The Anaheim Ducks are surging toward a third straight Pacific Division title and are hoping a move prior to the trade deadline has boosted their chances at a long playoff run.
Tomas Fleischmann could make his team debut as Anaheim looks to deal the host Dallas Stars a sixth straight defeat Sunday night.
The Ducks (39-17-7) hold a 12-point edge on second-place Vancouver – which has two games in hand – after winning four of their last five. They were held scoreless for six consecutive periods before rallying for a 4-2 victory over Los Angeles on Friday.
Corey Perry’s two goals followed tallies from Ryan Kesler and Emerson Etem.
"I think this team turned the corner tonight," said Kesler, who also added an assist to end a nine-game drought without a point. "That’s the kind of hockey we need to be playing right now."
The Ducks bounced back after losing 3-0 to Ottawa on Wednesday.
"It’s just sticking with your game plan," Perry said. "We’re going out, we’re doing all the right things, and it’s eventually going to break the right way for us. It gives us confidence, that’s for sure."
Anaheim added some forward depth Saturday by acquiring Fleischmann from Florida for Dany Heatley and a third-round pick in this year’s draft. Heatley only played six games for the Ducks and was sent to AHL Norfolk on Dec. 30.
Fleischmann, who played under coach Bruce Boudreau in the AHL from 2005-07 and in Washington from 2007-11, scored a career-high 27 goals while playing all 82 games in 2011-12. However, he has exactly that many in his last 180.
"He is a left-handed shot, can play on the power play or the penalty kill, and gives us added depth on the left side," general manager Bob Murray said. "His history with Bruce should help ease his transition to our club."
Fleischmann could make his debut against the Stars (27-25-10), whose playoff hopes have been all but dashed. They’ve gone 1-4-2 since losing leading scorer Tyler Seguin to a knee injury and fell 5-4 in a shootout to Colorado on Friday.
Dallas, which sits last in the Central Division, held leads of 3-1 and 4-3 in the third period. Cody Eakin had two goals and an assist, while Jason Spezza scored to give him three goals and an assist over his last three.
"You look around the league, the teams that are in the playoffs aren’t giving up (big leads)," Spezza said. "That’s why we’re out of the playoffs, because we haven’t been able to close out games."
The Stars have held a lead heading into the third in three of their last four.
"Maybe it lands on me a bit, just being a leader," captain Jamie Benn said. "We’ve got to learn how to win on this team, and you can put that on the leadership of myself."
Coach Lindy Ruff was critical of goaltender Kari Lehtonen, who stopped just 19 of 23 shots. He’s allowed 14 goals while going 0-1-2 over his last three starts.
"The goaltending performance doesn’t match the effort of the team. It’s as simple as that," Ruff said.
John Gibson has started the last nine games in net for the Ducks, but Frederik Andersen could get the nod in this contest. Andersen, who is 29-8-5 with a 2.37 goals-against average, missed the previous eight with an upper-body injury before backing up Gibson on Friday.
Andersen made 21 saves and Perry had a goal and an assist in Anaheim’s 2-1 overtime win over Dallas on Oct. 31.