The Los Angeles Kings currently hold a playoff position while
the Dallas Stars are not too far back.
These Pacific Division rivals complete their season series
Sunday night in Dallas, with the Stars looking to defeat the Kings
for the fourth straight meeting.
Los Angeles (26-19-11) is in seventh place in the Western
Conference standings with 63 points while Dallas (28-23-3) is just
outside the top eight with 59.
These clubs have played four one-goal games and another decided
by two thanks to an empty-net tally. The Kings won the first two
before the Stars responded by taking the last three.
Dallas winger Michael Ryder has a team-high five points in the
season series, with All-Star Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson adding
four apiece. Los Angeles is led by Anze Kopitar’s six points
against Dallas, with Dustin Brown and Mike Richards chipping in
The Kings, however, continue to own the NHL’s worst offense
after Saturday’s 2-1 overtime loss to the Islanders. Richards’ goal
drought reached 11 games on his 27th birthday, his worst stretch
since the first 22 games of the 2006-07 season with
Brown has failed to score in eight straight games for his worst
drought of the season.
“We need more consistency,” coach Darryl Sutter said. “That’s
the only answer for us.”
Jonathan Quick made 23 saves, allowing two goals or fewer for
the sixth straight contest, but failed to meet his coach’s
“I didn’t think he was especially sharp tonight,” Sutter
Los Angeles has totaled six goals in going 1-3-1 heading into
the finale of this six-game trip. The Kings have killed off all 11
penalties in that span, extending that run to 14.
“We’ll take the one point, we’ll go to Dallas tomorrow and we’ll
focus on getting two,” Quick said.
The Stars are looking for some offense at home, where they have
totaled seven goals in a 2-3-1 stretch. They took three of four
points from a two-day road trip, falling 3-2 in a shootout to
Buffalo on Friday.
Dallas, though, allowed the Sabres to score the tying goal with
39 seconds left in regulation.
“Leading until the last minute, we can be happy about that,”
goaltender Kari Lehtonen said. “But we have to be able to close
these games. Two points is a lot better than one.”
The Stars feel they have been showing improvement offensively.
They outshot Columbus 35-28 in Thursday’s 4-2 victory and held a
22-16 advantage through two periods Friday before allowing 16 of
the last 20 shots.
“I thought right from the beginning we managed our game pretty
good and limited their chances,” coach Glen Gulutzan said. “We did
what we wanted to do defensively. It came down to the last minute
and they had to pull their goalie. Those things happen in the
Lehtonen made his fourth straight start. He’s 4-1-1 with a 1.78
goals-against average in his last six.
“He’s been a big part of this team all year,” Ryder said. “When
we look to him to make those big saves, he’s making them. He’s a
big, very agile goaltender. He’s one of the reasons we’re in the