After a painful and slightly embarrassing loss in Las Vegas on Tuesday night, the road trip for the Dallas Stars continued on the west coast tonight, as they took on the Los Angeles Kings in the Staples Center.
The Stars lost more than the game on Tuesday night. On Wednesday, the Colorado Avalanche leapfrogged over the Stars to take the second Wild Card spot, forcing the Stars just outside the playoff bubble.
The Kings, meanwhile, are more than just outside the bubble. While the Stars have had their struggles, it’s nothing on the Kings, who haven’t seen outside the bottom rung of the league this season. With an aging and (most likely) overpaid core, the Kings have struggled to put together offense. Jonathan Quick has started 33 games this season and is still looking for his 12th win.
The Stars had another really slow start, letting the Kings control much of the early play. Chasing the Kings isn’t a thing they’d really change for the rest of the game, but that felt pretty obvious from the very beginning.
The first goal for Los Angeles began with a Stars icing, as Anze Kopitar scored off the resulting face-off down in the Dallas zone. The usual suspects for making goal GIFs were not available for this super late game, so please accept this GIF found on giffy.com when searching the word “fail.”
In a rather sad parallel of Tuesday night’s game, the Stars had only one shot on goal through the first half of the period, but they evened up pretty quickly after that. Unfortunately, there just wasn’t a lot of joy to be found in the first. Tyler Seguin had a rather weak tripping call that put him in the box for two minutes.
Jason Dickinson, one of the Stars’ big penalty killers, stung his foot blocking a shot and, completely hobbled, couldn’t get off for a change, allowing Brendan Leipsic the opportunity to put the Kings up 2-0.
The renewed efforts by the Stars had some good results, finally, when the Kings had a terrible turnover of their own in their zone. Seguin got the puck behind the net, got it out to Taylor Fedun, who found Seguin again at the net.
Ben Lovejoy was credited with the second assist, which is his first point as a Star.
Shots: Dallas 10, Kings 8
Score: Dallas 1, Kings 2
In many ways, the second period was just a carbon copy of the first. There were some good decisions by the Stars, some disastrous decisions by the Stars, and they still ended the period down by one. But they did tie it first, so there were some positives.
Roman Polak shook Kopitar off the puck at the Dallas blue line. Polak got the puck to Janmark, who carried it all the way through the neutral zone before passing it off to Blake Comeau, who then got it back to Janmark for the goal.
The Stars lost the puck in their own zone to Dustin Brown, who caught Tyler Toffoli behind the rest of the Stars. Toffoli got off a breakaway against Anton Khudobin, who stopped the initial shot. Unfortunately for the Stars, no one controlled the rebound, and Kopitar picked it up to get it in the net.
Khudobin stops the Kings' initial bid from Toffoli, but Roope Hintz tries to clear and it accidentally goes right to the stick of Anze Kopitar for his second goal of the night.— Dylan Nadwodny (@dnadders) March 1, 2019
DAL 2 - 3 LAK pic.twitter.com/DEb1vwfBmH
Kurtis MacDermid tried to decapitate Comeau at the net and sat for two minutes, whereupon a really embarrassing turnover for the Stars at the blue line led to a terrific breakaway opportunity for Adrian Kempe. It’s said that your goalie has to be your best penalty killer, and well, Khudobin had to be their best power player tonight as well.
Shots: Dallas 15, Kings 21
Score: Dallas 2, Kings 3
Two two-on-one opportunities lead to an offensive zone penalty for the Kings. The Stars weren’t able to make much of the man advantage, and even though Khudobin spent the last 10 seconds of the power play banging his stick against the ice to warn the rest of his team, the Stars still allowed the Dustin Brown, just exiting the box, a good breakaway opportunity.
It’s hard to overstate how little support Khudobin was given this game. Yes, his save percentage wasn’t great, but given the opportunities the Stars gave up, it could have been so much worse.
It was around midway through the period that the Stars began playing with some urgency, like a win here might actually mean something. They tied the game again after Comeau carried the puck through the neutral zone and took a shot on net. Quick gave up the rebound to Radek Faksa, who was streaming in on the opposite side.
Radek Faksa. Tie game.— Dylan Nadwodny (@dnadders) March 1, 2019
DAL 3 - 3 LAK pic.twitter.com/CikhRNi18F
The Stars came really close to winning the game late in the third, but Jonathan Quick proved once again that he’s actually still Jonathan Quick and stoned Jason Dickinson point blank.
Hello, 911? We'd like to report a robbery. pic.twitter.com/GbDrMLQfQ5— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) March 1, 2019
Unfortunately for Stars fans trying to stay up in Central time for the end of this game, 60 minutes was not enough and the game went to overtime.
With every indication that this game would actually go to the dreaded shootout, Roope Hintz earned some redemption, as he cleaned up John Klingberg’s rebound at the net. Hintz had the turnover that led to Leipsic’s goal. But hey, he’d probably rather have the game winner.
Hard work in front by Roope Hintz pays off. Stars win.— Dylan Nadwodny (@dnadders) March 1, 2019
DAL 4 - 3 LAK pic.twitter.com/pTQj0Wi4D1
The Stars will be in St Louis for a game against the Blues on Saturday! Puck drop is at 7 p.m. CST.