Published April 01, 2013
| Sports Network
The Dallas Stars hope that this upcoming three-game stretch against the Anaheim Ducks isn't the closest thing they get to a playoff series this season.
The Stars try to close out a five-game homestand with a victory on Monday night as they play the first of three games over five days versus the Ducks.
Dallas has split the first four of its residency and will visit Anaheim for two straight on Wednesday and Friday following this matchup. It marks the first time that the Stars will play the same opponent in three straight during the regular season since they relocated from Minnesota.
Anaheim, meanwhile, closes out a four-game road trip with Monday's game and its home meeting with Dallas on Wednesday will kick off a five-game residency.
This will mark the second time in the Ducks' history that they will play three in a row during the regular season against the same team. Anaheim went 1-0-2 over a three-game span versus the Phoenix Coyotes on March 2-6, losing a pair of shootout games on the road before a home victory.
The Stars and Ducks have split two earlier meetings this season in Dallas, with Anaheim picking up a 2-1 shootout win in the most recent encounter on March 14 thanks to shootout goals by Bobby Ryan and Ryan Getzlaf.
However, the Stars are 5-0-2 in their last seven at home versus the Ducks and have taken eight of the previous 12 meetings overall.
Dallas will try to extend that recent success against the Western Conference's current second-place club and get itself back into the playoff picture. The Stars are tied for 10th in the West with 35 points, two back of the Columbus Blue Jackets for the eighth spot.
The Stars failed to win consecutive games for the first time since March 3-7 with Sunday's 3-2 loss to Los Angeles. Kari Lehtonen made 37 saves to keep Dallas in the game, but the Kings scored just 25 seconds into the contest and outshot the Stars 31-8 through the first two periods.
"It was like teams from two different leagues tonight, and they were back-to- back, so thank the Lord that they weren't fresh," Dallas coach Glen Gulutzan said. "We're fighting for our lives here. After an embarrassing outing in front of our home fans like that, we better come out hard tomorrow."
Jamie Benn and Ray Whitney both scored in a second straight game, while Derek Roy had an assist to give him six points over his past four games.
Center Vernon Fiddler missed the game with a charley horse and is day-to-day.
The Ducks didn't give the Stars much help on Sunday as their 2-1 overtime setback to Columbus allowed the Blue Jackets to jump into the eighth spot in the West.
Anaheim lost for the fifth time in its last six games, but was able to earn a point thanks to Emerson Etem's game-tying goal 5:55 into the third. The Ducks outshot the Blue Jackets 17-1 in the final period of regulation, but failed to net the go-ahead goal and then allowed the winner with 1:00 left in overtime.
"You obviously don't like the result," Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I'm just frustrated. We played well and we keep pushing and pushing and we're missing opportunities."
Jonas Hiller had 16 saves in the setback, which dropped Anaheim to 16-5-4 in its past 25 games.
That run has the Ducks eight points in front of the Kings for first place in the Pacific Division and four points behind the Chicago Blackhawks for the top seed in the conference.