The Dallas Stars will finish up their two-game California swing tonight in L.A. as they will do battle with the Los Angeles Kings for the fifth time this season. The Stars had won two in a row before dropping an ugly game to the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night by a final of 5-2, in a game where the defensive effort was severely lacking. Now the Stars and new All-Star Jamie Benn will look to bounce-back tonight and pick up a big two points against their divisional rivals. The Kings will come into the game off a 5-2 win Monday in which they scored the most in a game since November 17th. While the Kings have one of the most talented rosters in the West (and were a preseason pick to compete for the conference), they have struggled offensively this season and are 30th in the league in goals per game. Strong defensive and superb play in the net by Jonathan Quick, who was also named to the All-Star game, have kept the Kings in the middle of the pack. While the San Jose Sharks are starting to get hot and could keep the lead moving forward, games like this could very well decide where these two teams finish in the conference standings.
Dallas will again be without Mike Ribeiro this evening as he remains in Texas with a knee injury, but is questionable for the next couple of games. The slight MCL tear is something that can be played through, but will require a brace and probably some work in the offseason. Philip Larsen and Tomas Vincour are both out and there still really has not been an update on their timelines. Kings young defenseman Slava Voynov is day-t0-day and might play tonight. The team will be without wingers Simon Gagne and Scott Parse.
The puck drop is another late one tonight, starting about 9:30 PM Central Time. The Stars lost the first meeting in L.A. 1-0, but won in the Staples Center the last time these two teams met 2-1. Since Darryl Sutter took over, the Kings have allowed two goals or fewer in nine of ten games. With Ribeiro out again tonight, goals could be hard to come by. Dallas is 10-10 on the road so far this year and will need to rely on Kari Lehtonen to keep the Kings to probably only one or two goals tonight. But the real question is if the defense shows up and gives him some help, something they didn’t do in most of the game Tuesday. Tune in to Fox Sports SouthWest and 1310 The Ticket for the call.