Stars lose 4-2 in a critical game against the Kings


Dallas 2 – Los Angeles 4

Raise your hand if knew who Dwight King and Jordan Nolan were before yesterday’s game. To be fair to Stars fans, I’m not entirely sure the Kings fanbase had any idea who these two kids were either. Dallas has a reason to know who these two guys are now that they both provided critical goals that were detrimental to the Stars season.

The fact that both of those guys were in their first NHL game and scored is shocking. That has to be the reason why these two guys scored a goal in their first NHL games ever right? Dallas just had no idea who they were and forgot to cover them (though it’s not like the Stars cover a lot of people. It’s mostly Kari Lehtonen anyway).

No matter who they were, the Stars came out in this game and just looked flat. They weren’t getting outplayed or blown out of the water. They just looked slow and without emotion for the first 30 minutes of this game. Passes weren’t crisp and were not reaching their intended targets. Dallas was throwing out turnovers again in their own zone as a result and any shot they had on Jonathan Quick was one that was not dangerous at all.

To come out in a game as important as this and look flat is inexcusable. Dallas has no other chance to get points directly from LA this season and needed to close the gap between the two (Dallas has a horrifically difficult schedule down the line). The Kings scored goals in the first and second period before Dallas was finally able to wake up and realize that this was a big game.

Loui Eriksson scored a goal that was moer fortune that skill. Alex Goligoski passed the puck from the left wing towards the goal where Loui was waiting. Jack Johnson was defending Loui and was in the perfect spot to stop the puck but he missed with his stick and the puck went right between his legs for an easy tap-in from Eriksson.

Dallas tied the game in the first five minutes of the third period as Michael Ryder sniped one past Quick and it looked like Dallas would be able to get a point out of this one. They controlled the run of play for the next five minutes or so, getting more chances to score the go-ahead goal but just couldn’t do it. Jordan Nolan scored the game winner 11 minutes into the third and Justin Williams sealed it with an empty-netter at the end.

This just continues the poor, lethargic, uninspired play that Dallas has been prone to in the past couple of months. Kari Lehtonen has pretty much been the only guy night in and night out that has been showing up but even he struggled in this game, allowing three goals on just 15 shots (one of them a dribbler from Dwight King). The only guys that stood out to me as playing well throughout the game were Eriksson, Goligoski, Tomas Vincour and Mark Fistric.

Again, they were not just thoroughly outplayed by the Kings. They just allowed LA to go about their business for half of the game without much resistance. There was no fire on the offensive end, no real conviction to get the puck and go towards the net. Everything was a hopeful shot from far away. A wake-up call should have happened long ago, but it needs to be blared out every game from now on.

Dallas gets to play the Red Wings and their 20 game home winning streak on Tuesday as a challenge to get back on track.

more after the jump


Game Notes:

  • Kari Lehtonen continues his struggles against the Kings. He’s 2-2-0 this season but with bad numbers. He has a 3.18 GAA and a .880 save percentage.
  • The Stars actually outshot the Kings in each period of this game. Going into the third, Dallas was outshooting LA 18-9, which would have been fantastic if LA had not scored goals on two of those nine shots.
  • Tomas Vincour continues to play well in his new spot alongside Benn and Ott. He actually played with some energy in this game and was out there checking on the offensive boards. He led the team with six hits in this game.
  • Eriksson scored a goal for the first time in 10 games.
  • The Stars had 20 face-offs in the offensive zone but were only able to win half of them. They especially struggled going up against Mike Richards, who won 7 of the 9 face-offs he took in his own zone. Only Vernon Fiddler was able to beat him (twice). Mike Ribeiro (0 of 1), Steve Ott (0 of 3), Jamie Benn (0 of 1) and Adam Burish (0 of 1) were all winless against Richards in the offensive zone.
  • Turnovers continues to kill Dallas. They have nine more registered giveaways this game but it seemed like much more. The game could have ended worse for Dallas if Lehtonen had not made a couple of solid saves.

Game Stats and Scoring Summary:

    Dallas    Los Angeles
Score 2 4
Shots 28 16
Penalty Minutes 8 610
Power Plays 0 of 3 1 of 2
Blocked Shots 10 13
Hits 32 22
Faceoff Wins 22 25

1st Period:

  • 8:54 – Dwight King (1)
    Assists: Justin Williams, Anze Kopitar

2nd Period:

  • 8:21 – Andrei Loktionov (2) (Power Play)
    Assists: Jack Johnson, Anze Kopitar
  • 13:22 – Loui Eriksson (18)
    Assists: Alex Goligoski, Mike Ribeiro

3rd Period:

  • 4:37 – Michael Ryder (21)
    Assists: Loui Eriksson, Alex Goligoski
  • 11:29 – Jordan Nolan (1)
    Assists: Mike Richards, Dwight King
  • 19:57 – Justin Williams (11) (empty-net)