Ducks Can Clinch Playoff Berth With Home Win Over Stars

(Sports Network) - The Anaheim Ducks will try to clinch a playoff berth while also delivering a big blow to the sliding Dallas Stars' postseason hopes, as the Pacific Division rivals meet tonight at the Honda Center in Orange County.

The Ducks are currently holding onto the seventh of the West's eight playoff seeds, but Anaheim is also just one point ahead of Chicago, which plays today against Tampa Bay.

Anaheim can clinch a postseason berth tonight if it defeats the Stars in regulation. That result would also give the idle Los Angeles Kings a spot in the postseason. The Phoenix Coyotes, who are also off today, could clinch a playoff spot if the Ducks earn a win of any kind against Dallas.

Dallas is on much thinner ice, however, as the Stars are five points in back of the Blackhawks with five games to play.

Anaheim has won four out of five meetings with the Stars this season, but the last three encounters have been decided by just one goal. The Ducks claimed the two most recent matchups by a 4-3 score in overtime.

The Ducks have taken five of seven from the Stars overall and Dallas has lost four straight and five of its last six trips to Anaheim.

With the way the club has been playing in recent weeks, it's a wonder that the Stars are still alive at all in the postseason race. Dallas is currently suffering through a six-game slide and is just 1-5-3 over its last nine tilts.

The Stars were handed a 3-1 loss Saturday in Los Angeles, as Matt Greene's goal with 7:10 to play in the third helped lifted the Kings to the home win.

Brad Richards had the lone goal for Dallas, while Kari Lehtonen stopped 29- of-31 shots in the loss.

"We're still alive and kicking and you just have to believe that your luck is going to change," said Dallas head coach Marc Crawford. "It was a very even game and they caught the break and we didn't, end of story."

Dallas is 0-3-1 on a five-game road trip that ends today and is 18-17-3 as the visiting club this season.

The Ducks had a three-game winning streak halted Saturday in San Jose, as they dropped a 4-2 decision to the Sharks. Devin Setoguchi scored the go-ahead goal for San Jose on a power play with 5:21 remaining in the third period.

Bobby Ryan and Lubomir Visnovsky scored first-period goals for the Ducks. Ray Emery stopped all six shots he saw in the first period for Anaheim, but allowed three goals on 26 shots the rest of the way.

Anaheim is kicking off a three-game homestand tonight and has a solid 24-12-2 record as the host this season.

For more Ducks news and information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Anaheim Calling.

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