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Ducks go for three-game sweep of Stars

by Davis Harper

STARS (36-16-17) at DUCKS (25-7-5)


Last 10: Dallas 4-6-0; Anaheim 5-4-1

Season series: This is the fifth meeting of the season, and the third and final of a miniseries between the two clubs. The Anaheim Ducks have won the first two - a home-and-home on Monday and Wednesday - outscoring the Dallas Stars 9-2.

Big story: Anaheim can pull two points closer to Western-leading Chicago by completing a three-game sweep of Dallas. The Stars, who've dealt away several veterans as their playoff hopes have diminished, are looking to snap a three-game skid and climb back into the playoff race.

Team Scope:

Stars: The first to go was captain Brenden Morrow, who left for Pittsburgh on March 24. This week, the Stars let go two of their top scorers - Jaromir Jagr and Derek Roy - to Boston and Vancouver, respectively, for prospects and draft picks. With time running out in the season, the Stars look like a team with one eye on next season.

Dallas lost back-to-back home games to Los Angeles and Anaheim on Sunday, then fell into a 3-0 hole on Wednesday and never caught up in a 5-2 loss. Erik Cole and Lane MacDermid, who arrived from Boston in the trade for Jagr, scored in the third period -- but by then the damage was done.

"It's tough to find the good stuff in a loss like that," defenseman Stephane Robidas said. "There are a lot of new faces, young guys that had their first experience with us and I thought they did really well. That's a positive sign. They worked hard and did their part. I think we can defend a little harder and be a little more physical in our zone, especially against a team with that much skill."

Ducks: As Dallas invests in youth, Anaheim continues to rely on a savvy veteran presence in captain Ryan Getzlaf. The 27-year-old signed an eight-year, $66-million contract on March 8 and is enjoying one of his finest stretches, with 31 points in his past 23 games. That run of form has helped Anaheim open up a 12-point lead in the Pacific Division with less than a quarter of the season remaining.

Getzlaf continued his hot play on Wednesday with a goal and two assists. Viktor Fasth won his second straight against the Stars, making 23 saves, and Radek Dvorak, Teemu Selanne and Andrew Cogliano rounded out the scoring. Coach Bruce Boudreau said that despite Anaheim's two runaway victories, the Ducks wouldn't be taking their opponents lightly.

"Teams that make trades and do the sell-off are so tough to play down the stretch," Boudreau said. "Experience tells me when you bring in a lot of new guys, young guys especially, they play with so much energy.

"To beat any team three times in a row is difficult, but we're going to try."

Who's hot: Fasth is 5-2-1 in his past eight starts and sits among the League leaders in goals-against average (2.13) and save percentage (.924).

Injury report: For Anaheim, Getzlaf is probable despite a leg injury. Matt Beleskey (eye) and David Steckel (flu) are questionable, as is Matthew Lombardi, who was just acquired from Phoenix. Nick Bonino is on the injured reserve with a lower-body injury. … The Stars list no injuries.

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