Kings (6-3-0) vs. Dallas Stars (5-3-0) at American Airlines Center, 5:30 p.m. (PT)
Five storylines to track:
1. Red (hot) October – Justin Williams has always played well in the opening month of the season, dating back to when he had a goal and two assists in his NHL debut 10 years ago. Since the 2006-07 season, he has scored 42 points in 43 games during October. Avoiding injuries has been his biggest challenge as the season progresses. Williams has missed 198 games in the previous four seasons, appearing in 130.
2. Doughty no longer doubtful – Kings defenseman Drew Doughty is officially out for the Dallas game and it’s looking like he won’t return when the Kings host New Jersey at Staples Center on Saturday night. His concussion, er, we mean, upper-body injury, isn’t healing as quickly as the Kings hoped and there’s no need to rush back their puck-shooting prodigy. After the game with the Devils, the Kings don’t play again until Thursday.
3. Brown-out – King right wing and team captain Dustin Brown hasn’t scored in the last two games and was unusually quiet Wednesday night in a 3-1 loss at Chicago. He had just two shots on goal in the first game back since he received a game misconduct penalty for an illegal hit to the head against Minnesota, one he adamantly denied. He has also been strangely absent in the last four games against Dallas and his former coach, Marc Crawford, totaling just one assist.
4. Starring vs. Dallas – As a whole, the Kings have recently played very well against Dallas, winning five of six games last season and nine of 13 over the previous two. The Stars have had their own problems finding the net in the last two games, getting stoned on 65 of their last 67 shot attempts. For once, the Kings are playing a team that’s more feeble on the power play too. The Stars have converted just three of 30 extra-man situations.
5. Tough break – A broken jaw couldn’t sideline Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas during a game against the Coyotes two seasons ago, nor could a broken nose against the Ducks during the 2008 playoffs. But the team’s alternate captain will be forced to watch against the Kings after receiving an automatic one-game suspension for his second game misconduct boarding penalty within a 41-game period. Philip Larsen has been called up from the AHL to replace him.