STARS (11-9-2) at KINGS (12-7-2)
TV: FS-Southwest, FS-West
Last 10: Dallas 5-4-1; Los Angeles 8-2-0
Season series: First of five overall, three at Staples Center. Last season's matchup took on an interesting pattern in that each team took two of three on the road. In Dallas' past two trips to L.A., it won two one-goal games.
Big story: Thursday night's matchup in Los Angeles pits one of the hottest teams overall, particularly at home, with one of the better road teams in the NHL of late.
The Kings have won six in a row at Staples Center and nine of 11 total since starting the season 3-5-2. The Stars have scored at least three goals in seven consecutive road games while going 5-1-1. For Dallas, it's a short trip out west, including a stopover to play the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday before returning home to face the Nashville Predators on Tuesday. The Kings will face the Calgary Flames twice at home before venturing to Phoenix. One thing the teams have in common is that each comes off a win against the St. Louis Blues.
Stars: After giving the Edmonton Oilers nine power-play opportunities in a 5-1 loss last Thursday, the Stars paid close attention to their defense and discipline when they faced the Blues on Sunday. The result was one penalty to kill in a 4-1 win.
"That was the first thing we said in the pregame meeting: Stay out of the box," said forward Derek Roy, who had a goal and two assists. "They can’t score on the power play if they’re not on the power play, so they got one that we did a good job killing, but we also stayed disciplined."
Coach Glen Gulutzan said, "We didn’t take any penalties; we just had one, so we were the Boy Scouts of America today. We did all the little things. It wasn’t a pretty game to watch, but at the end of the day, you do enough of those in the right way, you’re going to get results and we got it."
Kings: The Kings took a little longer to get the message in their win over the Blues as the end of a back-to-back. Pulling Jonathan Bernier for Jonathan Quick didn't quite do it, but a second wind in the third period resulted in four goals and a 6-4 win. With three more games on the homestand, the objective is clear.
"Every good team tries to establish an identity, on home ice especially," forward Anze Kopitar said to the Los Angeles Times. "I think overall with our identity we've done a pretty good job with what we're all about. We've shown that on the road too. We definitely want to be a hard team to play against on home ice and I think we're doing a pretty good job right now."
Who's hot: Stars forward Loui Eriksson scored his third goal in four games Sunday, and has four goals and two assists in his past five against the Kings. Forward Jaromir Jagr has scored in his past two; they are tied for the team lead with seven. Roy's three-point day gave him five in his past three games. … King forward Jeff Carter scored a third-period goal Tuesday, his NHL-leading sixth game-winner and his 11th in his past 11 games. Defenseman Slava Voynov has a goal and three assists in his past two games. Forward Mike Richards has points in nine of his past 11 games. Quick likely will get the start Thursday; he holds a 1.95 goals-against average in his past five games, winning four, and has a 7-0-2 record with a 1.98 GAA against the Stars.
Injury report: Roy (groin) skipped practice Tuesday but was on the ice Wednesday. Forward Ray Whitney (foot) practiced briefly Tuesday and traveled with the team, but is not expected to play in Los Angeles or Phoenix. … Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell (knee) underwent treatment last week but no return date is set.