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Stars Head To Carolina, Look To Extend Winning Streak To Four

(Sports Network) - Hoping to match their longest winning streak of the season, the Dallas Stars aim for their first victory at Carolina in nearly seven years as they visit the Hurricanes and the RBC Center.

The Stars have won three straight one-goal games, including a sweep of a home- and-home set versus the Blues. After getting a pair of third-period goals in Friday's 3-2 home triumph to begin the set, Jamie Benn scored the game-tying goal 65 seconds into the third period of Saturday's rematch in St. Louis and Loui Eriksson scored the go-ahead goal on a power play later in the frame for a 2-1 victory.

Kari Lehtonen made 35 saves, including all nine faced in the third period, for the Stars, who have won five of their last seven and are tied with the Coyotes for first place in the Pacific Division. Dallas will try to win four straight tonight for the first time since beginning the season 4-0 from Oct. 8-16.

"I knew we have that in this group," Lehtonen told Dallas' website. "If we go down one or two goals, I just need to keep playing the same way and not get rattled and just believe in this group. Against a team that you battle for the playoffs, getting four points against them is great. We can build on this and move forward."

Dallas also picked up its second straight road victory after losing four in a row as the guest, and has evened its road mark this year at 5-5-0.

While the Stars have won five of their last seven versus the Hurricanes, they have dropped two straight in Carolina and have just one victory and a tie in their last eight trips to Raleigh.

These two clubs split a pair of meetings last year, with each team winning once at home. Carolina notched a 5-3 home victory, getting a hat trick from Tuomo Ruutu, on Dec. 16 and hasn't lost at home to Dallas since Dec. 22, 2003.

Lehtonen, a former Thrashers netminder, will be facing Carolina for the first time as a member of the Stars, but is just 1-5-0 with a 3.81 goals-against average in his last six versus the Hurricanes and 4-11-1 with a 3.64 GAA versus them lifetime.

The 'Canes will try to maintain that previous success versus Lehtonen now that he is in Dallas and rebound from last night's 3-2 shootout loss to the Capitals. Eric Staal earned his team the point by forcing overtime on a backhanded tally with 2.2 seconds left and also assisted on Erik Cole's goal earlier in the game.

Cam Ward made 38 saves, but allowed the lone shootout tally of the game to Washington's Alex Ovechkin. The Hurricanes have dropped three shootout decisions in their last five games (1-1-3).

"We had a lack of physicality in this game," said Carolina head coach Paul Maurice. "We tried to play Washington's game, which we're not built to play. We didn't generate a whole lot, but I'm happy with the road point."

Maurice became the 19th head coach in NHL history to coach in 1,000 games and also the youngest ever to reach the milestone at 43 years and 302 days. Brian Sutter held the previous mark at 47 yards and 117 days.

Carolina is 5-4-1 at home this year and will play its next two at the RBC Center before embarking on a five-game swing.

Ward is 2-1-0 with a 3.36 GAA in his career when facing the Stars.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.