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20-12-7

Kings-Stars Preview

AP - Sports

While his team dropped its most recent game, Dallas Stars coach Lindy Ruff has been pleased with the energy he's seen lately.

The Stars showed plenty of that last week against Los Angeles and will try to get past the slumping Kings again Tuesday night.

Dallas (19-12-7) fell 3-2 in overtime to St. Louis on Sunday but rallied from a two-goal deficit to extend its point streak to six games (4-0-2). Jamie Benn scored his sixth goal in eight contests in that defeat, and had a three-point night in a 5-2 victory in Los Angeles on Dec. 23.

Benn provided a goal and two assists for the Stars, and one of those assists was on Valeri Nichushkin's tiebreaking power-play goal in the second period. Those efforts helped send Kings goaltender Martin Jones to his first NHL defeat after a league record-tying 8-0-0 start.

"We haven't had many of those low-energy games, where you get dominated and you're looking for a spark in the game and can't quite find one," Ruff said. "I think that's probably a big reason why we're where we're at. Our energy level has been good."

Jones was outdueled by Chicago's Antti Raanta on Monday in a 1-0 road defeat, Los Angeles' season-high third in a row, and Dustin Brown missed a penalty shot in the second period.

The Kings (25-11-4) have been outscored 9-4 in their last three games and have also lost a season-worst three straight on the road.

"We had our chances. They had some chances," center Mike Richards said. "We just didn't capitalize on our looks at the net."

It's unknown if Los Angeles will send out Jones again Tuesday or use Ben Scrivens, who has never faced the Stars. The Kings are also awaiting Jonathan Quick's return from a strained groin but that likely won't come until early next month.

With Quick in net, Los Angeles beat Dallas 5-2 at home Oct. 19. Justin Williams had two goals and an assist in that win, and Anze Kopitar added three assists.

Kopitar is the only Kings player with more than two points in the last three games, registering one goal and two assists. Williams and Drew Doughty are the only players with more than one.

Williams recorded those two points in the loss to Dallas and has a team-best five in this season's series (three goals, two assists). Kopitar has seven assists in his last four matchups, and Doughty has two goals and three assists during a four-game point streak against the Stars.

He'll try to add to that while helping Los Angeles' struggling special teams. The Kings' power play is 1 for 14 in the last seven games and the team has given up four goals the last 16 times it's been short-handed.

Dallas' power play is 2 for 18 in the last five games, but the Stars had killed off 21 of 22 penalties before allowing St. Louis to score twice with a man advantage Sunday, including the winning goal.

The teams have scored one power-play goal apiece in this season's two matchups.

Stars leading scorer Tyler Seguin has a goal and an assist in each of those games, and Benn had a team-best five points (one goal, four assists).

The Kings haven't lost four in a row since Feb. 16-22, 2012.

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