The Dallas Stars stayed quiet yesterday at the trade deadline and will now move forward fighting for a playoff spot content with the team they have. The final push down the stretch will start tonight in Los Angeles, where the Stars look to build off the momentum and confidence they built in a 4-1 win over San Jose on Tuesday night. It was a big victory that that snapped a devastating five-game losing streak that had dropped the Stars down to 11th place in the Western Conference. With the win, the Stars ensured they fell no further behind the pack and have the chance to jump right back into the top eight with a win tonight.
While the Stars didn't make a big trade they did add an important piece to the team, acquiring center Brendan Morrison from Anaheim off waivers. Morrison should step in and center the third line behind Mike Ribeiro and Mike Modano, and is an above-average defensive forward who also has great playmaking skills. It will be interesting to see who Dave Tippett lines him up with but there's little doubt Morrison will have an easy time fitting in with a hard working team like the Stars.
The key for tonight is to maintain the emotional and energetic lift the Stars enjoyed two nights ago in San Jose. They played perhaps their most complete game of the season and need to continue playing at the same level to make the push back into the top eight in the conference.
The LA Kings are just 2-7-2 in their last 11 games and have lost four in row after falling 5-4 to Columbus on Tuesday. The Kings are still alive in the playoff race, just seven points out of eighth place. But time is ticking down for LA who must find a way to quickly turn things around with just 19 games remaining this season. Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick has allowed 11 goals in his past three games, which could lead LA to go with Erik Ersberg tonight against the Stars. Ersberg is 2-0-1 this season in games versus the Stars and is 3-1-1 all-time against Dallas.
The Kings did make on move at the trade deadline, acquiring winger Justin Williams from Carolina in a three team trade.
Dallas: C Toby Petersen (foot), C Brad Richards (wrist), LW Brenden Morrow (knee) and D Sergei Zubov (hip) are out.
Los Angeles: LW Raitis Ivanans (upper body) is doubtful.
Stats comparison, via NHL.com:
|2008-2009 Team Stats|
|24||Power Play Rank:||11|
|21||Penalty Kill Rank:||14|
|.889||Win % When Leading After 1:||.824|
|.885||Win % When Leading After 2:||.826|
|.300||Win % When Trailing After 1:||.095|
|.048||Win % When Trailing After 2:||.074|