No Rest for Stars as Team Faces Kings

After blowing a 3-0 lead against the Sharks, Dallas is back at it to finish off brutal January road schedule.

The Dallas Stars jumped out to a big early lead on Wednesday night against the San Jose Sharks, but mid-game, the team stopped skating and fell victim to a relentless forecheck.

Zone exits were a breeze to start the game, but once the Sharks took time and space away, Dallas fell into old habits. High flips, clearances down the boards and cross ice passes through traffic. It didn’t bode well when it started and it played out during a brutal five minute span where the early lead evaporated.

Lost in the mix, perhaps, was a valiant one man effort on the backend by Miro Heiskanen and an incredible goal by Jason Robertson.

It all started well, with Ty Dellandrea finding a shortside hole on James Reimer (one that Reimer probably wanted back), the aforementioned Robertson tally and a puck luck skate bank from Radek Faksa. Seems a waste - almost half of the offense in the last two games has come off of opposing defenders, and you know that puck luck won’t last.

Anyway, Dallas heads down the Pacific Coast to Los Angeles to face the Kings; maybe this is an old school Stars trip, where the team beats the good teams but lay an egg against the also rans.

Dallas Stars Lineup

Jason Robertson (21) – Tyler Seguin (91) – Joe Pavelski (16)
Jamie Benn (14) – Wyatt Johnston (53) – Ty Dellandrea (10)
Mason Marchment (27) – Luke Glendening (11) - Denis Gurianov (34)
Fredrik Olofsson (42) – Radek Faksa (12) - Joel Kiviranta (25)

Miro Heiskanen (4) – Colin Miller (6)
Esa Lindell (23) – Jani Hakanpää (2)
Ryan Suter (20) – Nils Lundkvist (5)

Jake Oettinger (29)
Scott Wedgewood (41)

Lineup the same, but likely Wedgewood in net.

Los Angeles Kings Lineup

Kevin Fiala (22) - Anze Kopitar (11) - Adrian Kempe (9)
Alex Iafallo (19) - Phillip Danault (24) - Viktor Arvidsson (33)
Quinton Byfield (55) - Blake Lizotte (46) - Samuel Fagemo (68)
Brendan Lemieux (48) - Rasmus Kupari (89) - Jaret Anderson-Dolan (28)

Michael Anderson (44) - Drew Doughty (8)
Sean Durzi (50) - Matt Roy (3)
Alexander Edler (2) - Sean Walker (26)

Pheonix Copley (29)
Jonathan Quick (32)

The Stars came out strong against the Kings when the teams played in Los Angeles on January 3. That game was before the injury to Roope Hintz - and the Stars top line was able to do damage against the Kings shutdown line, centered by Danault. Benn’s line went up against the Kings top line and had a tough time.

The key to the game (and the Kings win) was third period domination. Up until the game, the Stars had demonstrated the ability to keep up the pressure late in games and to dominate on the scoresheet. At the time, the Kings game seemed like an anomaly - but after a few weeks, there has been a regression to the Stars late game domination.

Being on the second day of a back to back, and at the end of a brutal stretch of three weeks where there hasn’t been a true homestand, Dallas is going to dig deep to finish this west coast swing on an up note.

Keys to the Game

Energy. Everything points to the Stars being a tired team, and the Kings haven’t played since Saturday.

Wedgewood. The team fell in love with Scott Wedgewood after he came to the team late last year. This year, he’s been beatable. Dallas needs “Wedgewall”.

Depth Scoring. Faksa, Dellandrea, Suter, Kiviranta. They’ve all broken extended scoreless streaks on this road trip. Hello Gurianov, Glendening and even Marchment. The Stars are better than the Kings with their bottom six and it needs to show.

Honorable mention - special teams.