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Los Angeles Kings vs. Dallas Stars

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GAME: Los Angeles Kings (24-17-14-7) at Dallas Stars (30-22-10-0).

TIME: Wednesday, 8:30 p.m. EST.

A season-high eight-game homestand is coming at a good time for the Dallas Stars.

Dallas, chasing first place in the Pacific Division, looks to extend its home unbeaten streak to nine when it faces the Los Angeles Kings.

Strong play of late has moved the Stars into fifth place in the Western Conference and within six points of division-leading San Jose.

Dallas has been particularly good at home, going 6-0-2 there since a 4-2 loss to Colorado on Jan. 10. In those eight games, the Stars have outscored opponents 26-11, with 12 different players scoring goals.

In one of Dallas' most dominant games of the season, Marty Turco needed to make just 14 saves and Jere Lehtinen and Pierre Turgeon scored power-play goals in a 4-0 victory over visiting Anaheim on Sunday.

Mike Modano and Brenden Morrow also scored for the Stars, 11-3-2 in their last 16 games.

"Points are very valuable right now," Modano said. "We're getting contributions from all four lines. Early in the season, it was only a few guys. We're riding our depth. When we do that, we're a pretty productive team."

An effective power play has been one of the keys lately for Dallas, 9-for-30 with the man advantage in the last six contests. Four of Turgeon's nine goals this season have come in the last six games and on the power play.

"You get one, you get two, you get confidence in the plays you are making," Turgeon said.

The Stars are 17-0-3 in their last 20 games when they score the first goal.

The Kings have followed a five-game winless streak with consecutive wins over Columbus and Nashville to move within one point of Dallas for second in the Pacific.

Ian Laperriere had his second straight two-goal game and Cristobal Huet made 21 saves for his fourth career shutout Monday as Los Angeles beat Nashville 3-0.

"I couldn't tell you where we are in the standings right now, I just know that we got two points tonight," Kings coach Andy Murray said. "Every game the rest of the way is going to be like this, because even if you're playing against teams that are eliminated, when guys are playing for their jobs, that's a pretty desperate feeling as well."

With starting goalie Roman Cechmanek sidelined by a groin strain, Huet should make his third straight start Wednesday. Huet, 2-1-4 in his last seven decisions, has allowed just four goals in his past three starts.

STANDINGS (through Feb. 23): Kings - 69 points, 3rd place, 7 PB, Pacific Division. Stars - 70 points, 2nd place, 6 PB, Pacific Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Kings - Alexander Frolov, 19 goals; Jozef Stumpel, 26 assists; Ziggy Palffy, 41 points; Sean Avery, 218 PIM. Stars - Bill Guerin, 24 goals and 46 points; Sergei Zubov, 30 assists; Steve Ott, 123 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Feb. 23): Kings - Power play: 14.2 percent (39 for 274), 24th in NHL. Penalty killing: 80.4 percent (222 for 276), 29th. Stars - Power play: 17.1 percent (43 for 251), 11th. Penalty killing: 85.2 percent (201 for 236), 9th.

GOALTENDERS: Kings - Huet (6-7-8, 3 SO, 2.51 GAA); Mathieu Chouinard (no appearances). Stars - Turco (28-19-10, 6, 2.06); Ron Tugnutt (1-3-0, 2.57).

SEASON SERIES: 2-2-1.

LAST MEETING: Feb. 18; Stars, 4-3. At Los Angeles, Modano recorded his first two-goal game of the season and Dan Ellis stopped 25 shots to win his NHL debut for Dallas.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Kings - 12-8-6-6 on the road; Stars - 18-6-6-0 at home.


Associated Press
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