LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Two costly defensive lapses by the Dallas Stars enabled
the Los Angeles Kings to stay ahead of them in the Pacific Division.
Martin Straka scored a short-handed goal with 22 seconds left in regulation
and Ziggy Palffy scored in the first period after an ill-fated clearing pass by
Dallas goaltender Marty Turco, as the Kings rallied twice to tie the Stars 2-2
"It was a tough, hard game -- and to get a tie in the last minute feels
great," Straka said.
Kings defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky was serving a high-sticking penalty when
teammate Jaroslav Modry dumped the puck behind the net. Dallas defenseman
Richard Matvichuk tried to poke the puck from Eric Belanger, but missed.
Straka converted Belanger's centering pass with four seconds left on Dallas'
power play -- and goalie Cristobal Huet pulled for an extra attacker.
"I turned around and saw a couple of guys in front of the net," Belanger
said. "I saw Marty and just put it on his stick, and he made a great shot.
It's a huge point. It almost feels like a win."
Stu Barnes ended an 18-game goal drought, and Bill Guerin also scored for
the Stars, who remained a point behind the second-place Kings. The Stars had
lost six straight to division rivals, beginning with back-to-back defeats to
"That's the second time that's happened to us in three games," Guerin
said, referring to Niklas Sundstrom's tying goal with a minute left in a 1-1
tie Wednesday with Montreal. "Who knows if those are the ones that are going
to bite us in the butt when it comes down to it?"
Dallas played without captain Mike Modano, scratched for the first time this
season after injuring his right leg in the third period Friday night against
The Kings were thoroughly outplayed for most of the first period before they
got a huge break -- courtesy of Turco, who made 24 saves and has allowed no more
than two goals in 17 of 20 starts.
He left the crease to clear the puck from the left corner but his hurried
outlet pass intended for Niko Kapanen was intercepted in the slot by Palffy,
who backhanded a shot into a wide-open net at 18:47 before Turco could scramble
back. It was Palffy's 16th goal and 10th in 14 games.
"I was trying to make a good safe pass, and it looked like I had more room
than there was," Turco said. "I saw Niko and tried to get him the puck. But
by the time I turned and shot it, Palffy got a good jump and got there first."
The Kings gave it back, however, at 1:34 of the second period. Barnes took a
pass in front of the net from David Oliver at the end of a two-on-one rush and
beat Huet to put Dallas ahead 2-1. Huet made 26 saves for Los Angeles, winless
in eight games (0-2-5-1).
Guerin opened the scoring at 6:03 of the first with his 18th goal and fourth
in 18 games. Brendan Morrow was battling Kings defenseman Mattias Norstrom for
the puck along the boards at center ice and worked it free to a wide-open
"We did a lot of things well, but it's always frustrating when you give up
a goal in the last minute and don't win," Dallas coach Dave Tippett said. "We
were looking for two points."