After a tough 2-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Friday night at Scottrade Center, the Dallas Stars head into Sunday night’s Pacific Division tilt with the reigning NHL Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings in need of a nice bounce back performance at Staples Center. And if Dallas’ history against the Kings this season is any indication, they could very well get it.
That’s because save for a 3-2 win by LA at American Airlines Center on March 31, Glen Gulutzan’s Stars have had the Kings’ number this year, holding a 3-1-0 edge in the series, including taking both meetings to date in the City of Angels and outscoring them 14-6 in those four previous contests.
Dallas currently sits just one point behind Detroit for ninth in the Western Conference and is just two markers behind Columbus, who currently occupies the eighth and final playoff spot heading into Sunday’s schedule. Both the Red Wings and Blue Jackets also hit the pond on Sunday with Detroit hosting Phoenix while Columbus travels to San Jose to face the Sharks at HP Pavilion. So if everything falls right for them, the Stars could head into Tuesday’s final game of their final regular-season road trip possibly being tied for that eighth spot.
But in case anyone forgot what happened in the first four meetings between the Stars and Kings, here’s a quick recap of each game:
March 7-Stars Dominate in 5-2 Win at Staples Jaromir Jagr had a goal and an assist as the Stars ended a six-game home winning streak by the Kings, scoring four unanswered in one of Dallas’ more impressive road wins of the season. The Stars were also two-of-three on the power play and Kari Lehtonen stopped 26 of the 28 shots he faced. Jamie Benn and Cody Eakin each had a goal and an assist in the victory. March 21-Dallas Blanks Kings on Home Ice, 2-0 In a game that was scoreless at the first and second intermissions, the Stars broke through in the final frame, getting goals from Jagr and fellow veteran Ray Whitney 4:42 apart to give Dallas all the scoring they’d need in a 2-0 win at Staples Center. Lehtonen turned in a stellar 40-save performance to earn his first shutout of the season.
March 31-Kings Eke Out 3-2 Win at AAC When Jeff Carter put the Kings ahead 1-0 just 25 seconds into the game, this contest took on an ominous tone from a Stars standpoint. However, Dallas did battle back, getting two assists from Alex Goligoski but the Stars were only able to generate 15 shots on Kings netminder Jonathan Bernier and he stopped 13 of those. LA got a huge goal from Brad Richardson, who had been a healthy scratch for much of the season, early in the third, which gave the defending champs a big lift and Justin Williams’ tally later in the frame proved to be the game-winner.
April 9-Stars Blitz Kings, 5-1, in Big D If the Stars had any sort of lingering ill will or bad taste in their mouths after the 3-2 home loss to the Kings on March 31, they definitely made good with an impressive 5-1 win. Again, Dallas allowed an early goal and trailed early, this time it was Kings defenseman Drew Doughty scoring on the power play just 1:13 in. But the Stars again showcased their trademark resiliency, getting a three-point night from Vernon Fiddler (two goals, one assist), two goals from Whitney and a two-assist performance from Trevor Daley. But the big story of this win was Lehtonen leaving with a groin injury with 5:42 left in the first period. However, backup Richard Bachman stepped in and delivered a masterpiece, stopping all 22 shots he faced to earn the win.