For the first time this season, the Dallas Stars lost to the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Los Angeles Kings, 4-3 last night at American Airlines Center.
The Stars fell behind quickly, 25 seconds into the game to be exact, and couldn’t seem to get enough momentum together to present a considerable threat to the Kings’ defense and goaltender.
The Kings on the other hand, despite coming off a shootout loss in Minnesota and an overnight flight to Dallas, overpowered every aspect of the Stars’ game. Shots on goal for the game totaled at 40-15 for the Kings.
Jeff Carter scored the 25 second backhanded goal with assists from Mike Richards and Dustin Penner and an unfortunate re-direct from the skate of Brenden Dillon. The Stars would hold off the Kings for the remainder of the period, including killing off a hooking penalty on Ray Whitney six minutes in.
The tide seemed to change slightly in the second period with a tying goal from Jamie Benn seven minutes in, but the Kings continued to shut the Stars down, leaving them with only three other shots on goal for the period. The shot count was 31-8 headed into the second intermission.
Just five minutes into the final period, Los Angeles took the final lead with back-to-back, minute-apart goals by Brad Richardson and Justin Williams. At 9:18 in the period, Mike Richards was dinged for hooking, and the Stars went on the final power play of the night. It seemed the team wouldn’t be able to capitalize with the man advantage, but with 14 seconds remaining, Ray Whitney landed a slap shot that brought the Stars within a goal of overtime. Despite the potential for a tie, goalie Kari Lehtonen was left in net until a minute remained in the game, giving the Stars little time to seize a tying goal, even with an additional attacker. The attempt was for naught.
Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier took the win, bumping his season record to 8-0-0.
The Stars are 2-2 out of the first four games of this five-game home stand. Tonight’s battle against the Ducks will be a genuine indicator if the Stars learned the importance of winning at home after the last 1-2-1 stint at the AAC. The first puck drops at 7:30 p.m. tonight, and the game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Southwest.