Friday, March 8, 2013
Dallas Stars 5, Los Angeles Kings 2
Stars take care of business Thursday night in LA.
The Dallas Stars won a decisive victory over the reigning Stanley Cup champions Thursday night in Los Angeles, defeating the Kings 5-2 in the teams' first meeting of the season. The win improved Dallas to 12-9-2 on the season and gave them 11 non-shootout wins, third best in the conference. The previously red-hot Kings fell to 12-8-2.
Dallas got on the board first after the Kings' Keaton Ellerby was given a penalty on an extremely questionable tripping call. The Stars capitalized on the chance when Jamie Benn collected his own rebound, then found a wide seam through the middle of the ice to Jaromir Jagr, who buried it for a 1-0 lead at 5:28. The Kings tied it as 12;10 of the first, however, when Trevor Lewis escaped a confused Dallas defense and rifled a shot into the far corner for his third goal of the year and a 1-1 tie.
The Kings took the lead at 15:30 of the second period when Jeff Carter's pass deflected off a Stars defenseman and in for his 16 goal of the season and 12th in his last 12 games. Dallas quickly tied it on another iffy penalty on Ellerbe, however, when Alex Goligoski found a streaking Cody Eakin in neutral ice. Eakin sliced through two Kings, nearly lost the puck and then backhanded it past Kings goalie Jonathan Quick for his fourth of the season and a 2-2 game.
Needing a regulation win to bring them up to LA in the Western Conference standings, the Stars got goals from all three scoring lines in the third. First the third line scored at 5:16 when rookie Reilly Smith was sandwiched near the boards by two Kings but still got a backhand pass to Eakin, who dished it across the ice to a wide-open Stars captain Brenden Morrow on the backdoor. Morrow nearly whiffed, but tapped it home from close range for his sixth of the year and a 3-2 lead.
Dallas' first line struck four and a half minutes later, when Trevor Daley's shot from the point caused a mad scramble in front of the Kings' net. Benn swept the puck across the crease to a wide-open Jaromir Jagr, who again entombed it in the back of the next for his second of the game, team-leading 9th of the season and a 4-2 lead.
Finally, with the Kings' goalie pulled, the Stars' defensive second line stepped up when Derek Roy stole a puck from a scramble in front of the Dallas net. His shot missed the empty net, but bounced off the boards to Antoine Roussel, who backhanded it in from close range for his fifth of the year and a 5-2 final score.
Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen was stellar, stopping 31 of 33 shots to improve to 9-3-1. Quick was not so lucky, making just 17 saves on 21 shots in falling to 7-7-2.
Dallas' next game is Saturday night in Phoenix, where they will face the 11-10-3 Coyotes for the final time this season.