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Kings-Stars Preview @NHL

The first of six meetings this season between the Los Angeles Kings and the Dallas Stars featured plenty of physical play.

It remains to be seen how much of that emotion will carry over into the next matchup.

Following a penalty-filled contest, the bottom two clubs in the Pacific Division conclude their home-and-home set in Dallas on Thursday.

Los Angeles (6-6-2) and Dallas (5-7-3) split their eight-game series in 2007-08, with each team winning three of four at home. In Tuesday game at Staples Center, the Kings emerged with a 3-2 shootout victory over the Stars.

Backup Erik Ersberg made 19 saves through overtime then turned aside four of five shots he faced in the tiebreaker, while Alexander Frolov scored in the fifth round. That helped Los Angeles cap its season-high seven-game homestand with a third straight victory.

Dallas, meanwhile, lost its second straight and finished 1-3-1 on its five-game road trip.

But Tuesday's matchup also featured several big hits. The clubs combined for 53 penalty minutes - the most since they totaled 70 in Dallas' 4-1 win at Los Angeles on Oct. 14, 2006.

Los Angeles captain Dustin Brown (20 minutes) and Dallas captain Brenden Morrow (17) received the bulk of the time in the box during the third period.

With a minute left in regulation, Brown received a five-minute boarding penalty and a game misconduct for checking Mike Ribeiro into the boards. In turn, Morrow initiated a fight with Brown that resulted in an instigator penalty and a game misconduct.

Brown was ejected, but the NHL rescinded both Morrow's automatic one-game suspension and Dallas coach Dave Tippett's $10,000 fine, according to the Stars' official Web site. League policy states that a fight instigated in the final five minutes of a contest results in the aforementioned penalties.

With Morrow expected back on Thursday, the Stars will try to get things going in their first home contest in over two weeks. Dallas is 2-1-2 at American Airlines Center thus far, and has won seven of its last eight there versus Los Angeles.

Thursday's contest also marks the home debut of right wing Jere Lehtinen, who scored in his return after missing the first 14 games because of a groin injury. He was also limited to 48 games in 2007-08 due to a sports hernia.

"You can just see him playing robotic, perfect defensive hockey out there," said Marty Turco, who is 9-2-3 with a 2.17 goals-against average in his last 14 contests versus the Kings. "And the kind of hockey we want to play, he emulates it to a T."

Dallas, though, seeks improvement on the power play as it has gone 2-for-24 in its last five games after faltering on all four chances versus the Kings. Los Angeles, meanwhile, converted on one of its five opportunities with the man advantage Tuesday and is 5-for-15 in those situations in its last three games.

The Kings have also been encouraged by the success of Ersberg, who has a 2.27 GAA during the season-best winning streak. He guided Los Angeles to its first shootout victory of the season, while improving to 2-1-0 with a 3.28 GAA in three all-time games versus the Stars.

"You have to get some stops in those situations against the top scorers in the game, and he came up pretty large for us," Kings coach Terry Murray said.

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