Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Kings blow late lead in 3-2 overtime loss to Stars
By Dan Arritt
Dallas Stars 3, Kings 2 (OT)
Eight keys to the game:
THE FACTS: The Kings were 20 seconds away from their fifth victory in the last six games Wednesday night at American Airlines Center in Dallas but the Stars tied it on a goal by Loui Erikkson and then won it on an overtime goal by Steve Ott.
THE STAT: The Kings led, 2-0, entering the final period and owned a 65-0-3 record in the previous 68 games when leading after two, but couldn't close this one out.
TURNING POINT: With 2:21 remaining in regulation, Kings forward Ethan Moreau took a slashing penalty. The Stars pulled their goalie with about 45 seconds left on the penalty for a two-man advantage. The Kings managed to kill the penalty but were still a man down when Ott won a faceoff in the neutral zone against Mike Richards as four other Dallas players crashed the net. Jamie Benn controlled the puck for Dallas after it skidded by the skates of Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell, then passed to Eriksson on his left who beat Kings goalie Jonathan Quick to tie the score, 2-2, with 20.4 seconds showing on the clock. That gave the Stars all the momentum they’d need heading into overtime.
HOT: Richards scored first for the Kings, giving him a goal in five straight games, a career high. He also has eight goals in the last eight games. The last time a Kings player scored a goal in five consecutive games was Dustin Brown in January 2009.
NOT: Moreau, whose primary role is to give the Kings some energy and toughness on the fourth line, has quickly become a liability with his unnecessary penalties. He went to the box for a minor penalty for the third time in the last four games and seventh in the last 11, and this one really cost the team.
GOOD MOVE: Playing in the 73rd game of his NHL career, Kings enforcer Kevin Westgarth scored his first NHL goal for a 2-0 lead early in the second period. After the Stars cut the deficit to 2-1 in the third, it appeared Westgarth's goal might hold up as the game winner until they scored again in the closing seconds. Westgarth put himself in position to steal the puck off a careless pass from Radek Dvorak in the slot and the Princeton grad hit the top-right corner just 36 seconds after Richards scored. Shortly after the goal, Westgarth received a Twitter shout out from his father-in-law, former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher.
BAD MOVE: In addition to Moreau, there were a few other candidates in this category. Kyle Clifford missed a wide-open net early in the third period that would have given the Kings a 3-1 lead. Then the Kings completely botched their coverage on the faceoff that preceded Eriksson’s tying goal, not reading the all-or-nothing formation Dallas had set up and leaving them open for an odd-man rush off the draw.
NOTABLE: The Kings were going for their 1,400th victory in franchise history, but instead Dallas recorded its 100th win against Los Angeles … The Kings have now lost seven of their last 25 against the Stars … Quick had stopped 61 of 64 shots against Dallas this season, and stopped 35 of 38 in the loss. He’s now 12-3-1 lifetime against the Stars .. Dallas captain Brendan Morrow sat out with an upper-body injury sustained Monday in a 4-1 win against the Oilers.
UP NEXT: Saturday vs. the Chicago Blackhawks at Staples Center, 7:30 p.m.