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Stars aim to extend point streak against Kings

by Davis Harper

STARS (17-12-6) at KINGS (25-8-4)


Last 10: Dallas 5-3-2; Los Angeles 9-1-0

Season series: This is the second of three games between these former Pacific Division rivals. In the first game at Staples Center on Oct. 20, Justin Williams scored twice to help the Los Angeles Kings beat the Dallas Stars, 5-2.

Big story: The Kings will try to continue the best start in franchise history when they welcome the Stars on Monday. That record pace has been set, in part, by the emergence of rookie goaltender Martin Jones (8-0-0, 0.98 goals-against average), who could set a record with his ninth straight win to begin a career.

''Honestly, I don't even know what the record is,'' Jones said. ''It's a good start and it's something to build off of. I just wanted to make sure I came in here and did the things that made me successful in the past."

The Stars won't make it easy. Winners of two straight before a shootout loss to the San Jose Sharks on Saturday, Dallas will look for points in a season-high fourth straight game.

Team Scope:

Stars: After handing the Vancouver Canucks their only regulation loss of December, a stretch of 10 games, this past Thursday, Dallas again suffered from the lapses in concentration that are keeping it from joining the Western Conference elite. The Stars jumped out to an early 2-0 advantage, through goals from Ray Whitney and Antoine Roussel, but allowed the Sharks to even the game and ultimately win the shootout.

"It's always frustrating to lose and tonight it felt deeper for whatever reason," Roussel said. "They push back and find a way to win. That's why they keep going to the playoffs every year. It's still a learning curve for us. We played a great game but we couldn't get the big bounce."

Adding to the Stars' defensive injury woes is the absence of Sergei Gonchar, who left the game Saturday after taking a puck to the face. The Stars announced Sunday that the defenseman will miss 7-10 days.

"He's all right," coach Lindy Ruff told the Dallas Morning News after the game. "He took a puck to the face and isn't feeling well, so he has to stay out for a while probably."

Kings: Jones is trying to remain humble in the face of mind-boggling statistics.

''Everything is more magnified up here, so it's good to keep level," Jones said. "It's been fun, but I want to make sure I stay focused and prepared for the next game, and you can't do that by thinking about the last game.''

The Kings have won three straight and nine of 10, including a 3-2 shootout victory Saturday against the Colorado Avalanche. Jeff Carter and Justin Williams scored in regulation before Anze Kopitar sealed it in the shootout. Jones has not allowed a single conversion in 12 shootout attempts.

Who's hot: Williams scored his team-leading 12th goal of the season against Colorado. He has 25 points (12 goals, 13 assists) in 29 career games against Dallas.

Injury report: In addition to Gonchar, Stars defensemen Aaron Rome (lower body), Trevor Daley (ankle) and Stephane Robidas (leg) are all on injured reserve. … Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell (upper body) is day-to-day, while Quick (groin) is expected back in late December/early January.

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