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Kings hit the road to take on Stars

by Brian Hunter /

KINGS (24-19-1) at STARS (27-13-5)


Last 10:
Los Angeles 3-7-0; Dallas 6-3-1

Season series: Third of six meetings between these Pacific Division rivals. Dallas enters in first place, but Los Angeles has had the success in the previous two games they've played. Jonathan Quick stopped 30 shots and five different Kings scored in a 5-2 win on Oct. 28, and third-period power-play goals by Justin Williams and Jack Johnson powered them to a 3-1 victory on Nov. 11.

Big story: Los Angeles didn't help its playoff hopes any by picking up only two wins on a just-concluded eight-game homestand. But the Kings will get a chance to make up for that by proving over the next month they are road warriors. Monday's game begins a stretch where they play three of their next four away from Staples Center. Then, after returning home for two games to end the month, the Kings begin February with a massive 10-game road trip that figures to make or break their season.

Team Scope:

Kings: Badly in need of two points to salvage something out of the homestand, Los Angeles beat up on Western Conference doormat Edmonton on Saturday, as Jarret Stoll scored twice in a 5-2 victory. Marco Sturm, Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty had the other goals and Jonathan Bernier was flawless after giving up a pair of first-period goals, finishing with 24 saves.

"Tonight, we had the good energy from the beginning, right through to the end," coach Terry Murray said. "We got pretty good stops, and our whole mindset of moving the puck and getting it north, getting it into the offensive zone, was excellent. So we'll just have to move by what happened the other games, now, and look forward to what's in front of us."

Stars: This is the conclusion of a three-game homestand for Dallas, which will be looking for the sweep and its fourth straight win overall. On Saturday night, the Stars broke open a close game in the latter stages of the third period by getting a pair of goals from James Neal and one from Jeff Woywitka for a 6-1 win over the Thrashers. Trevor Daley also scored a pair, including two of the Stars' four power-play goals, and Kari Lehtonen defeated his old team with 29 saves and an assist.

"It was the most exciting game for me this year, lots of emotions," said Lehtonen, who spent the first six-plus years of his NHL career with Atlanta after being taken No. 2 in the 2002 Entry Draft. "I played my own game, the guys came up big there in the third period and the last parts of the second. It was a good win."

Who's hot: Stoll has 5 goals in as many games for the Kings. ... Mike Ribeiro has 3 goals and 7 assists during an eight-game points streak for the Stars. Loui Eriksson has 1 goal and 10 assists during a nine-game points streak. Neal has 4 goals over his last three games. Daley and Jamie Benn have 3 goals in as many games. Brad Richards has 1 goal and 9 assists over his last six games.

Injury report: Los Angeles forward Wayne Simmonds suffered a lower-body injury Saturday and is day-to-day, while forward Scott Parse (hip) is on injured reserve. ... Dallas defenseman Matt Niskanen (hand) is day-to-day, and forward Toby Petersen (lower body) is on injured reserve.

Stat pack: The Kings have won all 14 games this season they've led after two periods. ... The Stars have scored six goals in a game twice this season, also doing it Nov. 5 against the Coyotes.

Puck drop: Los Angeles has won its last five games in Dallas by a 15-5 aggregate score, going 5-for-18 on the power play. The Kings are 7-0-1 at American Airlines Center since their last regulation loss there on Dec. 13, 2007.

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