The Stars go for their fifth straight win over the Kings this season when the Pacific Division rivals meet Saturday at Staples Center.
Dallas (20-12-0) has dropped three of its last four games, scoring just three goals in those defeats, and is trying to avoid matching its season-high skid with a third consecutive loss. The Stars are averaging 1.42 goals in their 12 losses and 3.40 in their 20 victories.
Dallas got a lot of chances Thursday when it outshot the New York Rangers 45-20, but still came away with a 5-2 loss at home.
"We had plenty of shots and plenty power plays, but we don't seem to be getting the timely goals we got at the start of the season," Dallas captain Brenden Morrow said. "We outplayed them for a while but we couldn't capitalize. It looks good on paper to have 45 shots, but you've got to bear down in front of the net."
It doesn't help that the Stars are playing without center Mike Modano, who was placed on injured reserve (hip flexor/groin) Thursday retroactive to Dec. 4 and has missed five straight games. He is eligible to come back as soon as Saturday.
The Stars have had few problems producing against the Kings (12-17-4), outscoring them 16-7 in winning all four meetings between the teams this season. Dallas has converted 8-of-27 power-play opportunities (29.6 percent) during that run.
The Stars have also won three of their last four trips to Los Angeles, outscoring the Kings 12-4 in those contests. Dallas is playing the first of three straight on the road, where it has dropped four of its last five.
Backup Mike Smith, who made 15 saves for the Stars in Thursday's defeat, has won both of his starts against the Kings this season. Starter Marty Turco has done the same, improving to 8-8-1 with two ties and a 2.63 goals-against average versus Los Angeles.
The Kings have struggled on their home ice recently, losing three of their last four. They're coming off a 4-2 road win over San Jose on Thursday, when they scored the first four goals of the game.
Anze Kopitar scored twice and rookie Barry Brust stopped 34 shots in his first NHL start after Dan Cloutier took a shot off his arm in pregame warmups. Mathieu Garon, the Kings' regular backup, has been sidelined with a groin injury.
"Usually we're down a goal at the beginning, and then we're playing catch-up," Kopitar said. "It always energizes you when a fellow teammate steps up like that. (Brust's play) was a real energy boost."
Dallas defenseman Philippe Boucher, who played with the Kings from 1994-02, had his only career hat trick in a 5-3 win over them on Nov. 24 - all coming on the power play.
Los Angeles has allowed at least one power-play goal in eight straight games and 20 in the last 11 contests.
|Mar 21 '07||DAL 4 at LAK 2||K. Barch|
|Mar 11 '07||LAK 3 at DAL 4 - OT||M. Modano|
|Jan 15 '07||LAK 1 at DAL 3||N. Hagman|
|Dec 16 '06||DAL 4 at LAK 3 - SO||M. Ribeiro|
|Nov 24 '06||LAK 3 at DAL 5||P. Boucher|
|Oct 28 '06||LAK 2 at DAL 3||J. Halpern|
|Oct 14 '06||DAL 4 at LAK 1||B. Morrow|
|Oct 12 '06||DAL 4 at LAK 1||M. Modano|