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Kings take three-game skid into game vs. Stars

by John Kreiser

KINGS (25-11-4) at STARS (19-12-7)


Last 10: Los Angeles 6-4-0; Dallas 5-3-2

Season series: This is the final game between the Los Angeles Kings and Dallas Stars this season, and the Kings' lone visit to American Airlines Center. Each team has a 5-2 win against the other at Staples Center, with the Stars winning in L.A. eight days ago.

Big story: The Kings end a grueling stretch of three games in four nights looking to end a three-game losing streak that began with the Dec. 23 home loss to the Stars. Dallas is 4-0-2 in its past six games and will play the third of a five-game homestand. The Stars have climbed within two points of the final postseason berth in the Western Conference.

Team Scope:

Kings: Los Angeles did an excellent job shutting down the high-scoring Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday at United Center, limiting the defending Stanley Cup champs to one goal. Unfortunately for the Kings, that was one more than they scored. L.A. was physical all night long, but 45 hits and 26 shots translated into zero goals in the 1-0 loss.

"I'm not going to lose any sleep over how we played," said coach Darryl Sutter, who would like to see a similar effort against the Stars. "Same type of performance -- try and score on some of your opportunities. It's not that hard to figure out."

Stars: Dallas overcame a 2-0 deficit Sunday, but saw a point get away when the St. Louis Blues won 3-2 in overtime. The best news at practice Monday was that veteran defenseman Sergei Gonchar was skating for the second day in a row, albeit while wearing a no-contact jersey. He has missed three games with concussion symptoms after being hit in the face by a puck Dec. 21.

"Hopefully, I am going to feel fine and skate some more tomorrow," Gonchar said. "I'll play as soon as I feel normal and I am in good shape. We are going to work towards that, and then I'll start playing."

The Stars could use him. They're also missing veteran defensemen Trevor Daley and Stephane Robidas due to injuries, and rookie Kevin Connauton took the penalty that led to the Blues' game-winning power-play goal in overtime.

Who's hot: Rookie Martin Jones has lost back-to-back decisions after winning his first eight starts, but has allowed 13 goals in 10 games since being called up. … Dallas captain Jamie Benn has goals in three consecutive games and four of the past five.

Injury report: Los Angeles is still without starting goaltender Jonathan Quick (groin), who's skating and getting closer to returning. … Gonchar, Daley (high ankle sprain) and Robidas (broken leg) are out for Dallas. Forward Alex Chiasson missed the game against St. Louis due to the flu.

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