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Los Angeles Kings vs. Dallas Stars @NHL
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GAME: Los Angeles Kings (5-2-0) at Dallas Stars (4-2-0).

TIME: Thursday, 8:30 p.m. EDT.

The Dallas Stars are making the most of their opportunities this season.

The Stars hope their offensive production continues when they begin a four-game homestand against the first-place Los Angeles Kings.

Dallas is generating only 23 shots per game to rank near the bottom of the NHL. Despite that low total, the Stars are averaging three goals per contest and had won three straight before a 5-2 loss at Vancouver on Sunday.

Jere Lehtinen scored twice for the Stars, who hurt themselves by committing 12 penalties that led to 11 power plays for the Canucks.

"It's frustrating to lose that type of game that way, but it's the way the game is being called," Dallas captain Mike Modano said. "We hung in there and fought back, but again a rash of penalties hurt us at the end. Constantly killing (penalties) all night long, it takes a toll on you."

Modano has scored just once in the first six games and has three goals over his last 23 contests. He does, however, have six assists and a team-best seven points.

Modano's line with Lehtinen and rookie Jussi Jokinen has 15 points, tying it with the top unit of Jason Arnott, Bill Guerin and Brenden Morrow.

Los Angeles rallied from a three-goal deficit for a 5-4 victory at Colorado on Wednesday.

Craig Conroy scored the game-winner - his first goal of the season with 58 seconds left in regulation.

Pavol Demitra scored twice, including a second-period goal that triggered Los Angeles' comeback from a 4-1 deficit. Conroy, who had just one point in the Kings' first three games, added three assists.

"We have a team with a strong work ethic," Kings coach Andy Murray said. "We weren't going to sit back no matter what the score was. We had to force the issue."

Goaltender Mathieu Garon evened his record at 2-2 despite allowing four goals on 21 shots.

Garon has been outplayed in the early part of the season by Jason LaBarbera, who has won all three starts while stopping 69 of 73 shots. LaBarbera is expected to start Thursday.

Kings left wing Luc Robitaille returned on Wednesday after missing one game with a groin injury and had no points and one shot on goal.

STANDINGS: Kings - 10 points, 1st place, Pacific Division. Stars - 8 points, 2nd place, 2 PB, Pacific Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Kings - Demitra, 4 goals and 7 points; Derek Armstrong, Tim Gleason and Lubomir Visnovsky, 5 assists; George Parros, 19 PIM. Stars - Lehtinen, 4 goals; Modano, 6 assists and 7 points; Arnott, 25 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Oct. 18): Kings - Power play: 17.5 percent (7 for 40), 14th in NHL. Penalty killing: 89.5 percent (34 for 38), 6th. Stars - Power play: 14.7 percent (5 for 34), 20th. Penalty killing: 82.9 percent (34 for 41), 16th.

GOALTENDERS: Kings - Garon (2-2-0, 0 SO, 3.24 GAA); LaBarbera (3-0-0, 1.33). Stars - Marty Turco (3-2-0, 3.16); Johan Hedberg (1-0-0, 2.00).

SEASON SERIES: Stars, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Oct. 5; Stars, 5-4. At Dallas, Sergei Zubov scored twice and Philippe Boucher scored the game-winner with just under five minutes remaining as the Stars rallied from a 4-0 deficit after one period. Jeremy Roenick scored had two goals for the Kings.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Kings - 1-1-0 on the road; Stars - 2-1-0 at home.

Associated Press

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