Sunday, April 21, 2013
Los Angeles Kings 4, Dallas Stars 3 (OT)
Stars get crucial point, but can't beat Kings and refs in ugly loss.
The Dallas Stars advanced their cause somewhat Sunday night in Los Angeles, losing in overtime 4-3 to the Stanley Cup champion Kings for their second straight loss. The loss dropped Dallas to 22-19-4 and 48 points on the season, three points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Dallas still has three games to play, including a head-to-head matchup against the Blue Jackets at the AAC later this week. LA improved to 26-14-5 and moved closer to solidifying the #4 spot over their in-state rivals, the San Jose Sharks, who lost to Columbus in regulation earlier in the evening.
Dallas was battling not just the Kings but 60 full minutes of abysmal officiating Sunday night, as both referees routinely missed dangerous, obvious and potentially game-changing calls all night while calling questionable penalties on both teams.
The Kings opened the scoring at 5:06 of the first period, when Mike Richards skated through the crease, got the puck from Dustin Penner and backhanded it in from extremely close range. The puck bounced off the post and in for Richards' 12th goal of the season and an early 1-0 lead.
LA doubled their lead at 4:12 of the second when Kings captain Dustin Brown sent a very stoppable puck from distance that somehow eluded Dallas netminder Kari Lehtonen and in for Brown's 17th of the season and a 2-0 hole for the Stars. Dallas responded immediately, however, when just 20 seconds later Ray Whitney's long shot rebounded right to Loui Eriksson. Eriksson, who has obviously struggled on the ice all season, easily tapped it into the near-empty net for his 11th of the season and a 2-1 game.
The game's most controversial goal came ten minutes later at 14:54, when Alex Goligoski launched a shot from the blue line that was played with a high stick by Ryan Garbutt. The puck bounced off of Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick's leg pad right to Antoine Roussel, who shot it in for his seventh of the season and a 2-2 tie. After a review, the goal was allowed to stand.
The third period started off great for Dallas when, just 43 seconds in, Goligoski swooped into a mess in the crease and pounded home the puck for his third of the season and a 3-2 Dallas lead. The lead only lasted two and a half minutes, however, after Stars rookie defenseman Brenden Dillon was whistled for an iffy call and the Kings' Brown scored on the ensuing powerplay to make it 3-3.
Both teams had great chances after that, but could not beat either goaltender. The officiating was objectively terrible, with questionable or non-existent roughing calls being made while dangerous high sticks and an open-ice illegal hit from Dustin Brown on Roussel resulting in no call. Roussel lay flat on the ice for several minutes before being escorted off.
LA dominated the overtime, launching all four shots of the extra frame and having two prime scoring chances denied by a hobbled Trevor Daley. Finally, the Stars' luck ran out when Richards launched a shot from a sharp angle that appeared to deflect off of Jeff Carter's shoulder, then Lehtonen's glove, and in. After a very quick review, the goal stood and the Stars skated out of the building.
Lehtonen was mediocre in this game, flailing around and having a hard time making routine saves. He stopped just 27 of 31 shots in the loss. Quick was slightly better, making 24 saves on 27 shots for the win.
Dallas' next game is Tuesday night in San Jose, where they will play their final road game of the regular season against the 24-14-7 Sharks.