The Dallas Stars were shutout for the first time this season as the Los Angeles Kings defeated them 4-0 at Staples Center Thursday night.
While the score makes the game look worse than it was in some ways thanks to two empty net goals, in other ways it was exactly what Dallas deserved in this one. Playing in the second half of a back-to-back, and with something like half the roster effected by a non-COVID-19 illness going around the locker room (as is common during flu season in the NHL), the Stars had no skating legs. They looked sluggish and it showed as they struggled to find anything resembling offense to start the game.
That allowed the Kings to accumulate a 20-9 shots on goal advantage after just 20 minutes of play. Honestly, if it weren’t for goaltender Jake Oettinger standing tall in net, this one could have easily been more like 2-0 at the end of the first period.
Instead, Oettinger continued to keep the team in it up until the end of the third period. He was beat just twice, with the first goal against coming from Adrian Kempe early in the second period on a breakaway.
But Oettinger continued to put up a brick wall and the Stars did seem to get something more going for them in the second period. It was a one-shot game up until there was about six minutes left in the game before Arthur Kaliyev took advantage of an errant pass to create an odd-man rush and make the score 2-0 for Los Angeles.
Dallas didn’t really get close to at least keeping the goose egg off the board after that, and the Kings added two empty net goals to make it look worse than it really was. But make no mistake — Dallas did not play to the point where they deserved to get a win in this one by any stretch.
Stars captain Jamie Benn said he was looking for a “feisty” response after the team lost in heartbreaking fashion the night before to the Vegas Golden Knights. This game was the exact opposite of that. You can only hope that a night of rest and the additional days of getting over whatever is going through the team right now can help them salvage this road trip and they can get points when they play the San Jose Sharks on Saturday.
Otherwise, that ground they made up with the win streak will quickly erode away, leaving the team to dig themselves up once again.