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Stars-Mighty Ducks Preview @NHLdotcom

GAME: Dallas Stars (49-21-5) at Anaheim Mighty Ducks (40-23-12).

TIME: Thursday, 10:30 p.m. EDT.

The Dallas Stars are limping toward their seventh division title in the last nine years.

Dallas looks to win the Pacific Division crown as it tries to end a season high-tying three-game losing streak in a matchup with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.

After winning eight of nine games, the Stars have dropped three straight to division rivals Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose. The Ducks have won three in a row over that span to prevent Dallas from clinching, but a victory Thursday by the Stars will give them the division title.

Playing their fourth game in six days Monday, the Stars looked sluggish in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Sharks, who are two points out of the last playoff spot in the Western Conference.

"It's a challenge when we're playing desperate teams," Dallas coach Dave Tippett said. "We looked tired. Even when we were pushing, we looked tired. We have to get the guys some rest. But I think this adversity can be good for us if we use it to our advantage."

Dallas, opening a three-game road trip, plays five of its last seven regular-season contests away from home.

"We're just going to enjoy (Tuesday and Wednesday) off to get ready to come back and get on the road and compete the way we can for 60 minutes," Stars goalie Marty Turco said. "That's what it's all about now."

Anaheim has been led during its three-game win streak by center Samuel Pahlsson, who has scored five goals during the run. Pahlsson had 22 goals in 272 contests coming into 2005-06, but his second straight two-goal game in Tuesday's 6-2 win over Los Angeles gave him 11 on the season.

The victory was the Ducks' franchise-record seventh straight at home and ninth in their last 11 games overall, and moved them into fifth place in the West.

"We are just playing so well right now, and we have lots of confidence," said Teemu Selanne, who had two goals and two assists against the Kings to give him 22 points in his last 10 games. "This team is unbelievable right now. Every line is doing their job."

After completing a four-game homestand against Dallas, the Ducks play five straight on the road - all against teams still competing to make the playoffs. They conclude the regular season at home against Calgary on April 17.

STANDINGS: Stars - 103 points, 1st place, Pacific Division. Mighty Ducks - 92 points, 2nd place, 11 PB, Pacific Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Stars - Jere Lehtinen, 32 goals; Sergei Zubov, 53 assists; Mike Modano, 73 points; Brenden Morrow, 173 PIM. Mighty Ducks - Selanne, 38 goals and 84 points; Scott Niedermayer, 48 assists; Todd Fedoruk, 169 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Stars - Power play: 17.3 percent (80 for 462), 21st in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.1 percent (385 for 458), 8th. Mighty Ducks - Power play: 18.2 percent (79 for 434), 12th. Penalty killing: 84.1 percent (391 for 465), 8th.

GOALTENDERS: Stars - Turco (39-17-5, 3 SO, 2.52 GAA); Johan Hedberg (10-4-0, 2.56). Mighty Ducks - Jean-Sebastien Giguere (27-12-11, 2, 2.60); Ilya Bryzgalov (13-11-1, 1, 2.53).

SEASON SERIES: Stars, 5-2.

LAST MEETING: Friday; Mighty Ducks, 5-4 (SO). At Anaheim, Calif., the Ducks tied the game at 17:21 of the third period on a goal by Fedoruk, and Rob Niedermayer and Jonathan Hedstrom scored in the shootout to give Dallas its first loss in 12 shootouts this season.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Stars - 23-10-3 on the road; Mighty Ducks - 25-9-5 at home.

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