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Lehtonen, Stars shut out Kings

by Curtis Zupke

LOS ANGELESKari Lehtonen and the old men parted the black-and-white sea again for the Dallas Stars.

Dallas got goals from forty-somethings Jaromir Jagr and Ray Whitney in a span of 4:22 in the third period to back Lehtonen's flawless goaltending as the Stars beat the Los Angeles Kings 2-0 on Thursday night.

Dallas won 5-2 at Staples Center two weeks earlier and has handed L.A. two of its three regulation home losses this season. This one came on the second night of a back-to-back in which the Stars were outplayed for much of the game but buoyed by Lehtonen's 40 saves.

"We didn't have a practice this morning, so we want give him some extra shots," joked Jagr, who smiled at Lehtonen and flexed his left bicep before he began his media scrum. "It worked well for us, so he doesn't have to work out after the game because he kind of worked out during the game. That was our plan. It works -- not all the time -- but today it did."

Jagr, 41, wheeled past Anze Kopitar and backhanded a shot off that hit Kings defenseman Drew Doughty in the back and went and past Jonathan Quick at 6:34 for the game's first goal. Whitney, 40, one-timed Alex Goligoski's pass from the lower left circle to complete a 3-on-2 rush at 10:56.

Dallas won despite seeing its power-play slump reach 1-for-22 and being outshot, 40-21.

"It started well and I got a couple of good saves," said Lehtonen, who has stopped 73 of 75 shots in two games against L.A. and now has 22 career shutouts. "They had a lot of chances, but sometimes you get lucky and sometimes you don't, and it was nice to get a few of those bounces tonight. We've had a little rough couple of weeks."

Jagr's 677th career goal came after a potentially deflating swing in the game for Dallas. The Stars hardly saw the puck in the second period and squandered a power play early in the third after Doughty was called for interfering with Derek Roy.

But with Lehtonen holding his ground against Quick, Dallas eventually broke through. Dallas was 2-15-2 in the second of back-to-back games dating to last season. L.A. had outscored the opposition 52-30 at home coming into the game.

Kings coach Darryl Sutter said his team simply didn't convert. He also gave a nod to Jagr, who at one point singlehandedly held off Kopitar near the wall like a basketball player posting up a defender.

"Left as a superstar, came back as a star," Sutter said of Jagr, who returned to the NHL last season after three years in Russia. "Just a little hiatus in there."

The top line of Kopitar, Dustin Brown and Justin Williams was on the ice for both Dallas goals. Jamie Benn got the puck free from Kopitar along the boards to start the rush on Jagr's goal.

"They didn't play very well," Sutter said of the top line. "They got caught out in too long shifts, caught on wrong side of pucks, caught in different situations where we don't want them to be in. They've struggled for two or three games, that line. Probably three in row."

It only seemed as if the entire second period was played in the Stars' end because the Kings outshot Dallas 15-3 before Quick was put to work with saves on Cody Eakin and Brenden Morrow.

Lehtonen kept the game scoreless with 30 stops through 40 minutes. Brown's shot hit Williams and trickled wide. Jeff Carter missed from the high slot and Dwight King was stopped in front.

If Los Angeles was kicking itself it might have been because it put only three shots on goal in two power plays and went into the first intermission scoreless despite a 12-5 edge in shots. The best scoring chance might have been Colin Fraser's shorthanded attempt after Kyle Clifford wrested the puck from Jagr.

"They got the first bounce, but again that's not an excuse," Kopitar said. "We should have gotten the job done before that."

As expected, the Kings scratched rookie Tyler Toffoli and inserted Jordan Nolan as Dustin Penner rejoined Carter and Mike Richards on the second line.

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