The Dallas Stars came into Tuesday’s game against the Los Angeles Kings fighting for the last spot in the Western Conference playoffs. Ray Whitney and Vernon Fiddler, two of the veterans for the Stars, provided most of the scoring for the night, while Richard Bachman, who relieved an injured Kari Lehtonen late in the first period, made 22 saves on 22 shots.
Early in the first period, the Stars got themselves into penalty trouble just 34 seconds into the first period when Loui Eriksson was caught for a double minor high sticking penalty. The man-up opportunity gave the Kings a chance to score the first goal of the game, and the only one for the Kings. Drew Doughtry’s shot from the left circle at the 1:13 mark in the first period beat Kari Lehtonen on the glove side. The Stars went on the power play midway through the first period and scored just after it expired. Alex Goligoski blasted a shot from the left circle past Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick with Eric Nystrom providing a strong screen in front of the net, tying the game at 11:14 in the period.
An injury scare in the first period left Stars fans wondering what happened to starting goaltender Kari Lehtonen as he left the game with 5:17 left in the first period with a lower body injury, later determined to be a mild groin strain. The severity of the injury is unknown, but news from the Stars is the injury will be reevaluated Wednesday.
There was no scoring in the second period, but the biggest story of the game was the Stars penalty killing ability. In total, the team killed four out of the five penalties they faced in the game.
The energetic penalty kill provided much needed momentum in the third period, pushing the Stars past the Kings further and further into the lead. With 52 seconds gone in the third period, Ray Whitney put the Stars ahead 2-1 when his wrister from the high slot sailed over Quick’s glove. The goal was Whitney’s eighth of the season. Next up in the Stars goal-scoring line up was Vernon Fiddler, who deflected a Stephane Robidas shot that went behind Quick at the 7:58 mark, extending the Stars’ lead to 3-1.
Dallas made it 4-1 when Whitney scored his second goal of the night at the 11:06 mark in the third period on a short wrist shot following a turnover by Kings’ captain Dustin Brown near his own blue line. Vernon Fiddler sealed the victory with his second goal of the night for the Stars, bringing the game to a final score of 5-1, when his shot deflected off a Kings defenseman and past Quick at the 13:56 mark.
The Stars have the next few days off to refresh before heading off to the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville Friday night to face the Predators. The game begins at 7pm.
Stars: Alex Goligoski (11:16-1st), Ray Whitney (00:52-3rd), Vernon Fiddler (07:58-3rd), Ray Whitney (11:06-3rd), Vernon Fiddler (13:56-3rd)
Kings: Drew Doughtry (PP, 01:13-1st)
Starting Line Up
Scratches: Jordie Benn
Injuries: Lane MacDermid (chest)