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Stars Vs. Wild: Dallas Desperate For Win And Chicago Loss

(Sports Network) - The Dallas Stars' longest winning streak in over two months kept them in the playoff race until the season's final day. They'll know if this evening's matchup with the Minnesota Wild will have any meaning long before they step onto the Xcel Energy Center ice.

The Stars have won four straight since an 0-3-3 slide and currently sit in ninth place in the Western Conference with 95 points, two back of the eighth- place Blackhawks. Dallas can still catch Chicago for the Western Conference's final playoff berth, but first needs the Blackhawks to lose in regulation to the Red Wings on Sunday afternoon.

Dallas would then need to win tonight in either regulation or overtime as Chicago currently has one more non-shootout win over the Stars to hold the first tiebreaker. Dallas owns the next tiebreaker, having won the season series between the clubs.

The Stars haven't made the playoffs since 2008, but have certainly been putting in the effort as of late. They are on their longest winning streak since a five-game run from Jan. 9-20 and continued to play well on Friday, besting Colorado, 3-2. Mike Ribeiro had a goal and an assist, while Brenden Morrow and Loui Eriksson also scored to sweep the home-and-home set.

"We have one game left, and we have to take care of what we can control, and that's our games, we can't really control what happens in the other games," Ribeiro told Dallas' website. "We'll be ready for our game on Sunday and play to win that game."

Kari Lehtonen made 15 saves in his 22nd straight start and matched a career high set in 2006-07 with Atlanta by winning his 34th game of the season. His 68 appearances this year also matches his personal best set the same season.

Morrow, meanwhile, has scored in four straight games and matched a personal best with his 32nd goal of the season.

The Stars have won six straight over the Wild, winning the last two by identical 4-0 scores. Andrew Raycroft made 26 saves in the shutout win on Jan. 9, while Lehtonen had to make only 14 stops to win a March 11 meeting.

Dallas has won 11 of its last 13 over the Wild as well as two straight and four of its last six at Minnesota.

The Wild snapped a three-game slide on Friday with a 3-1 triumph at the Oilers. It was just Minnesota's third victory in its last 14 games, though the club set a single-season record with its 20th triumph on the road.

Jose Theodore made 28 saves and both Mikko Koivu and Pierre-Marc Bouchard assisted on each goal. Brent Burns and Andrew Brunette lit the lamp to give Minnesota a sweep of its six-game season series with Edmonton.

"We came out with emotion and want to end this season on a positive note," said Burns. "We're gonna compete till the last whistle blows."

The Wild have lost five of their last six at home.

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