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Corey Perry, their top goal scorer (29) despite missing the last 12 games of the regular season, went through another full practice Wednesday without any apparent setbacks. The 22-year-old right wing hopes to play in Game 4 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals on Thursday night when Anaheim will try to even the series against the Stars before returning home.
"It's getting better every day. I've been doing quite a bit to build up strength and get the leg back where it was," Perry said. "Today, it felt pretty good. ... I've been pushing it pretty hard to get back it game shape. It's playoff time."
Perry hasn't played since March 6, when the quad tendon above his right knee was lacerated by the skate of Colorado goalie Jose Theodore.
The Stars, first-round flops the last three playoffs, will try to regain control of the series after a horrendous start before an initially raucous home crowd. They have lost seven of their last eight home playoff games.
"That's in the past. Those were different teams. This team has one loss at home," Steve Ott said.
"We have to get off to a better start," captain Brenden Morrow said. "It's not a fear of playing at home. We're all comfortable here. I know expectations are high. Maybe it took us too long to get motivated. Our competitive level was nowhere near what it was on the road but it has nothing to do with the arena."
But after playing nearly flawless and outscoring Anaheim 9-2 in the first two games on the road, the Stars came home with a 2-0 series lead for the first time since moving to Dallas 15 years ago - and allowed three quick goals.
So instead of taking a commanding lead in the series, the Stars ensured a quick return trip to the West Coast for Game 5, the night after Game 4 and a three-hour flight.
"(Game 3) was good for us and our confidence, but we still have a lot of work ahead of us," Ducks goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere said. "Not just because we won is everything going to be easy now. Every game gets harder and harder to win and play."
Giguere stopped 31 shots, four during a four-minute power play late in the third period after a double minor penalty, not long after Morrow scored two power-play goals in a 99-second span for Dallas.
Perry has gone through several practices in the past week, and is ready to play after his unexpected hiatus. When he got cut, he figured it would only take a couple of stitches to get him back in the game. Instead, it took surgery and five weeks of rehabilitation.
"If they give me the okay, it will be a huge relief," Perry said. "I just want to get out there and help the team."