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Stars, Flames set to finish home-and-home series

by Brian Compton
STARS (41-29-5) at FLAMES (34-27-15)


Last 10: Dallas 7-3-0; Calgary 5-2-3

Season Series: This is the fourth and final meeting between the teams. Dallas has won all three showdowns thus far, although two of them went past regulation.

Big Story: Another huge game for both teams and the second of a home-and-home series after the Stars earned a 4-1 win against the Flames at the American Airlines Center on Saturday afternoon. Dallas entered Sunday's action atop the Pacific Division, but was also tied with Phoenix at 87 points apiece. Calgary, meanwhile, was three points behind Los Angeles for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Team Scope:

Stars: Monday marks the beginning of a crucial four-game road trip for the Stars, who concluded their four-game homestand with Saturday's victory. The club was carried by goaltender Kari Lehtonen, who made 35 saves to help the Stars move back into first place in the Pacific.

"That was fun," said Lehtonen, who improved his season record to 31-17-4 and also had an assist. "I didn't feel like I've been at my best the last three games, so it was nice to be able to help out and get some good saves. It's great to get two points. These are some important games. We just have to keep going. We can be happy about this today and start focusing tomorrow on another big one coming up."

Flames: Calgary will be looking to snap a five-game losing streak, although it has managed points in three of those defeats. That has enabled the Flames to stay in the race, but they know they're going to need to come up big on this three-game homestand if they plan on extending their season beyond April 7.

"We realize out of six games, we most likely have to win them all," captain Jarome Iginla said. "Our chances are slim. We most likely have to run the table. But we won't give up."

Who's Hot: Jamie Benn has three goals in his last five games for the Stars, while Michael Ryder is 3-1-4 in his last three. … Flames forward Mike Cammalleri has a four-game point streak (2 goals, 2 assists).

Injury Report: Stars defenseman Marc Fistric (abdominal strain) isn't likely to return until Wednesday at Edmonton. … Flames blueliners T.J. Brodie (upper body) and Derek Smith (upper body) are day-to-day. Cory Sarich (upper body) and Mikael Backlund (shoulder) are out.

Stat Pack: Five of the Stars' remaining seven games will be played on the road. … Calgary has scored only six goals in its last five contests.

Puck Drop: "I think you have great goalies and you have elite goalies and why we're saying Kari's elite is because his level of play is rising in important games. They threw a lot of bodies at him and there's going to be more, but he's a big guy, he fights through it. He looked like he was in the zone, catching pucks with guys in front of him, giving our team a lot of confidence. You see a different level coming out of Kari right now. It's a great thing." -- Stars coach Glen Gulutzan on Kari Lehtonen 
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