"Marty Turco stymies Los Angeles Kings. "
That's been a welcome and frequent statement around these parts for the better part of a decade but it applies to what the Kings faced in Chicago last night. Not Dallas. L.A. suffered a 3-1 defeat at the hands of the Blackhawks and flew to Dallas late last night for a back to back with the Stars on Thursday night at 7:30pm. The loss dropped the Kings to 6-3 on the season; A record the Stars can match with a win.
Los Angeles dominated play during stretches last night in Chicago but couldn't beat Turco often enough for it to matter. Dallas knows how that feels having done the same thing against the Predators and the Ducks in their last two games. The Kings are a young, hungry team that believes it's the best in the conference. They will not use a back to back as an excuse and with Stephane Robidas out on a one game suspension, the Stars have a big, big challenge tonight.
The Kings were victorious in five of six games with the Stars last year. This is their first meeting of the season. The Kings lead the Pacific division with 12 points.
More after the jump...
With Stephane Robidas out tonight it is expected that Trevor Daley will get absorb a lot of the tough minutes he plays and Daleys minutes will be redistributed throughout. Some unfamiliar penalty killers might see some ice team because of it.
Philip Larsen will play his first game of the year after being re-called from the Texas Stars. He won't see PK time but is expected to share some power play time with Matt Niskanen as they like the right handed shots out there. We're still not sure who he'll play with five on five.
Kari Lehtonen will get his 9th straight start for Dallas and face the Kings who average nearly 30 shots a night.
With no significant injuries the lines should look much the same as they have. The lack of goal scoring recently will not force any kind of shakeup as they're still getting quality chances.
Krys Barch's hand might still be bothering him from the Predator game, so the only real mystery tonight is if he or Sutherby will play. Since Brian scored a goal on Tuesday, we're betting it's him.
Through eight games the Stars have managed to keep their face-off percentage above 50% at 50.8%, a good improvement over last season.
The Kings rolled into Chicago to face the defending champs on the road in the first half of a back to back last night. They played their best netminder against the champs, right?
No. Apparently they saved Quick especially for Dallas tonight (much like Tippett does with Bryzgalov)
As posted earlier, Jonathan Bernier will get his third start of the season tomorrow against Chicago. For those keeping track of such things, it’s worth noting that this will be Bernier’s third start in the Kings’ ninth game. Last season, backup goalie Erik Ersberg didn’t make his third start of the season until Dec. 9, in the Kings’ 32nd game. So far, Terry Murray is sticking to his "Rest Quick" plan, although Jonathan Quick will be back in on Thursday. With the way the schedule is set up, Quick could possibly play eight of the next nine games (after Chicago).
But back to Bernier. He will make his first-even start against Chicago and will face the defending Stanley Cup champions in their arena. Murray said Bernier’s start was scheduled from the start of the season — and it fits within his previous explanation, of starting Quick against division rivals — but Murray also seems to enjoy the challenge Bernier will get from the game.
So no break for the Stars there. Quick has a 1.95 GAA and a .926 save percentage. He has been outstanding early in the year and the Stars run the risk of running into their third straight hot goaltender tonight.
Couple that with an empty building (World Series tonight) and the Stars have a big mountain to climb.