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Ducks, Stars meet again

DALLAS -- On Oct. 13, the Dallas Stars defeated the Anaheim Ducks 5-3 at American Airlines Center.

These former Pacific Division rivals square off again in Dallas on Thursday, and first-year Stars coach Jim Montgomery expects a similar game from the Ducks.

"They haven't changed," Montgomery said after practice Wednesday. "They're winning games because of their goalie, their D core and they manage games well. They don't beat themselves."

Anaheim (5-4-1, 11 points), who is concluding a quick two-game road trip, is 3-3-0 on the road after a 3-1 loss at Chicago on Tuesday with Rickard Rakell scoring the lone goal.

One positive was the season debut of forward Nick Ritchie, who had been a contract holdout before signing Oct. 17. Ritchie, 22, is the younger brother of Dallas forward Brett Ritchie.

"It wasn't a very good game," Ritchie told Fox Sports West postgame in Chicago. "We had a slow start, took a lot of penalties. It wasn't the effort we were looking for."

Dallas (4-4-0, 8 points), on the other hand, heads into this game off a win, 4-2 against the Ducks' crosstown rivals, the Los Angeles Kings, on Tuesday night.

The Stars' victory arrested a three-game losing streak and saw Dallas play 11 forwards and seven defensemen, a look Montgomery said he could employ again.

"Still an option, yeah," Montgomery said. "I liked it for the forwards, I don't know how good it was for a defenseman."

Besides the two-goal win, the rookie Stars coach saw several other big positives from Tuesday's win.

"Our feeling is we won ugly and maybe (were) a little bit fortunate," Montgomery said. "Probably the second time all year where the other team had a lot more puck possession time than we did. Other than (Ben Bishop)'s effort, the one real positive is we were physical. We were in the battle. We just got to get better at our execution."

Against the Kings, Dallas was again without forwards Valeri Nichushkin (soreness) and Alexander Radulov (lower body), and it appears neither Russian winger will skate against the Ducks.

"(Radulov) we do not expect to play tomorrow (Thursday)," Montgomery said. "We need to rest it for a couple days. We do expect him to be a player on Sunday."

But Nichushkin's status sounds more uncertain.

"(Nichushkin) practiced with us today, so that's a positive sign. We think he's physically ready," Montgomery said. "Is he ready condition-wise to go in tomorrow night or does he need a couple days?"

Montgomery would like to see his dynamic offensive duo of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, who have combined for one point, a Seguin assist on Tuesday, over the past four games, get back on track.

"The most important thing is we need (Seguin) and (Benn) to get back on the score sheet and we need them to start possessing pucks a lot more," Montgomery said.

The Stars look to win the final contest of a three-game homestand before hitting the road for a six-game Eastern Conference road trip starting Sunday at Detroit.

Updated October 24, 2018

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