The Dallas Stars expected a tight, physical game against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday, and that’s what they got for most of the night. But the Kings scored early in the third to snap a 2-2 tie and then added two more goals late in the period to defeat the Stars, 5-2, at Staples Center.
“Obviously these games are hard to win,” said Stars captain Jamie Benn, who had two assists on the night. “You need a full team effort every night. We gave ourselves a chance to win, but we didn’t bring it in the third period. We’ve got to learn from our mistakes and move on.”
The loss was the third in the last four games for the Stars, who fell to 3-4-0 on the season. There were some familiar problems for the Stars, including a goal surrendered late in a period and turnovers.
“We really have to eliminate some of the big turnovers,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “We had some turnovers that were inexcusable tonight.”
Special teams were an issue as well. The Stars were 0-5 on the power play, while Los Angeles was 1-3 with the man-advantage.
“We have to capitalize on our power play,” said Benn.
The Kings had a strong push early, but the Stars took a 1-0 lead at the 8:49 mark of the first when Jamie Benn put a shot on net from the left wing and Tyler Seguin deflected it past Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick.
The Kings scored twice in a three minute span late in the period to take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission.
After Dustin Brown picked off a Stephane Robidas pass in the Dallas zone, Jake Muzzin centered the puck from the left wing and it deflected off the skate of Justin Williams and past Ellis to tie the game at 1-1 with 3:29 left in the period.
“The turnover on the first L.A. goal is one that gave them a little momentum,” Ruff said. “We were up 1-0, the game was going pretty good and it gave the home team momentum.”
The Kings took the lead with 28 seconds left in the period with a power play goal. Williams got to a loose puck in the left circle and backhanded it into the net to put the Kings up 2-1.
Ellis came up with a couple of big stops early in the second period to keep the Stars within a goal, stopping breakaways by Mike Richards and Jeff Carter in the first six minutes of the period.
That allowed the Stars to draw even at the 8:13 mark when Rich Peverley scored off the rebound of a Jamie Benn wrap-around attempt on Quick.
The Stars had three power plays in the period, but couldn’t take advantage.
The Kings took the lead at 4:42 of the third period. Williams skated along the left boards to the point and sent a pass to defenseman Drew Doughty, who slipped the puck between Ellis’ legs from close range to put Los Angeles up 3-2.
“In the third, even before we got scored against, we had two or three shifts that were real good. We’ve just got to become a team that can hold it together a little bit longer,” said Ruff.
The Kings made it a 4-2 score with 6:58 left in the game. After some good pressure from the Stars second line, the Kings iced the puck. The Kings won the ensuing faceoff and Kyle Clifford beat Ellis with a shot off the rush.
The Stars pulled Ellis with just under two minutes left for the extra attacker, but Matt Greene scored into the empty net with 29.3 seconds left to make it a 5-2 final.