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Stars seek quick bounce-back vs. Ducks

Jan 3, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Dallas Stars left wing Jason Robertson (21) plays for the puck against Los Angeles Kings defenseman Alexander Edler (2) during the third period at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The lesson from their first loss in two weeks is quite simple and one the Dallas Stars expect to learn from when they continue their Southern California swing with a Wednesday night clash against the host Anaheim Ducks.

The Stars saw a four-game winning streak disappear in a 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday, and Dallas coach Peter DeBoer believes the key reason was a lack of production through the lineup.

Dallas’ heralded top line of Roope Hintz, Jason Robertson and Joe Pavelski came through, unlike the rest of the Stars’ lineup in a tight-fought clash against a Kings team that also is rolling these days.

“That (top) line was dangerous again all night,” said DeBoer, whose club sits atop the Central Division and even with the loss has a 7-2-1 record in its last 10 games. “I just didn’t think we had enough other lines going.”

That the Stars’ top trio provided offense is nothing new. Robertson scored once to extend his point streak to eight games, during which he has three goals and nine assists. Hintz collected two assists, giving him six goals and three assists in a six-game run, and Pavelski has one goal and six assists in his past six games after picking up an assist at Los Angeles.

Defenseman Miro Heiskanen also scored, giving him a goal and four assists in a four-game point streak.

The Tuesday game was close, with the difference being a Los Angeles power-play goal in the third period. Dallas was blanked on its three man-advantages during the game.

“We played well enough to at least earn some points,” Stars defenseman Esa Lindell said. “The special teams made the difference.”

The Ducks, meanwhile, sit at the bottom of the Pacific Division and are ahead of only the Chicago Blackhawks in the overall NHL standings. Coming off a 4-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday, Anaheim has only one win in its past six games (1-4-1) and five in their past 22 outings (5-14-3).

The loss to Philadelphia was even more stinging than the final score indicates. The Flyers grabbed a 2-0 first-period lead and extended it to 4-0 before Ryan Strome’s final-minute goal spoiled the shutout bid for Flyers rookie goaltender Samuel Ersson.

“I think that every guy can look in the mirror and have better execution starting in practice, starting in the morning skate,” Strome said. “Everyone’s got to take a little bit of individual pride in their practicing and their habits and just become a little bit better and a little bit more sharp.”

The Ducks are not helping themselves on offense, with goals at a premium, especially of late. Anaheim — which ranks next-to-last in the league in goal-scoring — has only eight goals in those past six games, not counting the extra “goal” added to the final score in a shootout win.

The Ducks’ top two point producers are mired in droughts. Troy Terry, who leads the team with 12 goals, has failed to score in seven consecutive games, while Trevor Zegras has failed to score in 10 straight outings.

“We’ve got just a few guys that are really expected to score,” Anaheim coach Dallas Eakins said. “We’ve got a bunch of guys that are really expected to work hard and do their best to get it at the net. When there’s that amount of pressure on you, knowing you’re one of those guys that’s got to put it on the board, it does weigh on you.”

–Field Level Media