STARS (3-2-3) at KINGS (5-4-0)
Season series -- The teams will be squaring off for the second time in four days; the Kings beat the Stars 4-1 on Monday at AmericanAirlinesCenter in Dallas. The Kings went 4-1-1 against the Stars last season, with four of the meetings requiring more than regulation. Dallas has earned at least one point in 20 of its last 25 meetings (15-5-5) with the Kings.
Big Story -- Los Angeles will finally return to the friendly confines of StaplesCenter after trudging through a nine-day trip that included stops along the East Coast and through the Midwest. The Kings began their six-game road swing with triumphs over St. Louis and the New York Islanders before losing three straight to the Rangers, Red Wings and Blue Jackets. Eight players were suffering from flu-like symptoms the past week, including Alexander Frolov, Teddy Purcell, Ryan Smyth, Brad Richardson and Justin Williams. The Stars, who are playing their third game in four nights, will look to rebound -- the club is 3-2-1 in its last six behind the goaltending of veteran Marty Turco (2.41 GAA, .909 save percentage).
Stars -- The Stars have received scoring from throughout their lineup -- 20 players on the club's 23-man opening night roster have registered points. Only Alex Auld, Jeff Woywitka and Mike Modano have failed to earn a point. Of the Stars' 25 goals this season, 18 have come at even-strength and 6 have been on the power-play.
The Stars are also eager to avenge the home loss to the Kings on Monday.
"There was a lack of desperation," Stars captain Brenden Morrow said the 4-1 loss. "L.A. came out fighting in the second period and we had a lackluster effort."
Kings -- The Kings have outshot their opponents in three of their last four games but have scored just nine goals in that span. Coach Terry Murray, whose team erupted for 4 goals on 32 shots against Marty Turco on Monday, thinks he has the solution.
"We have to go after it harder," Murray said. "If we're not making the pretty plays, then we have to get really dug in and get to the areas that, we're going to have to find a way to get it done in those places. But we've got to score, obviously. We've got to dig in. Our power play has taken a step backward on us now. Our entries are not as crisp as what they were in the first four games, and the offensive-zone play is not quite the same.
"I think I have to factor in the flu situation there, with our guys the last couple games. Some of the skill guys are just a little under the weather in that area, but you've got to find a way to get it done in a critical point in the game."
The Kings will have Frolov back in the lineup after he was scratched Monday night for lackluster play -- and likely with new linemates. He practiced Wednesday with center Michal Handzus and right wing Dustin Brown.
Who's hot -- The Stars' second line of James Neal, Brad Richards and Loui Eriksson has been on fire in the early stages of the season, playing a part in 12 of the Stars' 25 goals. The trio has 21 points. Brown, the Kings' captain, has 11 goals and 21 points in 32 games against Dallas and Frolov has 10 goals and 26 points in 36 career games.
Injury report -- For the Stars, forwards Jere Lehtinen (abdominal soreness) and Modano (ribs) have been placed on injured reserve and Richards (groin) is day-to-day. Center Steve Ott is also sidelined another week with an oblique injury. For Los Angeles, defenseman Alec Martinez (lower body) has missed eight games. Murray canceled Sunday's practice in attempt to rest the 10-to-12 players who came down with flu symptoms while on their recent road trip.
Stat pack -- Mike Ribeiro led the Stars in scoring last season against the Kings, collecting 4 goals and 6 points six games. Since joining Dallas in 2006-07, Ribeiro has led all Stars players against Los Angeles, recording 28 points (10 goals) in 23 matches. Brad Richards has 2 goals and 14 points in 13 games against Los Angeles. The Kings' top line of Anze Kopitar, Smyth and Justin Williams has combined for 14 goals and 36 points in their first nine games -- Smyth and Kopitar lead the way with 13 points apiece.
Puck drop -- Look for the Kings to have an extra jump in their skates as they play in front of their home fans for the first time since a 6-3 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Oct. 8. The Stars are in the midst of their second three-game road swing of the season as following tonight's meeting with the Kings, the club will travel to St. Louis.
--Mike G. Morreale, NHL.com