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game recap

Fast start leads Kings past Stars

Los Angeles wins for ninth time in past 12 games

by Steve Hunt / NHL.com Correspondent

Kopitar's beautiful goal

LAK@DAL: Kopitar dangles for the score to extend lead

3/15/16: Anze Kopitar puts a move on the defender and waits out Kari Lehtonen, putting the puck home on a backhand shot to extend the lead

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DALLAS -- Anze Kopitar had a goal and an assist and Jhonas Enroth made 24 saves to help the Los Angeles Kings to a 5-2 win against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center on Tuesday. 

Kris Versteeg, Tyler Toffoli, Dustin Brown and Trevor Lewis scored and Rob Scuderi had two assists for Los Angeles (42-22-5), which has nine wins in its past 12 games.

"It's that time of the year," Kopitar said. "You got to start sharpening up. We want to make sure that obviously we're peaking at the right time. There's still some room for improvement, but we feel like we're on the right track."

Alex Goligoski and Cody Eakin scored for Dallas (41-21-9). Goalie Kari Lehtonen was pulled after allowing four goals on 11 shots. Antti Niemi made 10 saves.

Video: LAK@DAL: Toffoli and Shore extend lead on give-and-go

The Stars remain atop the Central Division with 91 points. 

"We laid an egg tonight, flat-out," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "We were flat. I probably would have risked pulling the goalie, even with 5-6 minutes [left], but we were flat. We would just be handing them another one. When there's no energy, and there's no battle, for me it's just get through it and get out of here."

The Kings scored twice in the opening 5:25 of the first period. Versteeg scored 23 seconds into the game when he redirected Scuderi's slap shot from the left point past Lehtonen. 

Toffoli made it 2-0 with a tap-in at the near post at 5:25 of the first off a Dallas turnover. After Kris Russell slipped near the Dallas blue line, Nick Shore gained possession. Shore and Toffoli traded passes before Toffoli scored inside the near post. 

"Too many mistakes, I think, mental mistakes," Stars captain Jamie Benn said. "We give up a goal on the first shift of the game, a couple bad turnovers hung our goalies out to dry."

Video: LAK@DAL: Versteeg scores 23 seconds into 1st period

Dallas answered at 8:47 of the first when Goligoski scored his first goal in 17 games. Goligoski's shot from the right circle hit the left skate of Dwight King and past Enroth. Goligoski hadn't scored since Feb. 9. 

Kopitar gave the Kings a 3-1 lead with 2:20 remaining in the first. Milan Lucic fed Kopitar from inside the Dallas blue line and Kopitar finished with a backhand inside the near post. 

"They got the bounce on their first goal and put us back on our heels a little bit, thought they started to come," Scuderi said. "But I thought we did a good job of just regrouping and staying with it. They're an explosive team and if you panic too much, they can really turn the game on you in a hurry, but I thought everyone just stuck with the plan and stayed calm."

Los Angeles chased Lehtonen when Brown scored his 10th goal of the season 1:07 into the second period. 

"I thought they came in and played really well against us," Stars forward Patrick Eaves said. "We paid for our turnovers, and when you get down to a team that's structured like that, it's hard to get those goals back. We'll just have to tighten things up a little."

Video: LAK@DAL: Lewis, Lecavalier pad lead in the 2nd

Eakin made it 4-2 with a power-play goal at 6:42 of the second period. 

Lewis scored with 5:12 remaining in the second. 

Kings forward Vincent Lecavalier played his 1,200th NHL game and assisted on the Lewis goal.

"Yeah, he's old," Kopitar said of Lecavalier, who was sitting across the locker room. "Well, obviously he's been a great addition to our hockey club and for him I'm sure it was pretty special. I'm sure he's going to remember this one for quite a little while. (I) can't say enough about him; he's given us some really, really solid minutes 5-on-5, on the power play. He's been taking some key draws too in their zone, and that's what we need from him."

Ruff coached his 1,400th game.

Video: Kings use fast start in win against Stars

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