KINGS (26-19-11) at STARS (28-23-3)
TV: FS-West, FS-Southwest
Last 10: Los Angeles 4-4-2; Dallas 4-4-2.
Season Series: Sunday's clash marks the sixth and final regular season meeting between these Pacific division foes. The Stars have taken three of five head-to-head matchups to date, with two of those victories coming after regulation.
Big Story: The Stars currently stand in ninth place in the Western Conference, but trail the seventh-place Kings by only four points with two games in hand as their season series comes to a close Sunday at American Airlines Center. Both teams hope to rebound from narrow losses, as Dallas suffered a 3-2 shootout loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Friday and Los Angeles dropped a 2-1 overtime decision to the New York Islanders on Saturday.
Kings: Los Angeles came out on the short end of another down-to-the-wire game Saturday when the Islanders prevailed in overtime on a game-winning goal by Mark Streit. The Kings fell to 1-3-1 on their current six-game road trip, which wraps up Sunday in Dallas. Jonathan Quick
held his own with 23 saves on 25 shots and Andrei Loktionov
notched his first goal of the season, but L.A. mustered fewer than two goals for the fourth time in five games in another excruciating defeat.
"We need more consistency," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "That's the only answer for us."
Stars: When Tomas Vincour
gave Dallas a 2-0 lead early in the third period on Friday, the Stars were in prime position to pick up their third win in four games. But the Sabres answered back less than a minute later with a goal from Thomas Vanek to trim the deficit, and Derek Roy eventually tied the game with a back-breaking goal in the final minute of regulation. Buffalo would ultimately prevail in the fifth round of the shootout.
"It's always tough when you have the lead and the other team scores late," goalie Kari Lehtonen
told DallasStars.com. "If we ended up tying it and then losing it, I think we'd feel a little better than this way. But it's still a good point against a team that had a huge win a couple of nights ago [against the Boston Bruins], and we played [Thursday in Columbus]."
Who's Hot: Anze Kopitar
was held without a point in Saturday's loss to the Isles, but has compiled two goals and an assist over his last four games. … Jamie Benn
has reeled off two goals and an assist over his last two outings.
Injury Report: Brenden Morrow
is on IR (neck/back) and out of the lineup for Dallas, while Sheldon Souray
(foot) is listed as questionable for Sunday's game. … For Los Angeles, Jarret Stoll
(lower body) and Simon Gagne
(concussion) are out indefinitely.
Stat Pack: With their shootout loss to the Sabres, the Stars remained winless in second games of back-to-back sets (0-8-2).
Puck Drop: Despite stopping 30 shots Friday to help the Stars earn an important point in the Western Conference playoff race, Lehtonen fell short of a victory in Buffalo. However, his teammates refuse to let the loss dampen another resilient effort by their netminder.
"[Lehtonen] has been a big part of the team all year," said Michael Ryder
, who opened the scoring with a goal in Friday's loss to the Sabres. "When we look at him to make the big saves, he makes them. He's a big, agile goaltender and a big reason we're in the playoff hunt."