The Dallas Stars return home from their back-to-back games against the Blue Jackets and Sabres to host the Los Angeles Kings this afternoon in downtown Dallas. Although the Stars let a 2-0 lead slip away and they eventually lost in overtime, they did pickup three out of four points in the back-to-back and kept themselves in the mix in the Western conference. Now the Stars have a tough week ahead of them. After hosting the rival Kings today, they travel to Detroit before coming back home to play Calgary before playing another back-to-back next weekend. The Stars could start a nice points streak today with a win over the struggling Kings, and take that into a week in which they will face four teams that are all in the playoff picture in the West. The Kings will come into the game looking to end their six-game roadtrip on a high note, as their trip hasn’t been impressive so far. They are 1-3-1 in the first five games with just six goals scored and their offense severely struggling. While they are still allowing just barely two goals-a-game and continue to get impressive netminding nightly, the Kings are 30th in goals-per-game with just 2.07.
Brenden Morrow and Sheldon Souray are out for the Stars again, but both of those were expected. The Kings continue to be without Simon Gagne while he deals with a concussion, and Jarret Stoll and Scott Parse are out as well.
In net, the Stars will again go with Kari Lehtonen. After playing both of the games in the back-to-back, I expected we would see Richard Bachman sometime soon. But Kari gets the nod again and if the staff thinks he can do it, then I am on board. Lehtonen was the best player for the Stars in both of the games and if he can keep playing that way this week than the Stars might have a chance to shock some playoff teams and make up some ground. For Los Angeles, look for Jonathan Bernier to make an appearance with Jonathan Quick sitting this afternoon. Quick was pulled Thursday and then he played again last night in New York, but Bernier is one of the best backups in the league and the Stars are still going to have a hard time scoring against him.
This will be the final meeting between the two divisional rivals this season, surprising considering that the teams still have a good amount of games to play. The Stars are 3-2-0 in the series so far, but both teams have earned six points in the previous five meetings because of overtime games. The game starts early at 5:00PM central time, and it can be seen on FoxSports Southwest and heard on 1310AM The Ticket.
- Winner of tonight’s game will hold the tie-breaker if it comes into play for playoff seeding.
- The Stars are 24-for-25 on the PK over their last ten home games and could be in for a tough night if they take needless penalties tonight.
- Stars are struggling offensively as well. They have scored two or fewer goals in 10 of their last 12 games. That might not change tonight.