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Thursday, January 12, 2012
Kings: Stars take 2-0 lead as L.A. returns to bad habits

By Dan Arritt

After the first period:

Dallas Stars 2, Kings 0

The good: The first 14 minutes went just fine for the Kings. They generated about a dozen shots on goal, had some nice possession time in the offensive zone, killed their 38th consecutive penalty and goalie Jonathan Quick, named to his first All Star team earlier in the day, made a few nice stops on good scoring chances. Unfortunately, the periods are 20 minutes long in the NHL.

The bad: The Kings are coming off a 5-2 victory against the visiting Washington Capitals on Monday night and they’re playing like it. In the six other games this season that they’ve scored four or more goals, getting their fans pumped that they might be finally pulling out of their season-long scoring slump, the Kings have pulled the rug out and scored two or less the following game. Just after it appeared Dallas forward Adam Burish had illegally closed his glove on the puck in the Kings offensive zone, the Stars set out on 3-on-2. That puck ended up at the feet of Kings rookie defenseman Slava Voynov but he couldn’t spot it. Loui Eriksson did and the Dallas forward shot it past Quick for a 1-0 lead with 5:56 left in the period. Less than a minute late, Kings defenseman Jack Johnson was unable to trap a pass back to him at the blue line. Radek Dvorak beat him to the puck with more speed, passed it over to Eric Nystrom, whose first shot was saved by Quick, but Nystrom whacked the second one by for a 2-0 lead. The Kings were awarded a power play with 3:09 remaining and it looked stale against the Stars’ aggressive penalty killers. The Kings never got set up in the offensive zone and the only shot on goal was from the blue line, making for an easy save for goalie Kari Lehtonen.

The in between: Voynov returned to the lineup after a four-game absence due to an upper-body injury. Back to the press box as a healthy scratch is second-year blue liner Alec Martinez. Dallas forward Mike Ribeiro is indeed not playing after suffering a knee injury Saturday in Edmonton. Ribeiro is the third-leading scorer for the Stars and a nemesis against the Kings in his career. Quick is 12-3-1 lifetime against the Stars with two shutouts, his most victories against any team in the NHL.