Regardless of the outcome of the game, it felt like the Stars seemed to play some of their best looking hockey since the calendar turned to 2016. Maybe that's the first step to getting this train back on track. However, they are starting to run out of rail to work with, and the time for moral victories gets shorter each passing day.
The Stars have been bit by the luck dragon hard since the start of the year, with the 5th lowest in the league since January 1. That's not sustainable, and the Stars should equalize sooner than later. It's possible this is the beginning of that turnaround. Dallas outchanced Los Angeles, including in the high scoring areas. The puck movement was crisper and forwards were more committed to the defensive side of the game than we've seen in this recent stretch.
There were still warts in the game -- way too often passes were forced where there were Kings players instead of being skated into the zone. There were turnovers, but they also forced some turnovers of their own.
Mattias Janmark looked comfortable at center, and made some very positive plays tonight. He's developed some chemistry between Ales Hemsky and Antoine Roussel, and that line opened the scoring tonight. Cody Eakin also played well with Patrick Sharp and Valeri Nichushkin. These two secondary scoring lines were the only offense the Stars got tonight, as the top line of Jason Spezza, Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin was kept off the scoresheet once again.
John Klingberg looks like he's never going to score again. The rookie pairing of Patrik Nemeth and Esa Lindell got owned in Corsi events on preliminary glance at stats. Neither really stood out.
Jonathan Quick was the real differentiation in the game tonight. He came up with the timely saves and some big stops down the stretch, and if it wasn't for him, the Stars would have skated away with a win tonight.
We'll have more thoughts on this game tomorrow, for now it's another loss but an easier one to sleep on tonight.