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Ducks Open Road Trip With Stars In Dallas

(Sports Network) - The Anaheim Ducks and Dallas Stars will both have plenty of chances to make up ground in the Western Conference playoff race over the next few weeks.

Two points tonight would still be big for either club.

The Ducks begin a key three-game road trip Wednesday aiming for a fourth straight victory, while the Stars close out a seven-game homestand at American Airlines Center.

Anaheim and Dallas come into this meeting with 85 points and 10 games left in the regular season. That has the clubs tied with Calgary for the eighth and final postseason spot in the conference, but also just one point back of Chicago in the standings as well. Nashville and Los Angeles are just three points ahead of the Stars and Ducks.

Those playoff-hopeful clubs will all get a good look at each other in the coming days. After this stop in Dallas, the Ducks also visit the Predators and Blackhawks on their road trip, while the Stars begin a five-game swing of their own on Saturday with stops in Nashville, Phoenix, San Jose, Los Angeles and Anaheim on the slate.

The Ducks picked up four big points over the weekend thanks to Corey Perry, who netted a pair of game-winning goals over the Kings and Flames in overtime. After leading his club to a 2-1 triumph in Los Angeles, he scored his second goal of Sunday's game with 2:22 remaining in the extra frame for a 5-4 victory over visiting Calgary.

Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Francois Beauchemin all scored in the first period to give Anaheim a quick lead, but Calgary recorded the next four goals. Teemu Selanne forced overtime with a goal to go along with two assists, while Getzlaf finished with a goal and three helpers.

"There was no panic on the bench," Perry said. "We knew we were making some mistakes that were uncharacteristic of ourselves. When you do you give up four goals, you don't feel good about yourself. There was still a positive attitude on bench. We scored three quick ones in the first and we knew could come back."

Dan Ellis ended with 37 saves for Anaheim, which has won eight of 10 and reached the 40-win mark for the sixth time in club history.

Though Getzlaf has five goals and 24 points over his past 17 games, Perry remains the club's most consistent threat. He is second in the NHL with a career-high 39 goals and has also set a new single-season best with 79 points. Perry has three goals and five assists in his last six games versus Dallas.

While the Ducks bring a winning streak into this key meeting, the Stars have lost three of their last four, including Saturday's 3-2 shootout setback to the Flyers. Dallas was able to earn the point despite trailing 2-0 during the second period.

Alex Goligoski and Stephane Robidas both scored, while Jamie Benn notched an assist to give him eight tallies and six helpers over a career-best 10-game point streak. Kari Lehtonen made 28 saves in his 13th straight start before yielding the winner in the shootout's sixth round.

"Any time you get a point this time of the year it's positive. No doubt it was an exciting point to be able to come back from a two-goal deficit," said Stars head coach Marc Crawford, whose club is still 7-2-3 in its last 12 games.

The Stars fell to 2-2-2 on their homestand and also lost a pair of defenseman to injury versus the Flyers in Karlis Skrastins (lacerated thigh) and Nicklas Grossman (knee). Grossman recently returned from a hip ailment and is doubtful for tonight, while Skrastins is questionable. Mark Fistric and Brad Lukowich would replace the duo in the lineup if both can't go tonight.

Forward Adam Burish missed his fourth game in a row with a leg ailment and is doubtful, though winger Loui Eriksson could return after missing the last two games with a head injury.

Benn, Burish and Eriksson all scored the last time Dallas and Anaheim squared off, but the Ducks got a hat trick from defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky in a 4-3 overtime win. Visnovsky capped his hat trick with 3.8 seconds left in OT and became the first blueliner in team history to notch a three-goal game.

Anaheim has won three of four over the Stars this year, but has lost four of five and 11 of its past 15 at Dallas.

 

For more Ducks news and information on tonight's game, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Anaheim Calling.