NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, March 23rd (All times eastern)
Dallas Stars (44-24-5) at Anaheim Ducks (43-19-12), 10 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Anaheim Ducks will attempt to hold on to their tenuous grasp on first place in the Pacific Division when the slumping club takes on the Dallas Stars tonight in a crucial late-season battle from the Honda Center.
Anaheim's edge atop the division shrunk to two points after second-place San Jose came through with a huge 5-1 victory at Atlanta last night. Dallas is also right in the mix in the Pacific race, as the Stars enter this evening's showdown just five points off the pace.
The Ducks helped the Sharks close the gap by dropping a 2-1 decision to lowly Phoenix on Thursday. Jeff Taffe and Bill Thomas each netted second-period goals for the Coyotes, while Curtis Joseph made the lead stand by stopping 22- of-23 shots.
Travis Moen had the lone tally for Anaheim, which lost for the third time in its last four outings, while Ilya Bryzgalov finished with 19 saves.
Anaheim also missed out on a chance to establish new franchise records for wins and points in a season. The 2005-06 Ducks set the bar by going 43-27-12 for a total of 98 points a year ago.
While the Ducks have been struggling recently, Dallas is playing excellent hockey as of late. The Stars notched their sixth victory in their last seven games with Wednesday's 4-2 decision over Los Angeles at the Staples Center.
Dallas rallied from a 2-1 deficit by erupting for three third-period goals. Krys Barch netted the go-ahead tally 4:11 into the final frame, while Jeff Halpern sealed the comeback with an empty-netter in the last minute of play.
Mike Ribeiro and Antti Miettinen also had goals for the Stars, who have won all eight meetings with the Kings this season. Mike Modano assisted on Ribeiro's marker and now has amassed five goals and three helpers during a six-game scoring streak.
Dallas presently owns the seventh seed in the Western Conference playoff chase but is just two points back of sixth-place Minnesota and three behind San Jose for the No. 5 spot.
The Stars will be playing the second of three straight road games tonight. Dallas, which owns a 19-14-3 mark away from home, completes the trek Saturday against Phoenix.
These divisional rivals have split six meetings so far this season, with the Ducks taking two of the three matchups held in Anaheim. The teams will also face off in Dallas on April 6.
03/23 10:36:07 ET