Ducks vs. Stars NHL Preview

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Dallas, TX (AP) - The implications are obvious Wednesday night when the Dallas Stars host the Anaheim Ducks.

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Both teams have 85 points as part of a three-way tie for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot heading into the fifth matchup of the season between these Pacific Division rivals.

According to NHL odds and oddsmakers from online sports book have made the Stars -140 money line favorites for Wednesday's game against the Ducks. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 53% of more than  bets for this game have been placed on the Ducks +129.

Dallas (38-25-9) and Anaheim (40-27-5) are tied with Calgary, although both the Stars and Ducks have three games in hand over the Flames. Anaheim is the hotter of these two teams, riding an 8-2-0 stretch while Dallas has lost three of four.

The Ducks have won three of four against the Stars, and these teams will meet for the final time in Anaheim on April 3.

"It's unbelievable how tight it is, but it's exciting," Ducks veteran winger Teemu Selanne said. "Everything is in our own hands, so if you can't do it, you can only blame yourself."

Dallas has had trouble slowing down a number of Anaheim skaters. Lubomir Visnovsky has eight points in the season series, Selanne and Ryan Getzlaf have six apiece and Bobby Ryan and Corey Perry five each.

Brad Richards and Loui Eriksson each have four points against Anaheim, but the Stars' other two 20-goal scorers - Brenden Morrow and Jamie Benn - have combined for three points in the season series.

Kari Lehtonen has started all four games against Anaheim, going 1-2-1 with a 3.20 goals-against average.

With Jonas Hiller still out due to dizziness, Dan Ellis is the likely choice in goal for the Ducks over veteran Ray Emery. Ellis, a former second-round pick by Dallas, made 23 saves March 4 in a 4-3 overtime win to improve to 6-4-0 with a 2.47 GAA in 10 career starts against the Stars.

The Ducks have posted three straight one-goal wins, including two in overtime over the weekend. Perry scored the game-winners in a 2-1 victory at Los Angeles on Saturday and a 5-4 home win over Calgary on Sunday.

Perry has eight goals and three assists over the past six games.

"I think Corey Perry looks at himself - and we've always stated that - as a guy you can ask for more because he has more," coach Randy Carlyle said. "He feels that responsibility that he can provide more. That's really the sign of a true elite-level player."

The Stars are wrapping up a seven-game homestand after going 2-2-2 in the first six games. They rallied from a two-goal deficit before falling 3-2 in a shootout to Philadelphia on Saturday.

"Any time you get a point this time of the year, it's positive," coach Marc Crawford told the Stars' official website. "No doubt, it was an exciting point, being able to come back from a two-goal deficit. Our guys have shown tremendous character all year, having the ability to come back."

Benn's second-period assist Saturday extended his career-high point streak to 10 games. He's got 14 points in that span.

The Stars went 0 for 4 on the power play to fall to 2 for 27 over their last eight games. The Ducks have yielded two power-play goals in their opponents' last 18 chances.

Anaheim's power play continues to rank among the league's best at 21.7 percent. The Ducks are 5 for 15 against the Stars this season.

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