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Kings beat Stars to snap four-game slide

by Steve Hunt

DALLAS -- Third-period goals by forwards Dustin Brown and Kyle Clifford gave the Los Angeles Kings a 3-1 victory against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday at American Airlines Center, snapping their four-game losing streak.

The Kings took their first lead of the game 4:23 into the final period when Brown flicked a wrister past Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen. They added an insurance goal at 11:35 when Clifford scored his first of the season.

"[Dwight King] did all the work. He got a nice turnover, forced a turnover," Brown said of his game-winner. "[Mike Richards] picked up the loose puck and [Richards] is one of those guys that kind of looks to pass first. I thought it was just coming late. My shot was [to] just get it by the D and on the net."

Los Angeles goaltender Jonathan Quick stopped 33 shots to earn his sixth win of the season and help the Kings (7-4-2) avoid going without a victory on their five-game road trip.

"Going into the third period, it was a tie game and were able to win the third period on the road, so that's (good), especially against a team as good as Dallas," Quick said. "That's quite an accomplishment. So we can take that momentum and carry it back home."

Trevor Lewis ' shorthanded goal, the Kings' fourth of the season, tied the game 2:55 into the second period. He also assisted on Clifford's goal.

Dallas is winless in its past five games and is 1-1-4 at home this season.

"We're sitting at 4-4-4, and we've got to get going in the other direction," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "We'll start with simple and build it back up again."

Shawn Horcoff gave Dallas an early lead when he beat Quick top shelf with a wrister 2:37 into the game. Defenseman Jordie Benn set the table with a nice pass from the Dallas blue line to Vernon Fiddler, who was at the Kings' blue line. Fiddler passed to Horcoff, who first looked like he might go to the backhand. But after quickly switching to the forehand, he flipped the puck over Quick's left shoulder to make it 1-0.

Lehtonen delivered a big save at 9:43 when he rebuffed a bid from the Kings' Marian Gaborik to slip a backhand inside the near post.

"He had some really good looks," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said of Gaborik, who was playing his second game after missing eight with an upper-body injury. "If he's sharper, he probably scores on a couple of them. The way it goes."

The other quality chance for Dallas in the first period came with 6:15 left when Antoine Roussel hit the right post with a close-range shot from near the paint.

The Kings tied it when Lewis beat Lehtonen with a backhander while Tanner Pearson was serving a hooking penalty. The sequence began when Lehtonen's attempt to clear the puck around the boards was intercepted by Jarret Stoll. He chipped the chipped the puck toward the net, and Lewis won a battle with Benn for possession in the right circle, then poked the puck into the slot, got Lehtonen to commit and scored his first goal of the season.

"We gave up a shorthanded goal, which really hurt us," Ruff said.

Brown's goal came 14 seconds after the Kings captain was inadvertently knocked into Lehtonen, who finished with 27 saves.

Stars defenseman Brenden Dillon was assessed a double minor with 3:48 left in regulation when he was called for high sticking Kings forward Justin Williams, who was cut on the play.

The win was the first on the road for the Kings this season.

"You need to win games on the road in this League," defenseman Drew Doughty said. "We're obviously happy with what we've done at home so far this year, but we were really disappointed with our road play. Even tonight, we still didn't come out the way we wanted to, but our second and third period were good and that's why we won the game."

Ruff had plenty to address in his postgame remarks to the media. One of the first things he mentioned was an 0-for-4 showing by the power play; the Stars are 5-for-29 at home this season.

"Things have got to change. It's not working. We're going to change it," Ruff said. "It's my responsibility to change the mentality. It's got to change."

Ruff also took issue with the 19 giveaways the Stars committed, two of which led to the third-period goals by the Kings.

"Some of it is just puck management. When I look at the sheet and I see 19 giveaways, we're not going to win hockey games," Ruff said. "That's where I have to change the mentality. That's my job. Enough of the pond hockey. Enough of open plays."

Something else that remains an ongoing issue for the Stars is their poor play in the third period, where they have been outscored 16-8. Dallas is 1-3-1 when tied after two periods and the inability to finish games has been especially apparent on home ice.

"That's something that's going to need to come from within," center Cody Eakin said. "We've got to start being more comfortable in those tight games, and when we're tied going to the third we have to play the right way. Guys are trying hard. We have to play smart."

Los Angeles returns home to play the New York Islanders on Thursday, the same night Dallas continues its homestand against the Nashville Predators.

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