The Stars opened their tilt with the Kings with an unimpressive first period. They had an early power play opportunity that yielded nothing, and the Kings followed that up with a goal from Dwight King, playing just his second game of the season, giving him his first career goal, giving the Kings a 1-0 lead. Somehow the Stars out shot the Kings 10 to 5, but it sure didn’t feel like it. The Stars took the deficit into the middle frame and things didn’t start much better. The Stars let an early power play opportunity slip away and proceeded to allow a power play goal from Andrei Loktionov, putting the Stars down 2-0. A fearsome hill to climb against the likes of Jonathan Quick. Progress was made when Alex Goligoski put the puck into the perfect position for Loui Eriksson to bury it 13:32 into the period, chipping away at the Los Angeles lead and taking a 2-1 score into the final frame. The momentum carried into the third period, and Michael Ryder sent a puck that must have had GPS installed into the corner to tie the game at two 4:37 into the period. The Kings battled back and answered seven minutes later courtesy of Jordan Nolan, another first career goal, giving the Kings a 3-2 lead. The Stars brought the extra man rush in the final minute, but it was not enough. Justin Williams added an empty netter to give the Kings a 4-2 victory.
What It Means:
It’s widely known that the Kings are a team who don’t score very much (in fact, they’ve only scored 120 goals coming into tonight, good for last in the NHL) and depend heavily on the play of goaltender Jonathan Quick to win games and pick up points. Unfortunately, the Stars couldn’t take advantage of that. The Stars had two games in hand on the Kings coming into tonight, and had the chance to jump within two points of them. It would have been a huge step in the right direction, picking up two points on a pack team, and a division rival, but the Stars couldn’t come through. They looked sluggish in the first period, committing costly turn overs and not playing with enough chemistry to give the team enough quality chances. Coming back from a 2-0 deficit against Quick and the Kings could be called a shining achievement, but the Stars let that slip away as well. It’s another tough loss that the Stars can’t afford in the middle of February. The hapless power play and mediocre penalty kill continues to plague the Stars, and it never seems to be trending in the right direction. I know there’s a distinct pessimism about this article, but you can’t help but feel that unless the Stars go on a solid run soon, the playoffs will look farther and farther out of reach.
- Philip Larsen has fallen off his point production a bit. This might be due to him now playing with Mark Fistric and taken off a pairing with Alex Goligoski. With Fistric earning his playing time, and Sheldon Souray about to return to the line up barring any complications, it’ll be interesting to see what decisions the coaching staff makes going forward.
- Alex Goligoski has been on fire lately. After two assists tonight, he has 10 points in his last 10 games.
- Loui Eriksson ended a 9-game goal scoring drought tonight with his 18th off the season.
- Two of the goal scorers for Los Angeles (Dwight King and Jordan Nolan) had never before scored an NHL goal before tonight. Another, Andrei Loktionov, scored just his second of the season. I suppose for a team who struggles to score, they had to look at some other options to find success.
The Stars have a day off before traveling to Detroit to take on the Red Wings on Tuesday night. The Stars are 0-2-1 against the Red Wings this year and it’s no secret they’re the best home team in the NHL. The Stars have monumental test in front of them, but with starting goaltender Jimmy Howard out with a broken finger (although it’s possible he could return), the Stars offense can spoil the Red Wings home dominance with a good showing, but that would be a feat in and of itself, but with desperation beginning to set in after another loss tonight, who knows which Stars team will show up. The puck drops at 6:30 and is scheduled to be televised on FS-SW.
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