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Stars face Ducks seeking fifth straight win

Dallas can clinch Central, No. 1 seed in West with some help

by Abbey Mastracco / Correspondent

STARS (48-22-9) at DUCKS (43-24-10)


ANAHEIM -- The Dallas Stars have a chance to win the Central Division and clinch the top spot in the Western Conference with a win against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on Sunday. 

The Stars, who also need the St. Louis Blues to lose to the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday in order to clinch their division and the No. 1 seed in the West, have won four straight games and seven of their past eight (7-1-0), including a 3-2 win at the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday. Jamie Benn scored his 41st goal of the season; he ranks second in the NHL behind Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals.

Dallas will test its hot penalty kill against the NHL's best power play. The Stars have allowed one power-play goal over the past seven games and are 40-for-42 (95.2 percent) on the penalty kill over the past 14 games, but Anaheim has the top power play in the League (23.4 percent) and has scored with the man-advantage in three of the past five games. 

The Ducks remain one point back from Los Angeles in the Pacific Division standings.

"This is the best team (in the Western Conference) for a reason and they have the most points," Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano said of the Stars. "If we can play at a high level against them and compete with them, I think we'll show that we've come a long way through the season. Lately, we haven't done that. I don't know, for whatever reason, we haven't played nearly as good defensively as we need to. We're going to need to do that [tonight]."

Cogliano will skate in his 700th consecutive game, becoming the first player since Doug Jarvis to start a career with a streak of 700 games or more. Cogliano is the NHL's active leader in consecutive games played and owns the sixth-longest streak in history. 

The Stars did not skate Sunday morning. The Ducks held an optional morning skate.

Here are the projected lineups:


Jamie Benn - Cody Eakin - Patrick Sharp

Travis Moen - Jason Spezza - Valeri Nichushkin  

Antoine Roussel - Radek Faksa - Ales Hemsky

Colton Sceviour - Vernon Fiddler - Patrick Eaves

Alex Goligoski - John Klingberg

Patrik Nemeth - Jordie Benn  

Johnny Oduya - Stephen Johns

Antti Niemi

Kari Lehtonen

Injured: Kris Russell (lower body), Jason Demers (lower body), Tyler Seguin (Achilles), Brett Ritchie (lower body), Mattias Janmark (upper body)

Scratched: Jamie Oleksiak



Jamie McGinn - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry

Andrew Cogliano - Ryan Kesler - Jakob Silfverberg

Mike Santorelli - Shawn Horcoff - Chris Stewart

Ryan Garbutt - Nate Thompson - Chris Wagner

Cam Fowler - Korbinian Holzer

Hampus Lindholm - Josh Manson

Clayton Stoner - Sami Vatanen  

John Gibson

Anton Khudobin

Injured: Frederik Andersen (concussion), Kevin Bieksa (upper body), Simon Despres (undisclosed), David Perron (shoulder), Brandon Pirri (lower body), Rickard Rakell (appendix)

Scratched: None

Status report: The Ducks reassigned defenseman Shea Theodore to San Diego of the American Hockey League. With Lindholm back and Bieksa and Desres nearing returns, the Ducks wanted Theodore available for the Calder Cup Playoffs… Pirri was ruled out with a lower-body injury after getting hit on the boards by Nikita Tryamkin of the Vancouver Canucks in the second period Friday. He is expected to be replaced by Santorelli, who played on the left side of the third line earlier this season. … Following the game on Saturday, Ruff said Janmark would be unavailable for the game Sunday. He left in the third period with an upper-body injury. 

Who's hot: McGinn has three goals and three assists in the past five games, Getzlaf has four assists and a goal in the past five games, and Perry has eight points in the past three games. Silfverberg has nine goals and three assists in the past 10 games. … Sharp has a point in each of the past four games, and Jamie Benn has 18 points in the past 15 games.

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