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Shutout by Stars, Kings drop second straight

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings

– Playing their second game in as many nights, the Kings put forth a rather lethargic performance, falling 2-0 to the Dallas Stars Thursday night at STAPLES Center.

Just 24 hours after a disappointing shootout loss to the Anaheim Ducks Wednesday night, the Kings struggled to get anything going against the Stars, getting shut out for the third time this season.

“We chased the game,” Justin Williams said following the loss. “We chased it from the first period on. On a back-to-back that’s tough, but it simply wasn’t good enough. There wasn’t enough fight and our power play wasn’t great; it didn’t score a big goal for us like we needed tonight.”

Failing to execute on three power play opportunities Thursday night, the Kings have now gone scoreless in their last 17 man-advantage situations.

For the Kings, it was just their second loss on home ice in regulation this season; their eight-game point streak at STAPLES Center has come to an end.

Dallas got on the board with just under seven minutes to play in the first period when Ryan Garbutt beat Martin Jones with a quick shot from the left faceoff dot. Jones, who had to read Garbutt’s shot through a slew of traffic, couldn’t read the shot cleanly.

A Stars goal was disallowed 7:20 minutes into the second period when referees determined a shot from Dallas’ Curtis McKenzie deflected up into the protective netting after Martin Jones made the initial save.

At first, play was allowed to continue, and the Stars scored seconds later. The play was allowed to be reviewed, per an NHL rule change made last season, and the score remained 1-0.

The Kings’ luck was short lived, because less than a minute after Dallas’ goal was overturned, Jason Spezza struck to score a perfectly legal goal, giving the Stars a 2-0 lead with 11:47 to play in the second period.

The second period was where the Kings arguably played their best hockey of the night, registering 14 of their 27 shots. The Kings matched the Stars in shots taken overall with 27, but they couldn’t generate many solid scoring opportunities.

“Some nights you are going to get a lot, some nights you’re not,” Darryl Sutter said regarding creating scoring chances. “We scored ten goals in the last two games coming into the night, so tonight we couldn’t get one. We need a little bit more from the top then. When you’re a little banged up in the back, you need to look at chances from your top-end players.”

Dallas’ goaltender Kari Lehtonen recorded his first shutout of the season, stopping all 27 Kings shots. It was Lehtonen’s 28th career shutout. Lehtonen robbed Jarret Stoll of an absolute golden scoring opportunity early in the second period, undoubtedly the Kings’ closest chance to beating the Stars’ netminder.

Drew Doughty and Justin Williams led all Kings players in shots taken (6), Trevor Lewis in hits delivered (3), Drew Doughty in blocked shots (4), and Drew Doughty in minutes played (31:39). Martin Jones made 23 saves on 25 shots in the loss.

With the loss, the Kings’ record drops to 8-5-4. They’ll continue their four-game home stand Saturday afternoon at STAPLES Center when they play host to the Anaheim Ducks. The puck is slated to drop at 1:00PM PT.

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