Preview: Pursuit of Division Crown Continues for Dallas Stars Against Los Angeles Kings (3:00pm CDT)
It's an early start, for some reason, at 3:00pm CDT on Fox Sports Southwest.
Another slate of NHL hockey. Another day the Dallas Stars are sitting on top of the Western Conference world with their 103 points, still alone. Everyone's talking about it.
For example- Take one Mr. Tyler Seguin, who is spending his time these days a lot like you, Mr. Stars fan. Waiting. Watching. Cheering.
Little bit of a weird thing to say but come on Bruins!— Tyler Seguin (@tseguinofficial) April 2, 2016
He got his wish and so did the rest of us Friday evening when the Boston Bruins, despite surrendering a goal in the game's final minute AND then taking a minor penalty, managed to barely hold on to keep the St. Louis Blues at 101 points to the Stars' 103.
103 Points. Dallas Stars. Takes some getting used to. Or rather, a reacquaintance for this once and future proud franchise.
Chicago won last night too, so the Stars must now collect three of the final eight points available to them to guaruntee themselves at least home ice- Or the Hawks need to lose a game or two.
For now the Stars have to worry about the Los Angeles Kings and their playoff-experienced roster.
On January 19th the Stars lost in their first meeting with the Kings at Staples Center thanks to three goals scored by Los Angeles- None of which were fired closer than about 40 feet from Kari Lehtonen's net in a series of unlucky bonces and screens in favor of the home team.
The other meeting with the Kings you probably don't need much reminding of. It was an ugly affair in Dallas just two weeks ago, and something the Stars will try to put from their minds when squaring off against this Western Conference titan here this afternoon.
Reinforcements are on their way- But will seemingly take the smart route in getting ready for the playoffs and only the playoffs. Brett Ritchie and Kris Russell will watch this b2b set from Dallas this weekend-
Kris Russell and Brett Ritchie will not travel on this two game trip. Will rehab injuries in Texas.— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) April 1, 2016
One of them could play if they had to, if you believe what's being said and reported- but Dallas has the luxury of playing it safe and getting those guys healthy for Mid-April and they're taking it.
The Kings currently lead the Pacific Division but like the Dallas Stars face a couple of serious threats from below as the Sharks and Anaheim Ducks nip at their heels from below- San Jose 5 points back and Anaheim just a single point with a game in hand.
They defeated the Calgary Flames on Thursday night but had a rough go of it prior to that, inexplicably losing four of five after looking like the class of the conference for an extended period in winning 11 of 14 in a stretch before that spanning from late February through late March.
Lindy Ruff told dallasstars.com his feelings on this one yesterday- "I feel it's going to be a 3-2 game if we play well. The chances will be down. That's just the way they play. They are heavy on the walls, and they don't put very many pucks in the middle of the ice."
The Kings lineup:
Not Jon Quick
From Stars PR:
ALL THE KING'S MEN
The Dallas Stars and Los Angeles Kings play the third and final game of the 2015-16 season series on Saturday afternoon at Staples Center. The Stars enter Saturday's matchup having collected points in seven of their last nine games (6-2-1) at STAPLES Center. Los Angeles leads the season series (2-0-0), capturing the most recent game, 5-2, on March 15 in Dallas. Defenseman Alex Goligoski (1-0=1) and forward Cody Eakin (1-0=1) potted the goals for Dallas in the contest at American Airlines Center, with each tally coming unassisted. Earlier this season, the two teams met at STAPLES Center on Jan. 19, with the Kings recording a 3-2 victory. Forward Ales Hemsky (1-0=1) and Eakin (1-0=1) each netted a goal for Dallas.
BENN THERE, DONE THAT
Stars captain Jamie Benn recorded two points (1-1=2) against the Arizona Coyotes and now has goals in three consecutive games (4-1=5). With his goal on Thursday night, Benn becomes the first Dallas Stars player to hit the 40-goal mark since Mike Modano recorded 50 goals during the 1993-94 campaign. His 87 points (40-47=87) matches a career-high and is tied for the third-most points by a Stars player in a single season since the team moved to Dallas. Benn ranks second in the NHL with 87 points, ranking in second in goals (40) and tied for eighth in assists (47). The native of Victoria, B.C. has four points (2-2=4) over his last four games against Los Angeles and has 26 points (10-16=26) in 31 career games against the Kings. His 26 points are the tied for the second-most he's scored against any NHL opponent (other: Calgary Flames, 13-13=26).