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Stars try to end losing streak against surging Flyers

by Adam Kimelman

STARS (32-25-11) at FLYERS (36-25-7)


Last 10: Dallas 5-4-1; Philadelphia 7-2-1

Season series: It's the second and final time the Dallas Stars and Philadelphia Flyers will play this season. On Dec. 7 Stars center Tyler Seguin had a natural hat trick in the second period en route to a 5-1 win at American Airlines Center.

Big story: The Stars have lost three in a row and are desperate to make up the two points separating them from the final Western Conference wild-card spot into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Flyers have won three straight and six of their past eight, and enter the night second in the Metropolitan Division. But despite their surge, they haven't been able to put any significant distance between themselves and the teams chasing them for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Team Scope:

Stars: The Stars have picked the wrong time to have a losing streak.

After their 5-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday, their third straight, they were left on the outside of the Stanley Cup Playoff chase, two points behind the Phoenix Coyotes for the final wild-card spot in the West.

Kari Lehtonen was in goal for the first time after missing a week with a concussion. He made 27 saves on 32 shots and coach Lindy Ruff said his goaltender was "just OK," but also said, "Coming off injury it was good to get him back in, get him going."

However, Ruff looks like he will go with Tim Thomas against the Flyers. Lehtonen is 0-10-2 with a 3.50 goals-against average and .891 save percentage in 12 career games against Philadelphia. Thomas is 14-4-2 with a 2.21 GAA and .934 save percentage in 20 games against the Flyers.

Flyers: March roared in like a lion for the Flyers, but so far they've done a nice job of taming the beast.

Their 3-2 overtime win against the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday improved them to 6-1-1 on the month, and they've won three in a row -- a sweep last weekend of the rival Pittsburgh Penguins and then the win against the defending Stanley Cup champions.

The rest of the month doesn't get any easier, but right now the Flyers are as feeling as good as they have all season.

"We've had stretches like this before but we're pretty confident right now," coach Craig Berube said. "They realize the situation they are in and what needs to be done. You're going to beat some really good teams to get through it. It shows we can beat good teams. Playing good teams down the stretch builds confidence. You got to win them because of the situation we’re in."

Who's hot: Seguin has points in six straight games for the Stars, a span that has seen him total six goals and six assists. … Flyers captain Claude Giroux has seven points in his past four games, and has at least two points in three in a row.

Injury report: Stars center Rich Peverley underwent corrective heart surgery Tuesday and will miss the rest of the season. Center Shawn Horcoff (upper body) is doubtful. … The Flyers have no reported injuries.

Follow Adam Kimelman on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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