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Hot goalies expected to battle as Kings face Stars

by Dan Rosen /
KINGS (5-2-1) at STARS (7-2-0)


Season series:
This is the second of six meetings between the clubs this season. The Kings topped the Stars 1-0 last Saturday at Staples Center.

Big Story:
The Stars have been one of the better stories early in this NHL season, but so has L.A. goaltender Jonathan Quick, who made 28 saves for his third straight shutout the last time these two teams played. Jonathan Bernier got the start for the Kings against New Jersey on Tuesday, but he gave up three goals in the second period and the Kings were blanked, 3-0. Quick should be in net Thursday against Kari Lehtonen, which should create quite a goaltending duel.

Team Scope:

Kings: Drew Doughty made it through a full practice with some contact on Wednesday, and it's possible the star defenseman will return to the lineup against Dallas. Doughty has been out since injuring his shoulder early in the Kings game at Philadelphia on Oct. 15.

If Doughty is able to play, Slava Voynov would likely be the odd-man out so Doughty could slide back into his normal spot on the right side of Willie Mitchell.

"I was cleared to practice with the team and cleared to get some contact in practice. I feel really good," Doughty said according to Rich Hammond of the L.A. Kings Insider blog. "I feel ready to play and almost back to normal. Now it's just kind of in the hands of the training staff and the coaching staff to put me in."

The Kings had their four-game winning streak and three-game shutout streak snapped with Tuesday's 3-0 loss to New Jersey. The breakdowns happened in the second period when the Devils scored all three goals in a matter of five minutes and 14 seconds.

Stars: Dallas finally defeated the Phoenix Coyotes in Glendale on Tuesday after 65 minutes of action and eight rounds of a shootout. Trevor Daley provided the shootout winner for the Stars, who improved to 7-2-0. Their 14 points led the Western Conference heading into Wednesday night's games.

Adam Burish scored with 1:01 left in regulation to send the game into overtime. Lehtonen made 33 saves and was good on seven of eight shootout attempts to improve to 7-0 on the season.

The Stars have scored more than three goals in a game only once this season, but they've been riding Lehtonen's hot play and a strong brand of grittiness to get off to a hot start.

"We have to get used to playing tight games," defenseman Sheldon Souray said. "It's a tight League and there's a lot of good teams. We're going to be down by one a lot of times, we're going to be up by one a lot, and we have to learn how to be comfortable and play the right way in those games."

Who's Hot:
Quick didn't play Tuesday, so his shutout streak remains at 188:10 and counting. Jamie Benn leads the Stars with 8 points, including 6 over the last five games.

Injury Report:
It appears Doughty (shoulder) has been cleared, but whether he plays Thursday will likely be determined after the morning skate. The Stars enter the game healthy.

Stat Pack: Between the two expected starting goalies, Quick and Lehtonen, they have a combined 12 wins, three shutouts and a .962 save percentage. Lehtonen leads the League in wins (7) and is fourth in both save percentage (.955) and goals-against average (1.54). Quick is fourth in wins (5), but leads the League in save percentage (.972), GAA (0.81) and shutouts (3).

Puck Drop:
"I really want to play (Thursday), really badly," Doughty told Hammond. "It (stinks) being out."

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