There's an old saying in California - I know it's in Texas, probably in California - that says fool the Stars five times, shame on - shame on you. If fooled - they can't get fooled again!
Either that or the better saying for tonight is that the sixth time is the charm, but no matter how you look at it, the Dallas Stars came out and played a pretty good game on the road and abused the Kings penalty kill to the tune of four power play goals in a 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings.
Brad Richards was a offensive dynamo on the ice scoring two goals and adding an assist.. Steve Ott and Brenden Morrow also added goals while Stephane Robidas and Mike Ribeiro had themselves a two point nights with a pair of helpers each. Kari Lehtonen also continued his very solid play in net as he stopped 29 pucks that were shot at him. We also thankfully had cleared up for us viewers of the Kings broadcast by Kings play by play guy Bob Miller that Kari is in fact is no relation to Jere Lehtinen... Whew, glad we got that sorted out finally!
And even better news tonight? The Stars kept the shots against total under 40! Hooray for defensive progress!!
More details about the game, some advice offered for the Kings goaltending situation and your 3 and 38th stars of the night all after the jump...
Yes all was good tonight for the most part for your Dallas Stars. All the forwards save for three had at least one shot on goal and the three that didn't? Ribs was one and since he had two assists, we'll forgive that. Bryan Sutherby was the second, but he was credited with five hits in the game so we'll forgive that as well. Fabian Brunnstrom was the third (not surprisingly) but he too (rather surprisingly) had at least a hit credited to him as well which is... well it's enough to have us forgive him for no shots but also makes us suspicious of just what the scorekeeper at Staples Center was drinking tonight to make him think he saw a Fabian Brunnstrom hit.
What is really funny - and very sad at the same time - is that while Fabian had a hit in the game, Trevor Daley and Karlis Skrastins did not. Hell, even Matt Niskanen had three! How does Daley and Skrastins not get any? The Kings seemed to read the memo from Brandon on how getting on the Stars physically would help their cause, but somehow against the law of averages it seems, that trend didn't play out tonight thankfully.
Not that this game was complete domination by the Stars by any means... Los Angeles really didn't play that bad overall but they did suffer from a few too many mental lapses that the Stars had no problem taking advantage of including brutal work while killing off a five on three Stars power play where inexplicably all three Kings defenders ended up on one side of the ice, leaving Morrow and Ribs to just toss the puck around casually before tapping it past a helpless Jonathan Quick.
Memo to the Kings: You want to make sure Quick isn't burned out before the playoffs? Leaving him out by his lonesome there won't help that.
Speaking of mental lapses, how about them referees tonight huh? Even football games don't have this many interference penalties called! I'm sure reasonable Kings fans won't pin this loss on the poor officiating as it went both ways tonight, but it was still cringe worthy the entire game. If this is NHL officials getting into playoff form and they are also being expected to enforce tougher rules on blind side hits and head shots then I shudder to think what kind of mess officiating in the playoffs could look like this year. *steps off soapbox*
The Stars have practically owned San Jose the last few years and yet lose ugly two nights ago. They come into Los Angeles where they have lost six of their last eight games including both this season and yet they walk out with a win tonight.
Hockey is a funny sport some times isn't it? Wonder how many laughs we'll get when the Stars cross town to play the Ducks on Monday night? With Pronger no longer there, we won't get as many as we've been used to.
Your Defending Big D 3 and 38th Stars:
1st Star: Brad Richards (DAL) - Only one assist tonight Brad?! How do you expect to catch Henrik Sedin in the league lead for assists if you only manage just one helper? You're sooooo lucky you scored two great power play goals as well!
2nd Star: Mike Ribeiro (DAL) & James Neal (DAL) - I know what you're thinking, two guys at the number two spot? Hey it's my three star picks and I am just warming myself up for Monday when I have to compete with Bryan Hayward's homerisim picks! Ribs had two assists, Neal had an assist and was a force at both ends. And besides I wanted to make sure there was room for a very special 3rd star...
3rd Star: Georges "Rush" St. Pierre (UFC) - Did you see him tonight? He was a take down master!! Every time Dan Hardy tried to get anything going standing up, GSP just took him down again. He was a machine and he loves hockey as well and even if it is the Canadiens, he still deserves a star tonight.
38th Star: Rob Scuderi (LA) - Rob had a very tough night tonight. No hits, two giveaways, looked out of position a lot and worst yet had a Richards shot deflect off his skate and past Quick for the eventual game winner which according to hockey code means he owes Quick a steak dinner and royalty payments to Trevor Daley as that kind of play is trademarked by Daley we believe.