Dallas Stars Outlast Los Angeles Kings 5-4 at Home
It was the John Klingberg show early, and the Kari Lehtonen show late as the Stars survived by the skin of their teeth against the champs.
The Dallas Stars have won two consecutive home games. What?
Yes, friends, the Stars like that Pacific Division. Wins against Los Angeles and Arizona on the road two weeks ago, a win against the Vancouver Canucks here early on, and now two more wins against the Kings and Coyotes- They may be in the Central but they're missing some off these opponents, evidently.
It was the John Klingberg show again tonight, Jason Demers added his first in his debut, and Kari Lehtonen was solid once again after the Stars jumped out to a huge lead, and then nearly gave it all back after falling under attack all third period.
With fans and media alike eager for a look at defensive pairings rotating with a couple of right handed shots, Jason Demers and John Klingberg now in place, the Stars did the most frustrating thing they could- Take three minor penalties in the first 10 minutes of play.
But that would pass, with some goaltending and a lot of tenacity and proper positioning from Stars' forwards.
Then the fun part began.
The Dallas Stars were a lot of fun to watch last season, and the most casual observer would tell you why: The speed. That, the more intiated of you know, is a function of zone exits and smooth transition game, which the Stars seemed to find a bit tonight.
Exhibit A: Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn out on a (this season) very rare two-on-one, and Seguin out-waited the defender beautifully to set up a slam dunk for his buddy.
Little more than two minutes later Jamie Benn would get on the score sheet, smartly feeding the golden stick of John Klingberg in the high slot, who again fired a laser to give the Stars another huge home goal.
John Klingberg. Who scored tonight. Killed penalties. Made his debut on the top power play unit- Which was where the next beauty came. With the clock rapidly ticking down to zero on the period Klingberg casually walked down the left wing boards, drawing the attention of all, before casually flipping the puck to Jamie Benn and the Stars' third goal on the evening.
Seguin to Benn. Benn to Klingberg. Klingberg to Benn. The captain is getting back invovled with a little help from his friends.
Kari Lehtonen would get in on the action with a long pass to Tyler Seguin and a commanding 4-0 lead, and tha's really where this story should end. But it doesn't, by a long shot.
Tanner Pearson scored in the second after a messy shift from the Horcoff/McKenzie/Cole line. The Stars put the Kings on the power play yet again and Justin Williams scored on a rebound. All the fun was gone and an entire half of a hockey game remained with the Stars capitulating.
Jason Demers' first tally as a Star put the building back in party mode, but that lasted all of 36 seconds until Mike Richards centering attempt deflected, rather fortuitously, past Lehtonen off of Jokipakka's stick.
Three goals allowed in one period on 14 shots.
Dallas, content to simply get the puck over their blue line and effect a change, saw the Kings' shot total balloon to 37 in the periods first ten minutes- 13 to Dallas' 1 in that span, and the Kings cut it to a single goal with momentum on their side after a four-goal deficit in the second period.
17-3 was the final shot margin in the third, and if not for a late penalty to the Kings... It was not the shutdown frame they needed to play, by any stretch of the imagination, but two points.
The Edmonton Oilers are next after two off days, and some practice time for newcomer Jason Demers.
Baby steps. Baby steps.