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Ducks try to cool off sizzling Stars

by John Kreiser
DUCKS (29-29-10) at STARS (37-26-5)


LAST 10: Anaheim 5-5-0; Dallas 8-1-1

Season Series: It's the sixth and final meeting of the season between the Pacific Division rivals. Dallas has won four of the first five, all in regulation, including 5-3 and 1-0 victories at American Airlines Center. The Stars are 6-1-2 in the last nine games between the teams.

Big Story: The Stars are looking to continue a hot streak that has carried them to the top of the Pacific Division as the Ducks come to town. After a poor first half, Anaheim rode a surge that carried it within four points of eighth place in the West before falling back -- the Ducks are now seven points behind with four weeks left in the season and four teams in front of them.

Team Scope:

Ducks: Anaheim battled the NHL's best team, the St. Louis Blues, on even terms at Scottrade Center on Thursday -- as long as the two sides were playing at full strength. But special teams have been a problem for the Ducks all season, and they were again -- Anaheim allowed a pair of power-play goals by David Backes, didn't connect when it had the extra man, and left with a 3-1 loss.

"I went over the game and I thought for 40 minutes, we were pretty darn good, holding that team to what we did," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau told the team's website. "But it doesn't do us any good."

Stars: In contrast to the slumping Ducks, the Stars are on a roll -- an 8-0-1 surge that includes four straight wins has carried them to the top of the division. As with any winning streak, there are usually different heroes every night; on Thursday, the star was fourth-liner Tomas Vincour, who tied the game with 1:15 left in regulation and scored the only goal in the shootout for 4-3 win against San Jose.

"It feels great. That's a huge two points for us," he said after the win. "It doesn't matter who scores the goal. Now is the time to get two points every night and every goal is huge for us. I'm happy I could score for us but it doesn't matter who scores."

Who's Hot: Corey Perry had Anaheim's lone goal on Thursday and has scored four times in his last four games. … Dallas forward Michael Ryder has goals in five of his last six games and is 6-4-10 during an eight-game points streak.

Injury Report: Anaheim forward Nick Bonino left Thursday's game with a lower-body injury and didn't practice Friday; the Ducks recalled Ryan O'Marra from AHL Syracuse. … Dallas forward Steve Ott missed Thursday's game with back spasms and defenseman Sheldon Souray left with a lower-body injury. The good news for the Stars is that captain Brenden Morrow (upper body) was activated off IR on Friday and might play against the Ducks.

Stat Pack: Dallas has killed off 26 of the opposition's last 27 power plays, while the Ducks have surrendered 10 goals in their last 27 man-down situations in the past nine games. … Stars center Mike Ribeiro has points in seven straight games against Anaheim and is plus-20 against the Ducks in his career.

Puck Drop: Despite having some of the NHL's top offensive talent, the Ducks' power play has been mysteriously inefficient. Anaheim was 0-for-3 in St. Louis; the Ducks are 1-for-15 during the past five games and 4-for-40 in the last 13.

"It is really frustrating, especially for me," forward Teemu Selanne, who ranks fifth on the NHL's all-time list with 246 power-play goals, told the team's website. "We have to just some way turn it around and start getting goals from the PP. That's the way we can win games so much easier and give ourselves a chance to stay in the race."

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