The resurgent Dallas Stars go for their fourth victory against the Los Angeles Kings this season when the Pacific Division rivals meet Friday at the American Airlines Center.
Dallas won 11 of its first 13 games this season, but then lost four of its next six. The Stars (15-6-0) have now bounced back with consecutive wins, however, including a 1-0 victory over the Central-Division leading Nashville Predators on Wednesday.
Mike Modano couldn't capitalize on a first-period penalty shot, but Jeff Halpern scored the only goal Dallas needed in the final period.
"It was just a good bounce off the boards," Halpern said. "(Nashville goalie Tomas) Vokoun was going one way and I came in on the other. The way that game was going, I thought we'd have a shootout."
Rookie goalie Mike Smith made 17 saves to earn his second shutout in four starts. Smith replaced Marty Turco in Monday's 5-4 win over Colorado, and has gotten credit for the last two victories for Dallas. He is 4-1 with a 1.23 goals-against average this season, including a win over the Kings (7-12-4).
"We have a great No. 1 and we have confidence in (Smith)." said Stars left wing Niklas Hagman, who assisted on Halpern's goal. "We've got two goalies who give us a chance to win every night."
Turco is 11-5-0 with a 2.23 GAA in 2006-07, and has been in goal for the other two victories over Los Angeles. The Stars continue to have success with both netminders, as they are giving up a league-low 2.1 goals per game.
Stars left wing Brenden Morrow has recorded three goals and one assist against Los Angeles this season and leads the Stars with 16 points overall, but missed Wednesday's game with a groin injury. Right wing Jere Lehtinen has been sidelined for four consecutive games with a leg injury.
Both players are listed as day-to-day.
Modano leads the Stars with nine goals, but eight of those came in the first 12 games and he has just one in the last nine. He'll try to get back on track against the Kings, who are giving up 3.3 goals per game, tied for 25th in the league.
Los Angeles fell to 2-7-0 on the road with a 6-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday. Scott Thornton got the Kings on the board in the first period, but they gave up five unanswered goals to the Sharks and never recovered.
"Our guys have made some mistakes because we're young and inexperienced," Kings coach Marc Crawford said. "We're putting guys in positions maybe they're not ready (for), but in order to find out if they're ready, we have to put them in."
Alexander Frolov leads the Kings with 12 goals and 21 points, but hasn't recorded a point against the Stars this season.
Dan Cloutier was pulled on Wednesday after allowing five goals on 12 shots and has also struggled against the Stars. The goaltender is 4-10 with a 3.10 GAA in 16 career games versus Dallas, which is tied for his most losses against any opponent.
Mathieu Garon replaced Cloutier and has been between the pipes for two losses to Dallas this season.
The Stars have outscored Los Angeles 11-4 in their three matchups this season, but the Kings have won three of their last four visits to Dallas.