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Early, steady scoring carries Kings to 5-2 win

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings

The Kings benefited from early offensive production for the second consecutive night in their 5-2 win over the Dallas Stars Tuesday evening at the American Airlines Center.

Two games in two nights? No sweat. The Kings improved to 9-1-1 in the second game of a back-to-back set.

Newcomer Kris Versteeg, who continued to play on the first line alongside Anze Kopitar and Milan Lucic, got the offense rolling from the get-go yet again, this time 23 seconds into the contest, sparking the Kings’ three-goal outpour in the opening frame.

“We got off to an early lead again, which it’s nice obviously to play with the lead, but we followed it up.” said Kopitar. “Every time they inched closer, we had an answer, and obviously that’s huge.”

Backup goaltender Jhonas Enroth got the call to make his 12th start of the season, receiving a plethora of offensive support while playing his former team.

“I felt like I had everything under control, except they scored two kind of lucky goals on me. Overall I think the team really shut them down well,” said Enroth.

On the night’s opening shift, Versteeg redirected home a Rob Scuderi shot from the point while positioned in the high-slot, catching Kari Lehtonen off-guard to give the Kings a 1-0 lead.

Scuderi registered his 100th-career NHL assist on Versteeg’s opening marker.

Five minutes later, Tyler Toffoli pounced on a Stars turnover, attacked Dallas’ zone on a two-on-one sequence with Nick Shore and beat Lehtonen to score his second goal in as many games.

Alex Goligoski got Dallas on the board midway through the first.

With just over two minutes left to play in the opening frame, Anze Kopitar received a pass from Milan Lucic as he entered Dallas’ zone, split through two defensemen and beat Lehtonen with a move to his backhand.

The Kings were quick to strike in the second when Dustin Brown jammed home a Kyle Clifford feed through the arm of Dallas’ goaltender, recording a goal for the second straight game to up the Kings’ lead to three.

Kari Lehtonen was pulled in favor of Antti Niemi following Brown’s goal; Dallas’ starter allowed four goals on 11 shots faced.

Cody Eakin got the Stars back to within two when he scored a power play goal with 13:18 left to play in the middle frame.

Trevor Lewis scored the night’s final goal when he and Vincent Lecavalier capitalized on a Stars turnover, Lewis the beneficiary of a Lecavalier pass which he fired high to the top left corner to give the Kings a 5-2 lead.

Kyle Clifford played in his 400th-career regular season NHL game Tuesday night, Vincent Lecavalier his 1,200th.

The Kings are now 2-0-0 against the Stars this season; Dallas will pay a visit to STAPLES Center on April 2 to complete the season series.

Rob Scuderi (1G, 1A) and Anze Kopitar (2A) led all Kings players in points scored (2), Trevor Lewis in shots taken (3), Alec Martinez in hits delivered (5), Rob Scuderi in shots blocked (3), and Drew Doughty in minutes played (24:48). Jhonas Enroth made 24 saves in the win.

The Kings will return home for a two-game home stand, which they’ll start Thursday night when they host the New York Rangers at STAPLES Center, where the puck is scheduled to drop just after 7:30 PM PST.

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