The Dallas Stars start a critical stretch as they fight for playoff positioning in the Western Conference when they begin a three-game road trip Wednesday with a matchup against the Los Angeles Kings.
Dallas (43-24-5) plays five of its next six away from home, including contests against the top three teams in the conference. The Stars enter the stretch having won five of their past six games.
Mike Ribeiro scored two goals, including one with 40 seconds left in overtime, to help Dallas defeat Phoenix 5-4 on Sunday. The Stars took three penalties in the final seven minutes of the third period and allowed the Coyotes to tie the game with 1:33 left in regulation.
"There are nights when you find ways to win and nights when you find ways to lose," Dallas coach Dave Tippett said. "Tonight it looked like we were going to find a way to lose."
After setting the U.S.-born record with the 502nd and 503rd goals of his career on Saturday night, Mike Modano had his four-game goal streak end against the Coyotes, but he did record an assist to run his point streak to five contests.
Brenden Morrow scored Sunday for the Stars in his second game back since injuring his wrist on Dec. 26.
"The goal early took a little of the pressure off," Morrow said. "We didn't want to be sitting here six or seven games deep wondering if I'd get my scoring touch back."
The Stars have won all seven meetings with the Kings (25-34-14) this season, outscoring Los Angeles 26-14 in those contests. It's been a turnaround from the 2005-06 season, when the Kings won six of eight matchups.
This year has been a struggle for Los Angeles, which is already eliminated from playoff contention and has 64 points - 27 less than Dallas. The Kings, though, will be trying to win three in a row for the first time this season Wednesday.
Los Angeles beat Anaheim 5-3 on Sunday night, one day after defeating Columbus by the same score. The Kings have scored 18 goals in their last four games, going 3-0-1 in that span.
"We've been getting good goaltending and we are winning special team battles," Kings defenseman Aaron Miller said. "We're working hard and we are working smarter."
Michael Cammalleri recorded the first 30-goal season of his career with two goals against the Ducks, raising his total to 31. Alexander Frolov leads the team with 34 goals, giving the Kings two players with 30 goals in a season for the first time since 2000-01, when Zigmund Palffy (38) and Luc Robitaille (37) reached the mark.
Despite their struggles, the Kings have earned a point in their last seven contests and are 5-2-4 since Feb. 24, moving out of last place in the conference.
Los Angeles begins a three-game road trip after Wednesday's contest and finishes the season with six of its last eight games away from home.
|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|