Game 21: Los Angeles Kings @ Dallas Stars
Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011, 7:30 PM CST
American Airlines Center
Local TV, Radio: FS SW HD, KTCK 1310 The Ticket
Opponent SB Nation Blog: Jewels From The Crown
Dallas broke a five game losing streak on Monday in defeating the Edmonton Oilers 4-1 at American Airlines Center in front of new owner Tom Gaglardi. They also broke through on offense and shored things up on the back end following a stretch that saw them get out-scored 16-1 over the course of 10 periods.
This is the Stars' third meeting already with the Los Angeles Kings, having gone 0-2-0 against them thus far despite strong efforts in both contests. Their last game at the American Airlines Center saw the Kings spend much of the second period on the power play, which has been a very, very sore spot for Dallas lately. (See Razor's entry on, as he put it on Twitter, "The conga line to the penalty box must stop" here.)
By our count the Stars have out-chanced the Kings in both meetings, 16-9 and 16-13, which are among the Stars best games this year from that standpoint. Worth noting, however, is that the Kings, despite being out-chanced overall in those contests, out-chanced the Stars in both second periods (7-5, 5-4), which have been a problem for Dallas this year.
A regulation win for either team would give them sole possession of second place in the second division behind the San Jose Sharks. Los Angeles is playing back-to-back, having won a close one 3-2 in St. Louis last night with their backup netminder Jonathan Bernier.
A more detailed discussion of both teams follows the jump...
In their last outing the Stars' scratches were Krys Barch, Adam Pardy and Jake Dowell. Two weeks ago Glen Gulutzan told media that at about the 20 game mark he would stop rotating guys in an out of the lineup to get everyone playing time, and start making decisions based on merit. If you play well, you'll be in the next game.
So here we are past the 20 game mark, coming off a win, and Gulutzan will have to make two scratches once again to form his fourth line. Toby Petersen played extremely well against Edmonton. Tomas Vincour was impressive. Tom Wandell out-worked a guy to set up the games first goal. Will Dowell or Barch be back in the lineup or will they roll with what worked? We'll update after morning skate. These decisions are starting to get a little more interesting.
Meanwhile the three lefty look on the Ribeiro line produced a huge goal, as well as four minor penalties against the Oilers. They'll have to clean that up to allow Mike Ribeiro to work his customary magic against a division opponent, and with the Kings strong, strong talent up front, chances are the Benn line will need a lot of help tonight in the goal-scoring department. (Side note: Brenden Morrow took two minor penalties the last time L.A. visited).
Dallas has gone four straight games without a power play goal, but it's not clear that the power play units or coaching is at fault. They've only technically been on the job eight times in that span, and some of those have been abbreviated considerably. If they want to score on the job tonight, they'll need to draw some calls.
Kari Lehtonen will be in the Stars goal looking to add to his league leading 12 wins.
Los Angeles enters this road tilt with a fantastic .667 points percentage in road games, including a win last night in St. Louis at 5-2-2. That's second best in the NHL to the San Jose Sharks, and not a surprise because once again the Stars probably play in the best division in hockey.
Following his confessed plan of last season, Terry Murray walked into St. Louis last night, faced a red hot team, and didn't use his number one goaltender. He saved Jonathan Quick for the division foe Dallas Stars and any tired legs on the Kings end of things (not expected from a team of their caliber) will be made up for by a strong candidate for the Vezina this season.
Just when we stopped writing about how Dave Tippett saved Bryzagalov for the Stars on a back-to-back, here comes Quick and Murray with the same game plan. The Stars will have to persevere in an attempt to reignite their challenged offense, which finally rolling against Edmonton on Monday night.
Terry Murray opined on last nights game...
"I thought we put a little bit of pressure on ourselves, in our end, because of just managing the puck. We got it going from below our goal line, but once we got it up to the top of the circle and the red line, then we had some problems. That's where the turnovers happened and they were coming back at us. And they don't hesitate with the attitude on the forecheck. Their north attitude was very, very persistent in the game, and early, it put a lot of pressure on us."
The Stars put a lot of pressure on a very young, at times confused Oiler d-core on Monday night, and they'll want to do the same in an attempt to similarly hem in the Kings and prevent their considerable talent from cycling in Dallas' end.
Kings lines have looked like this as of late...
Voynov killed the Stars in their last visit here. Keep an eye on him tonight, as well as Doughty, who missed their last game in Dallas. The Stars penalty situation may at times have something to do with his and Dustin Brown's...play.