Stars-Kings Preview

The Los Angeles Kings finally paid the price for poor defense after being spoiled by dominant goaltending.

The Dallas Stars could provide Los Angeles’ defense with another test after snapping a lengthy skid.

Los Angeles looks to bounce back from a discouraging defeat when it hosts Dallas on Thursday night.

The Kings (8-4-4) never trailed and squandered two two-goal leads in Wednesday’s 6-5 shootout loss at Anaheim. They led 5-3 before giving up two goals in the final 5:40 – part of a five-goal third period. Marian Gaborik was the only King to score in the shootout.

Jonathan Quick was peppered with 49 shots, which were the most allowed by Los Angeles since it gave up 51 in a 5-0 win at Detroit on Dec. 13, 2010. Quick had stopped 76 of 79 shots in starting each of the previous three games.

"I don’t think we had much energy, much focus, much execution," coach Darryl Sutter told the team’s official website. "Too bad we actually lost the shootout, because then Jonathan feels tough, right? He stood on his head to get us a point."

The Kings gave up a season-low 19 shots in Saturday’s 5-1 win over Vancouver but still rank 26th with 33.1 allowed per game. They haven’t finished worse than fifth in any of the last six seasons in that category.

Quick is 10-3-2 in his last 15 starts versus Dallas but could get a rest as he only played once in each of Los Angeles’ two back-to-backs thus far. Backup Martin Jones is 1-1-0 in two starts with a 2.01 goals-against average. He stopped 19 shots of 23 shots in his only previous start versus Dallas, a 5-2 home loss on Dec. 23.

Quick stopped 33 shots in a 3-1 win at Dallas on Nov. 4.

The Stars (5-6-4) could make it a difficult night for whomever’s in net as they’ve averaged 35.3 shots over their last four games, though they didn’t end a seven-game losing streak until Tuesday’s 4-3 win at Arizona. Ryan Garbutt scored the short-handed winner on a breakaway with 1:16 left and they didn’t allow a power-play goal on six chances after giving up six goals on 25 penalty kills during their 0-5-2 slump.

"It’s a big win for us. It’s nice to get off the schneid for us," Garbutt told the team’s official website. "We easily could have crumbled."

Tyler Seguin scored twice in less than a minute in the second period to erase a 2-0 deficit. Seguin, whose 12 goals are tied with Rick Nash for the league lead, had posted one point in four games prior to a hat trick in Saturday’s loss to San Jose.

Captain Jamie Benn may have also given his team a spark Tuesday when he fought Martin Hanzal six seconds after the puck dropped.

"The last few games Jamie and I have been talking and saying we want to do something like that, and he got it out of the way first shift," Seguin said. "It’s what a captain has to do sometimes."

Benn has two goals and nine assists in his last nine meetings with the Kings, but was kept off the score sheet last week.

Los Angeles is an NHL-best 7-1-1 at home but Dallas has won five of seven there.

Tyler Toffoli, the Kings’ leader with 17 points, is without a point in four career meetings with the Stars.