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Kings hand Stars first home loss, 5-3

by Steve Hunt / NHL.com
DALLAS -- In what was supposed to be a battle between two of the NHL's hottest goaltenders, a rookie defenseman turned out to be the difference maker.

Slava Voynov scored twice and added an assist as the Los Angeles Kings handed the Dallas Stars their first home loss of the season, 5-3 at the American Airlines Center on Thursday night.

"Yeah, how about that? [Kari] Lehtonen's off to a tremendous start to his year. So to come in here and score five, it's a big team effort. It took everybody to get the job done here tonight," Kings coach Terry Murray said. "It's a huge win for us."

Lehtonen and the Kings' Jonathan Quick were a combined 12-0-1 entering the game, and Quick had shut out his last three opponents -- including a 1-0 win against Dallas in L.A. on Saturday.

Voynov's first goal came at 15:21 of the second when he buried a 25-foot slap shot to give the Kings a 3-1 lead. After Dallas rallied to tie the game, the 21-year-old Russian scored on a slapper from the right point at 13:08 of the third to put L.A. ahead to stay.

Voynov was called up from Manchester of the AHL on Oct. 18 when defenseman Drew Doughty went on injured reserve with a right shoulder problem. Doughty is set to be activated this weekend after missing five games, but Voynov ia making it tough for the Kings to send him back.

"He's got a big shot. He shoots the puck," Murray said of Voynov, the Kings' second-round pick (No. 32) in 2008. "He's got a nice skill that you don't coach and that's the offensive part of the game. He's got incredible composure. He sees the ice. He makes plays and again, he's got an instinct to be part of the attack and to get pucks to the net."

Mike Richards set up three goals while Anze Kopitar assisted on two.

Dallas opened the scoring when Trevor Daley scored off a tap-in to the left of the net at 14:01 of the opening period for his first goal of the season. Loui Eriksson's initial shot was stopped by Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick but Daley was there to knock in the carom. That goal was the first allowed by Quick in 202:11, a franchise record.

But the Kings revved up their offense in the second, scoring three times. Justin Williams' tap-in at 3:47 tied the game, and the Kings went ahead at 11:27 when Scott Parse scored his first goal of the year off a 10-foot wrister after a great feed from Richards. Voynov's goal gave L.A. a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes.

"He's playing really well," Kopitar said of Voynov. "He's a big part of our power play. He's logging a lot of minutes in the 5-on-5. He's playing against the top two lines of theirs, so I'm pretty sure if he keeps it up like that, it might be a tough decision for the head guys."

However, much of the final period belonged to Dallas. Michael Ryder's third goal with the Stars at 3:03 cut the Kings' lead to 3-2.  Just over four minutes later, Eric Nystrom's first tally with Dallas, which came after a stellar backhanded pass from Vernon Fiddler, tied it at 3-3 at 7:20. Nystrom's 20-foot wrister beat Quick through the five hole.

But Voynov's second goal of the night put L.A. ahead to stay. His point shot sailed past Lehtonen, who was being screened by Trevor Lewis. Dustin Brown hit the empty net with 27 seconds left to complete the scoring.

Quick stopped 30 of 33 shots to improve to 6-0-1. Lehtonen made 24 saves but lost for the first time in eight starts this season.

Despite seeing his club lose for the first time at home this season, Dallas coach Glen Gulutzan was generally pleased with everything but the final result.

"I thought that we played a pretty good game," Gulutzan said. "I'm OK with our effort right now. We battled back, showed some character but at the end, another seeing-eye single that goes through and found its way to the back of the net."

The Kings next head to Phoenix and will face the Coyotes on Saturday night in Glendale, Ariz. Dallas hosts New Jersey Saturday in its first game of the season against an Eastern Conference opponent.
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