Finally. A Dallas Stars hockey game.
You'd think that as people that just went through a five month hockey-less drought over the summer, we'd be a little more patient in the regular season but this four day break has been excruciating. We've seen division rivals and nearly every teams in the West collect points between Saturday and today. We'd like to see this thing get moving forward again and we're not really sure why two back to backs need to be separated by such a long layoff. (4 games in 8 days might be distributed a little more evenly, yes?)
What really made it painful, of course, was the butt-kicking the Stars received on Saturday at the hands of the young, speedy Avalanche. It was a sour note to sit on all week and the prospects of erasing that nasty taste in our mouths looks bleak as the Stars enter their own personal house of horrors tonight: The Staples Center.
The Kings have dominated the Stars recently, to put it mildly. They took five of six last season and won the first meeting this season by a score of 5-2 in dominating fashion at the American Airlines Center. The Kings are arguably the best team in the conference, lead the division, and are on a four game win streak.
The Stars have an advantage with four days of rest, right? No. Strangely, the Kings had four days off before this game as well. It's going to be a very, very tough test for the good guys tonight in Los Angeles on FSSW at 9:30pm CST.
More after the jump...
After winning three straight in Dallas to finish a six game home stand, the Stars dropped a 5-0 game to the Avalanche that has fans questioning what kind of road team they are. This is only the second Western Conference road game of the season for Dallas.
Perception is a funny thing. You can say the Stars have won three of their last four games. You can also say they've lost four of their last seven games. You can say they're winless on the road in the Western Conference. However you want to look at it, the Kings are a perfect 6-0 at home this year. Can the Stars be the first ones to hand their home crowd a disappointment?
Kari Lehtonen will start in goal tonight and could possibly start in Anaheim as well, depending on the results at Staples.
Dallas' remarkable good health continues as they've no injuries to report. Lines are expected to be...
Use any number of superlatives to describe how good the Kings are and it's likely not good enough. Winners of four straight, they're 10-3-0 and absolutely rolling right now. They allowed only 2.00 goals per game and their penalty kill is above 90%!
Kings forward Ryan Smuth will be honored before the game for playing in his 1,000th career NHL contest.
Terry Murray seemed to be keeping his options open on defense today in practice, as the defensemen were frequently rotating partners in practice drills. Yesterday, Murray committed to a top pairing of Drew Doughty and Rob Scuderi, and today he leaned toward pairing Jack Johnson with Matt Greene — the blog poll wins again! — and Davis Drewiske with Jake Muzzin. It fits with Murray’s model of having one puck-mover with one stay-at-home guy, although that means classifying Muzzin as a puck-mover.
L.A. beat Kari Lehtonen four times a couple of weeks ago in only 15 shots against. They score on the PP, even strength, short-handed, and an empty netter. They are the class of the West and the Stars will have to put forth a simple road game that is virtually mistake free to pull points out of this one.
Honestly, if I could find something bad to say about the Kings right now I would. Really.
Be sure to join us here for the some late night GDT fun.