After ending their longest losing streak of the season, the Dallas Stars look to extend a much better run when they meet the Los Angeles Kings at American Airlines Center on Sunday.
The Stars (39-23-5) are among several teams trying to secure a playoff spot in the tightly-contested Western Conference, but a four-game skid temporarily put their postseason chances in question. Dallas finally got back on track Friday as Marty Turco stopped 30 shots in a 3-0 win over Columbus.
"We got challenged by the coaching staff," said defenseman Philippe Boucher, who had two assists and leads the Stars with 45 points. "We realized that our backs were a little bit against the wall, and it's time to wake up.
"You have to realize there's no time for that and that you have to bring your 'A' game every night. This was pretty close to our 'A' game."
The shutout was Turco's fifth of the season and 29th of his career.
"It's the best I've felt in a while," said Turco, who's posted a 1.38 goals-against average while winning his last five starts against the Kings. "I'm pretty sure it's going to be there to stay."
Turco's strong play has helped the Stars win all six meetings with the Kings (22-34-12) this season, including a 3-1 victory in their last matchup on Jan. 15. Dallas is outscoring Los Angeles 22-11 while converting 28.2 percent (11-for-39) of its power-play chances.
The Kings have lost four in a row, the last two in overtime, including Friday's 3-2 defeat to Detroit. Los Angeles is last in the Western Conference, but having just played a team out of the postseason picture, the Stars aren't looking past anyone.
"Those teams that aren't making the playoffs are hard to play against," forward Mike Ribeiro said of the Blue Jackets. "They are teams that are getting better as the season goes on, and working harder. ... We'll take those two points and look forward now."
The Kings will try to move forward after giving up a season high 54 shots on goal, including 26 in the third period. Sean Burke finished with 51 saves while Raitis Ivanans and Brian Willsie scored.
"We worked hard and our goaltender gave us a great effort," Kings defenseman Aaron Miller said. "We were in our end most of the last two periods."
The Kings will need another strong effort against Dallas center Mike Modano, who's 34 goals are the most he's scored against any opponent. Modano needs two goals for 500 in his career.
Los Angeles may be without defenseman Rob Blake (groin) and rookie center Anze Kopitar (muscle strain), who have both missed time recently with injuries. Kopitar is third among rookies in scoring with 58 points.