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The Key Three: Feb. 12

by Rich Hammond / Los Angeles Kings
Three key aspects of the Kings’ 4-2 victory over the Dallas Stars...


On Saturday in New York, Dwight King made his season debut and Jordan Nolan made his NHL debut. They played well, even if the stat sheet indicated they didn’t make huge contributions. Well, they got their rewards last night. King alertly scored on a rebound just under nine minutes into the game, and Nolan scored the game-winning goal with 8:31 remaining in the third period, when he alertly went to the net and knocked in Mike Richards’ perfect no-look centering pass. It’s doubtful that either young forward will become a top scorer in the NHL, but if they continue to play with energy and smarts, they can contribute.

The game had an ``uh-oh’’ feeling for the Kings, particularly given recent history. The last time the Kings held a two-goal lead and lost the game was on Nov. 23 in Dallas, when the Kings led 2-0 after two periods. The Stars scored twice in the third period and won 3-2 on Steve Ott’s overtime goal. This time, Loui Eriksson scored a second-period goal and Michael Ryder scored a third-period goal to tie the game at the 4:37 mark, but the Kings bounced back and scored with 8:31 remaining. More importantly, they didn’t letup after that. The Kings’ top line fared well down the stretch as the Kings protected the lead late.

A plodding, unproductive power-play effort cost the Kings dearly in Saturday’s overtime loss to the New York Islanders, and the Kings entered Sunday;’s game 0-for-6 on the power play in their previous three games. The power play came through against Dallas, though, with a huge goal to give the Kings a 2-0 lead in the second period. The goal came with equal parts skill and fortune. Jack Johnson got off a quick shot, after a nice pass from Anze Kopitar, and the puck hit Andrei Loktionov’s skate and went in. On the other side, the Kings went 3-for-3 on the penalty kill and have now killed 18 consecutive penalties.
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