistent," he said. "Our hard work ethic in the first 40 games has been good. If we can consistently work like that, then we'll have success."
Seguin and Cole had power-play goals, marking the first time the Stars have scored twice with the man advantage since Oct. 11. Dallas, which was 3 for 63 on the power play in its first 17 home games, is 4 for 17 in its last four overall after previously converting at an 11.2 percent clip.
"I can't sit here and say that we weren't doing things properly before," said Cole, who has 15 points in 20 games after totaling five through his first 19. "We just weren't getting enough pucks at the net, and second and third chances, just (not) being as opportunistic as we should have been."
Cole took advantage of his chances in his relatively brief time with Montreal (23-14-4). After signing a four-year deal in July 2011, he set a career high with 35 goals and matched another with 61 points. The Canadiens shipped him to Dallas on Feb. 26 for Michael Ryder and a third-round draft pick, and Cole had a minus-2 rating in a 2-1 loss at Montreal on Oct. 29 in the clubs' only matchup since the deal.
The Canadiens haven't visited Dallas since a 5-2 loss Dec. 21, 2010, and they return to close their longest road trip of the season. They've gone 2-2-1 thus far as their usually stingy defense has faltered, allowing 18 goals.
Montreal is among the best defensive teams in the league with 2.22 goals allowed per game but have given up a combined nine in back-to-back losses. The Canadiens led 3-0 at Carolina on Tuesday after soon-to-be U.S. Olympian Max Pacioretty's second goal, but they fell 5-4 in overtime.
Montreal scored twice on the power play after going 3 for 35 in the previous 12 games. The Canadiens, though, let the Hurricanes have 10 power plays, and two resulted in goals in the third period.
"(The penalties) take all the momentum away that we got," coach Michel Therrien said. "When you end up losing the momentum, it is tough to get it back. ... As the coach, I am responsible for the discipline of my team, and I will make sure it won't happen again."
Carey Price allowed a season-high five goals for the second time in four starts. He made 26 saves to outduel Kari Lehtonen in the last meeting with Dallas.