Dallas Stars: Los Angeles

It was another night of movement in the Western Conference standings. The Stars jumped from seventh to third, the Kings went from ninth to seventh, San Jose dropped from third to eighth and Phoenix slipped from eighth to ninth. In the middle of all that, the Kings were first in the Pacific for about five minutes.

The Kings got knocked out of the third spot when the Stars wrapped up their 3-1 win over Edmonton. That was a huge two points for the Stars, who needed to bounce back from the loss in Calgary on Monday. Still a tough road ahead with that back-to-back at Vancouver and at San Jose Friday and Saturday to close out the trip. The Stars need to find a way to get points out of those two games.

The Kings beat Calgary 3-0 Wednesday night. The Kings snapped a two-game losing streak and are now 7-2-0 over their last nine games. They close out their road trip with games at Edmonton and Minnesota.

The Sharks lost 2-1 at Anaheim. The Ducks won five of six against the Sharks this season. The Sharks are back at it Thursday night. They play at Phoenix. This kicks off a stretch that will see the Sharks play the rest of their games against teams battling for the Pacific Division title.

The Coyotes have been off the last three days and they ended up being one point behind both San Jose and Los Angeles and two points behind the Stars. It could have been worse from their perspective.

Colorado lost 1-0 at Vancouver. Huge loss for the Avalanche. They are two points out of a playoff spot and only have three games left to play. The teams they are chasing all have five. Their chances are very slim right now. Ditto for Calgary. The Flames are three back with four games left on their schedule.

It’s looking more and more like the four Pacific Division teams – Dallas, Los Angeles, San Jose and Phoenix – are going to be fighting it out for those three playoff spots.

Turnovers costly as Stars fall to Kings

February, 12, 2012
2/12/12
9:14
PM CT


DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars allowed just 16 shots on goal Sunday evening – the second fewest they’ve allowed all season – but two of those shots came off Dallas turnovers and they proved to be costly as the Stars lost 4-2 to the Los Angeles Kings 4-2 at American Airlines Center.

The Kings took a 1-0 lead in the game and then scored the game-winning goal with 8:31 remaining in the third period off Dallas turnovers.

With the game tied 2-2 in the third period, the Stars coughed the puck up in their own end and Kings center Mike Richards centered the puck to Jordan Nolan, who banged into the net for his first NHL goal.

“Turnovers cost us, “said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “Some self-inflicted wounds again.”

The loss left the Stars sitting in 11th place in the Western Conference standings, three points out of the final playoff spot and now six points behind the seventh-seeded Kings.

“It’s always tough when we lose like this,” said Stars forward Loui Eriksson, who had a goal and an assist in the game. “We needed the two points tonight.”

The Stars fell to 3-3-1 since the All-Star break, not exactly what they were looking for as they try to track down a spot in the postseason tournament.

“Being .500 is not what we need to get in,” said Gulutzan. “We need to be better than that. Certainly everybody in that room is mad, but we just need to keep moving forward. We’ve got to learn from some of these mistakes and keep going forward. We have to get out of our funk, especially at home and against teams we’re chasing.”

The Kings scored the only goal of the first period, tallying 8:54 into the game. After stripping Stars defenseman Nicklas Grossman of the puck behind the Dallas goal, Kings center Anze Kopitar got it to the front of the net and Dwight King scored his first career goal to give the Kings a 1-0 lead.

“We didn’t start good, that’s for sure,” said Gulutzan. “We gave them a goal early and had to press from behind. We should have been ready to play from the beginning. We had a couple guys not ready to go.”

After the Stars missed on their second power play of the game early in the second, the Kings took advantage of their first power play of the game to take a 2-0 lead. Jack Johnson’s shot from the left point deflected off Andrei Loktionov and into the net at 8:21 of the second.

The Stars were able to kill off a second Kings power play a couple minutes later and then score a goal off the rush to tie the game. After taking a cross-ice from Mike Ribeiro, Alex Goligoski centered the puck and Loui Erikson tapped in into the net to make it a 2-1 game at the 13:22 mark of the second period. It ended a nine-game goal scoring drought for Eriksson.

“I’ve just been trying to stay in front of the net, and I got a great pass from Goose and it went in,” Eriksson said. “It was nice to see it go in.”

The Stars tied the game early in the third period with another goal off the rush. Goligoski dropped the puck to Eriksson, who set up Michael Ryder in the slot and Ryder ripped a shot past Kings goalie Jonathan Quick at the 4:37 mark.

After the Kings took the lead on Nolan’s goal, Justin Williams scored an empty net goal with 2.1 seconds left to round out the scoring for the Kings, who wrapped up a six-game road trip with a 2-3-1 record.

“We’ve obviously struggled to score goals this year, so four goals for us is quite an accomplishment,” Williams said. “Getting a four-point game, division game, they’re always important, especially with Dallas being right behind us and teams above us being right above us and everyone just clumped up it’s the way it is every year. Everything just seems so important. There’s always another game. Our next game’s coming soon. Theirs is too and that will be another big game.”

Notes

*The Kings won the season series against the Stars 8 points to 6 points. The Kings have a 3-1-2 in the season series and the Stars were 3-3-0.

*The Stars are now 3-6-1 against teams playing in the second game of a back-to-back.

*Stars defenseman Sheldon Souray missed his second straight game with a foot injury.

*Stars captain Brenden Morrow missed his fifth straight game with a neck/shoulder injury.

*Adam Pardy and Jake Dowell were healthy scratches for Dallas.

*Sunday’s attendance was 12,191.

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