Fresh off a much needed 5-3 win over the Minnesota Wild at home Friday night the Dallas Stars continue a crucial five-game home stand against the Los Angeles Kings this afternoon at American Airlines Center.
"I thought we were more focused and more determined to play a direct game from the beginning," Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said of the win after losing to the same Wild team three days before. "They're a good team but I just thought we were focused and played with more grit. We capitalized on our power plays."
The Kings, meanwhile, dropped a tough one to that same Minnesota team last night after leading the Wild 3-1 33 minutes into the game.
"You're up three-one, you give them two points. So that's not what you want to do," said Kings goaltender Quick after being visibly upset after the last two Wild shootout goals.
The Stars have defeated the Kings twice already this season, both at Staples Center. Dallas has out-scored the defending champs 7-2 in the pair of contests, though have been out-shot by an average of 15 in that span (73-43).
The puck drops early tonight - A 5:00pm start on Fox Sports Southwest.
Dallas lost Vernon Fiddler to a lower body injury in the first period Friday night, later revealed to be a charley-horse. He is listed as day-to-day, and in the mean time the Stars have recalled veteran center Toby Petersen for his first stint at the NHL level this year.
Ryan Garbutt is getting closer with his hand injury, but will not skate today. As such line combinations are a bit up in the air.
Jordie Benn has been the healthy scratch on defense, and with the win the guess is that it will continue tonight, though the back-to-back could change things for tomorrow.
Richard Bachman, in quite the oddity, recorded the win against the Wild Friday night despite not saving a single shot. Kari Lehtonen went to the locker room for skate repairs in the third period when the Stars scored the game winner - But should be in net for this one.
From Stars PR: "Sunday's contest is the third of five meetings this season between the Stars and Los Angeles Kings, and the first at American Airlines Center. Dallas won the first two games this season, outscoring the defending Stanley Cup champs 7-2, including a 2-0 decision for the Stars' first shutout this year."
"It was sloppy," Justin Williams said last night. "There's no other word to describe it. It was a sloppy game from us. It's certainly not the way we intended to play the game, but somewhere along the way we lost our way. We let a team back in a game that we had full control of."
A late flight from Minnesota after a shootout loss should put the Kings at a disadvantage rest-wise, but back-to-backs have not daunted them in the past. Los Angeles is 4-1 this season on the second night of (just five?) back-to-backs so far.
Los Angeles has looked like the team that won the cup at times this season while dealing with some inconsistent play as well. They recently beat the Chicago Blackhawks on the road at United Center, which tells you all you need to know about the swagger they can have away from Staples. They've also lost three of five over all, getting shut out consecutively by Dallas and Vancouver at home - So it comes and it goes.
L.A. went 2-for-2 on the power play last night in Minnesota, and with Vern Fiddler out for Dallas that could an area of exploitation for Darryl Sutter's bunch.
Quick did start last night in Minnesota, so it's entirely possible that Bernier gets the nod this afternoon.