In nine of the last ten years the Stars have won only one (or fewer) games at Staples Center, making it a near impenetrable fortress for the Kings, even in (many, many) down years. The Stars have lost eight of their last twelve games there, including many dramatic and strange games we have cataloged over the years here.
So it is with heavy odds against them and a nasty winless streak that the Stars will try to once again salvage a little hope in their season, and this time, with the Blackhawks win last night over Columbus, it really is do or die.
The Kings have suffered injuries to their offense but have won two of their last three regardless of Kopitar and Williams' absence. At 94 points already with five points remaining, they will make the playoffs and need only finish their business in an adequately satisfactory way to do so. They have earned points in five of their last six games and are as stingy as ever on defense.
Both teams enter the game on the same rest having played on Thursday. The Stars must now earn six more points than Chicago does over the course of the last six games. A tall order, but they must play on to say they gave it their best try.
Dallas is 1-2-0 in afternoon games this year, and the last loss was to the Los Angeles Kings at home when the Stars allowed the game winner with only 20 seconds left, sacrificing at least one point in the process and maybe two.
Continued after the jump...
Kari Lehtonen is expected to get the start in net again tonight after being pulled from the San Jose game on Thursday.
Karlis Skrastins is a possibility to return this afternoon. The defenseman has a lacerated thigh and has missed the team's last four games, but he went through a practice yesterday and is thought to be a candidate to return today. the DMN indicated the Stars could play seven defensemen to work him in slowly.
This would allow Alex Goligoskyi and Stephane Robidas a brief respite from their heavy, heaver duty lately. Also absent is Nick Grossman, but he is in Texas receiving treatment. Should the Stars manage to make things interesting in the last several games there is a chance that Grossman could return to action.
In the eyes of the fans, Adam Burish is the biggest missing piece but his prognosis is the most troubling. It was revealed earlier this week that he has a stress fracture in his leg (sometimes called a hairline fracture), and my guess is it's the tibia. This is an overuse injury and one I have suffered from improper running technique. The only thing to do is stay off of it for an extended period of time but Burish has been working out, skating with his teammates yesterday.
It would be surprising (and perhaps even unwise, long term) if he were to play any time soon.
Vancouver held the Kings to 19 shots overall and zero shots in the third period on Thursday night. It was the first time since 2003 the Kings had been held without a shot in a give period.
Here's a video of Drew Doughty getting taunted provided by the league itself:
I don't know why anyone would want to taunt Drew Doughty.
Ah, good times.