Kings vs. Stars Preview
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The Pacific Division rivals look to further solidify their playoff position Sunday as the Stars try to beat the visiting Kings for the second time in a week.
With the division and conference races seemingly changing every day, the only thing Dallas (37-23-8) and Los Angeles can do is try to continue playing well.
According to NHL odds and oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Stars -109 money line favorites for Sunday's game against the Kings. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 66& of more than 129 bets for this game have been placed on the Stars -109.
"It's that time of year and the way the standings are, every point counts," defenseman Trevor Daley told the Stars' official website. "You need to get your two points, you need to worry about your own business."
While the Kings (38-25-5) are 14-3-4 since losing 10 of 12, the Stars are 6-0-2 since dropping 11 of 13. Dallas has 82 points, one more than Los Angeles, and both teams are chasing division leader San Jose.
"We look at the standings, we know where we are, we know how important every game is," Kings forward Justin Williams said. "It doesn't matter who we play."
Williams' attitude might change Sunday.
Though the teams have split the four previous games this season, Dallas won the last two. Brenden Morrow scored 38 seconds into overtime as the Stars overcame three one-goal deficits in a 4-3 overtime win over the Los Angeles Kings on Monday.
Dallas, 21-5-8 in one-goal games this season, beat the Kings 2-1 in the teams' last meeting in Texas on Jan. 17.
"It's going to be exciting, they're always tough games," said Dallas' Kari Lehtonen, who made 20 saves Monday. "We kind of stole one from them last time in L.A., so they're going to come hard, and we just have to keep working and be ready and play our game, and try to get the win."
Lehtonen needed to make just 14 saves for his first shutout of the season in Friday's 4-0 victory over Minnesota.
The veteran netminder has a 2.08 goals-against average the last eight games, and a 2.96 GAA while starting all four games versus Los Angeles this season.
Dallas' Jamie Benn scored one of his two goals against the Kings this season Monday. The second-year winger hopes to extend his overall goal streak to seven games Sunday.
The Stars have averaged 3.4 goals in their last eight contests - much of that without leading scorer Brad Richards, who has played two games since missing 10 with concussion-like symptoms.
Los Angeles has scored four goals in half of its last eight, including Friday's 4-2 win at Columbus.
Anze Kopitar tallied his second career hat trick to help the Kings open a four-game trip with two straight victories.
"It was great, getting a great start to this road trip, two straight, and now we're going to look to get three," Williams said.
Kopitar has four goals on the trip after recording two assists versus Dallas. His first three-goal game came against Dallas on Oct. 22, 2009.
Williams has two goals and five assists in the last four contests, including one of each against the Stars.
After Jonathan Bernier stopped 32 shots at Columbus, Jonathan Quick could be back in net trying to improve on his 2-0-0 record and 1.50 GAA against the Stars this season.
Bernier, who made 18 saves Monday, is 0-1-1 with a 3.02 GAA versus Dallas in 2010-11.
The teams conclude their season series in Los Angeles on April 2.