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Stars head home with hopes of getting back in series

by John Kreiser


(Anaheim leads best-of-7 series, 2-0)


Big story: Stanley Cup Playoff hockey returns to American Airlines Center on Monday for the first time since May 19, 2008, and the Dallas Stars are counting on a boost from their home fans to help them get back into the series after a pair of one-goal losses to the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center. The Stars have to avoid poor starts; they trailed 4-0 in Game 1 and 3-1 in Game 2 and came up a goal short each time.

"I thought we've played some pretty good hockey, just not good enough," Dallas captain Jamie Benn told the media Sunday. "We've got to go that extra step and find a way to win."

Team Scope:

Ducks: Matt Beleskey has been a good fit on the first line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, but he sat out Game 2 with a lower-body injury and isn't likely to dress for Game 3, although he did make the trip to Dallas.

"If he plays tomorrow, it's a miracle," coach Bruce Boudreau said Sunday at practice in Dallas, according to Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register.

The Ducks called up forward Emerson Etem from their American Hockey League affiliate in Norfolk on Sunday. They also brought back defenseman Marc Fistric from a rehab assignment with Norfolk, and sent goaltender John Gibson and defenseman Sami Vatanen to the Admirals. Boudreau didn't say whether Etem would dress or how he might be used.

Stars: It's been nearly six years since Dallas hosted a playoff game, and the Stars are expecting a revved-up crowd. In their first home game since April 11, the night they shut out the St. Louis Blues to clinch their first playoff berth since 2008.

"I think players really embrace it. Fans have been tremendous down the stretch," coach Lindy Ruff told the media after practice Sunday. "I think what really typified it was the [Mike] Modano night where you end up coming back and winning a game like that on home ice and you feel that electricity in the building. I think again [Monday], our fans are getting a playoff treat and our players are getting an opportunity to play in front of them, and I think as much as our players got to see the energy in Anaheim's building, we’ll get to embrace that energy in our building."

The Stars are likely to be without defenseman Brenden Dillon for a third straight game. He has yet to play in this series due to a lower-body injury, though he skated Sunday before practice.

Who's hot: Getzlaf had a goal and an assist in each of the two games in Anaheim. … Dallas captain Jamie Benn had points in each game at Honda Center.

Injury report: In addition to the likely absence of Beleskey, the Ducks will be without fourth-line forward Tim Jackman (broken hand). … Dillon is unlikely to be ready but is making progress, Ruff said Sunday.

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