In case you did not know, the Dallas Stars and the Los Angeles Kings do not really like each other. A Pacific division foe match-up with big points on the line, tonight's game got more than a little chippy.
After an outing against the Anaheim Ducks that left a sour taste in many a mouth, the Stars started this game off with a quick step and some quick scoring. The Stars were dominant from puck drop, and their hard work paid off with goals from Loui Eriksson and Eric Nystrom. It was the first of two times when the Dallas Stars had a two goal lead.
Unfortunately, the Stars would also see both of those two goal leads evaporate. In the second period, the Kings would cut the lead in half off a powerplay goal from Anze Kopitar. Less than a minute later, the Stars would restore their lead off a beautiful drop pass from Michael Ryder to a scorcher by Alex Goligoski to end the period with a 3-2 score.
Then the third period happened. The Dallas Stars managed to put themselves in some terrible penalty trouble, with a 5-on-3 penalty kill brought on by a questionable delay of game penalty against Mark Fistric that inevitably let in another powerplay goal. You would think that the Stars would have learned their lesson and stayed out of the penalty box after letting in two, but it seems that things cannot always go the easy way with this team. Radek Dvorak took only his fourth minor of the season for slashing, and a third powerplay goal later gave Los Angeles their first (and only) lead of the night.
And because everyone in the Western conference seemingly got points tonight, this game ended the only way it could - in a shootout. Loui Eriksson capped off a two goal night with the shootout winner for the Stars.
A few more thoughts after the jump.
Special teams was shaky tonight. The Stars allowed 3 powerplay goals, but also scored one of their own when taking advantage of an extended double minor man advantage in the third to tie the game and force overtime.
Loui Eriksson continues to produce. He is scoring without Brad Richards. He is scoring without Jamie Benn on his line in these past few games. He is scoring in all situations - powerplay, even strength, overtime, shootouts. Tonight's game is another highlight as to why it is sad to see Eriksson passed up on All-Star selection this year after going last year.
I think the third line is back to clicking how they were before this recent slump. They chipped in with a goal from Eric Nystrom tonight. They also did very well at even strength, getting some scoring chances and applying some very good forechecking and backchecking. Pretty good go of it tonight for that line.
This was probably the worst game for Nicklas Grossman this season. He had a few flubs that lead to goals against, and he has been a bit overexposed this season.
Kari Lehtonen had good positioning tonight, although his rebound redirection was a little scary at times. He also got bowled over twice in the game, the second time in overtime where he was laid out on the ice for an extended period of time before finishing the game. Hopefully he just had the wind knocked out of him and did not pull anything due to these collisions. Props to Sheldon Souray and Jamie Benn for sticking up for their goaltender after the last collision. I think Souray and Benn may have tag-teamed one of the Kings players who ended up in the Dallas net.