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Stars snap Kings' home streak with 5-2 win

by Curtis Zupke

LOS ANGELESDallas Stars captain Brenden Morrow wasn't aware of the recent third-period domination by the Los Angeles Kings. He probably wasn't too keen on their terrific homestand, either.

But part of him acknowledged that a three-goal third period in the first game against the defending Stanley Cup champions felt that much better after a 5-2 win at Staples Center.

"We know they're a great team," Morrow said. "To do it in this building -- to come with the third, staying disciplined, everything we talked about for our keys to the game -- we end up executing, so it feels pretty good."

Morrow slipped unnoticed in front of the Kings' net and put home Reilly Smith's pass at 6:21 of the third to break a 2-2 tie, and Jaromir Jagr completed a two-goal game 3:19 later on a fat rebound as the Stars snapped the Kings' six-game home winning streak.

Dallas improved to 6-1-1 in its past eight road games. Antoine Roussel wrapped up the win by hitting the empty net with 1:41 remaining.

The Stars' outburst represented some serious defensive lapses for the Kings, who had outscored opponents 25-12 in the third period and were coming off a great late comeback Tuesday, when they scored five unanswered goals to beat St. Louis, 6-4.

Los Angeles was playing its third game in four nights and Dallas had three days' rest, but Kings coach Darryl Sutter predictably dismissed that as a factor.

"No excuse for it," Sutter said before he joked, "I felt good. I'm almost 55. I felt awesome today."

Sutter pointed to his team's inability to handle the line of Jagr, Jamie Benn and Louis Eriksson. Jagr's 673rd and 674th goals both came on tape-to-tape passes from Benn.

"I think we are probably at 30 percent of where we can play [at]," Jagr said of his chemistry with Benn. "I think we've got a long way. We can get a lot better. Obviously I play a different style of the game than he's probably used to. It's tough for me at my age to change. I can't dump and chase. I'm not fast for that, so I like to keep the pucks. He has to, a little bit, adjust. I know it's not his game, but so far he's doing a good job."

Morrow's goal was more inexplicable -- Smith drew Trevor Lewis and Slava Voynov to the corner before Cody Eakin grabbed the loose puck and fed Morrow.

"I think I just came in slow and everyone was looking at the puck," Morrow said. "I think it was Bobby Hull that told Brett that the further you are from the play, the closer you are. That was true on that play."

Dallas, which has scored three or more goals in 13 of 14 games, tied the game at 2-2 with 1:14 remaining in the second period when Eakin collected a loose puck and popped in a backhander with Keaton Ellerby off for hooking. It was only the second time this season the Kings allowed two power-play goals.

"They play hard obviously and I think they've always had that identity but they've got a lot of skilled guys, too," defenseman Colin Fraser said. "They got a guy like Jagr and Benn and Eriksson and we gave them too much time and not only on the power play but five-on-five they seemed to have that puck a lot and they just took it to us a little too much."

Jagr got the first power-play goal 5:28 into the game on a tap-in off a perfect pass from Benn. His second was similar, and of course it never gets old for Dallas.

"I think the only thing we miss is we'd like to see the salute come out once in a while," Morrow said. "He's been shy with it this year."

The good news for L.A. was that Jeff Carter stayed red-hot, scoring his 16th goal of the season and 12th in 12 games. This one came on a soft centering pass intended for Mike Richards that bounced off Jordie Benn's skate and into the net at 15:30 of the second period for a 2-1 lead. That's how it's been going for Carter, second in the NHL in goals behind Tampa Bay's Steve Stamkos (18).

Including the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Carter has 30 goals in 58 games since he arrived in L.A. last spring.

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