Article by: George Royle
The crucial five-game home stand has produced two wins and a loss so far for Dallas. They finish the stand with two divisional games against the Kings tonight and the Ducks tomorrow; two games which could decide the Stars’ playoff fate.
Dallas has a few injury worries ahead of tonight’s tilt. Vernon Fiddler left Friday night’s game with a lower body injury. He has been labeled as day to day, with veteran Toby Petersen being recalled from the Texas Stars to take his place. Ryan Garbutt remains a doubtful player tonight, due to a hand injury.
Kari Lehtonen played a solid game against the Wild on Friday, and the big Finn is set to get the start again tonight.
In contrast to the Stars, the Kings failed to overcome the threat of the Wild, falling to them in the shootout last night.
Despite a slow start to the season, Los Angeles has started to find momentum over the course of the season and currently lies fifth in the Western Conference.
Special teams will play a big part in the game tonight, with LA performing well on both the power play and the penalty kill so far this season. They rank 11th in the league on the power play, a facet of tonight’s game the Kings will certainly look to exploit with one of the Stars’ best penalty killers injured.
The Kings offer a lot of threats going forward with the puck, averaging a very respectable 2.9 goals a game. Anze Kopitar, the 25-year-old Yugoslavian, is having a great season, notching 10 goals and 22 assists.
Jonathan Quick has had a pretty poor season in net for the Kings, though, and it is unsure whether he will get the start tonight or not.
With LA going all the way to a shootout and then boarding a late flight to Dallas last night, I think the Stars will grab the win coming into the game well rested.
It is an early one this evening, as the puck drops at 5pm CT.