A new year. A fresh start.
The Dallas Stars might like to hang on to the current one for a while longer, actually. Their 3-2 regulation win over the Los Angeles Kings tonight makes their point streak seven games, 5-0-2 in that stretch.
Erik Cole might be the saddest to see December go, having tallied eight in the month with two more here tonight, his second such effort in their last three games.
His power play tally to go along with Seguin's finally broke the seal on the league's worst home man-advantage, and Kari Lehtonen pulled their feet out of the fire in the first and third periods as Los Angeles book-ended Dallas' big second period with significant pushes of their own, but couldn't find the equalizer down the stretch.
Tyler Seguin continued his dominance with a goal and an assist and Alex Chiasson got healthy with two assists (though a -1 on the score sheet). The Kings recorded nearly as many misses (21) as they did shots (25), of which Kari Lehtonen stopped 23. Dallas out-shot them 32-25 for the night.
The Kings go on empty handed, losers in Chicago last night and at the AAC tonight. The Stars, can you believe it, sit just seven points behind them with two games in hand, and tied with Phoenix (for the moment) at 47 points.
Happy New Year to everyone out there. Please be safe tonight.
Play began tentatively for the Stars as they tried to feel the Kings out, earning an early power play that never threatened, and the Kings seized momentum. A harmless shot from distance that settled in the crease in front of Kari Lehtonen was cleared out of bounds by Ryan Garbutt, and the dominoes fell from there.
A minute later the Kings took a slashing minor, followed by a trip by Kevin Connauton, which all set up the often deadly 4-on-3 advantage for Los Angeles. Jeff Carter unwittingly deflected a puck off of his hands that rain-bowed over Kari Lehtonen for the 1-0 lead.
Erik Cole would tie the game on a rebound off an Alex Chiasson slot on a Stars power play, but the Kings dominated possession throughout and Dallas escaped with a fortuitous 1-1 tie.
The Stars had better jump in the second en route to out-shooting the Kings 11-6 in the frame. They stayed out of the box and used their speed to great effect, pressing a team that traveled from Chicago last night, and their fortunes shifted as they slowly pushed back.
Dallas opened with tantalizing chances on an early power play that failed to connect, but Tyler Seguin would at the 12 minute mark on a bank shot from behind the goal line to make it 2-1 Dallas. It marked the first time this season the Stars have scored two power play goals at home, and the first time they've scored power play goals in consecutive home games.
Erik Cole would add his second of the night (again) on a great find from Rich Peverley. Cole was down on the goal line to Scrivens' right and had the netminder dead in his tracks for the empty-net tally, on which Val Nichushkin also assisted.
The third didn't open up quite the way you'd have liked. A tired team on the road on the second night of a back-to-back that trails by two... That sounds like a recipe for a few minutes of "try hard" followed by something likely to not be enough, culminating in a nice, boring finish.
Except Jordie and Jamie got all manner of tied up to Kari's left and Anze Kopitar had his table set all alone, point-blank to make it a one-goal game, and suddenly things got a lot harder for Dallas.
The Stars traded chances with LA throughout, earning more power play time and near misses on opportunities that would have put it away, but in the end they had to find a way to get a one-goal lead home, and that's a very important thing for a young hockey club to learn as well.
A good win for an increasingly good, young club and a treat for all in attendance in what looked like a fun atmosphere.
-I have never seen a skate blade get shot off a skate like that that I can remember. It was a dangerous play for Dillon, and his ankle was in trouble as he tried to hobble his way off.
-Antoine Roussel can't do that. He cannot do that. He cannot, against any caliber opponent, blatantly extend contact after the puck has gone. It's yet another penalty in the offensive zone, and it was just fuel on the fire for a furiously charging Kings team in the first.
-Nichushkin was taken off Benn and Seguin's line in the second in favor of Alex Chiasson- Not to ready anything into it for this individuals. The Kings just wouldn't allow them a thing so it was time to start experimenting.
-They did it. They survived @SJS, @LAK, NSH, STL, and LAK again. They pulled 8 of those 10 points, and as this one ends they're a period away from the Oilers besting the Coyotes (though it will likely go to OT...) and claiming a share of the 8th playoff spot in the West. If nothing else, they're furiously charging in the right direction, putting pressure on everyone else.
-Minnesota lost again tonight. Isn't that a shame?
It's New Years Eve. Let's get off the internet and go have some fun.
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