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Stars Host Thrashers, Look For Consecutive Home Wins

(Sports Network) - The Dallas Stars will try to win consecutive home games for the first time since early-December when they host the struggling Atlanta Thrashers tonight at American Airlines Center.

The Pacific Division-leading Stars are 4-0-1 this month overall, but Dallas ended a five-game home losing when it last played Tuesday evening against Edmonton.

The Stars, who are 13-6-4 as the host this season, last won two in a row on home ice during a four-game winning streak in Big D from Nov. 26-Dec. 10.

Dallas, which holds a four-point edge over Phoenix for the Pacific lead, will complete a three-game homestand Monday night against the rival Los Angeles Kings.

Dallas posted a 3-2 regulation win over the visiting Oilers, as Kari Lehtonen stopped 39 shots to win his 18th game of the season.

Brenden Morrow, Jamie Benn and James Neal registered goals for the Stars, who recorded their first home win since Dec. 21 against Montreal.

"We put a lot of emphasis on coming home and having a big win tonight and changing the five in a row that we lost at home," Neal said. "We were playing so well on the road, it was such a downer to not be able to win at home in front of our own fans. I know we put the work in tonight and got the big two points."

Lehtonen, who was drafted by Atlanta with the second overall pick in the 2002 draft, could see his first action against his former team since the Thrashers dealt the Finnish backstop to Dallas last season. Lehtonen is Atlanta's all- time leader in wins with 94.

A pair of Dallas forwards are riding sizeable point streaks into tonight's game. Louis Eriksson has one goal and nine assists during an eight-game streak, while Mike Ribeiro has three goals and five helpers over his seven- game tear.

The Thrashers enter tonight on a three-game slide and Atlanta has managed just three wins over its last 11 games (3-6-2).

Atlanta will begin a two-game road trip tonight, but is coming off Friday's home setback against Philadelphia. Danny Briere notched the game-winner in a three-goal third period to help lead the Flyers to the 5-2 decision at Philips Arena.

Andrew Ladd and Rich Peverley tallied for the Thrashers. Ondrej Pavelec was shelled for four goals on 35 shots as Atlanta failed to make up ground on Washington and Tampa Bay -- both of which lost on Friday -- in the Southeast Division.

With 51 points, the Thrashers are six points behind Tampa for the Southeast lead and tied with Montreal for the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference.

Atlanta has lost four of its last six road games and is just 11-8-4 as the visiting club this season.

Thrashers forward Fredrik Modin has missed the last two games with a lower- body injury and is questionable for tonight.

Atlanta won its lone encounter with the Stars last season, recording a 6-5 overtime win on Dec. 17. It was just the Thrashers' second victory in 12 all- time meetings with Dallas, which has won five of the six encounters in Big D.

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