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Stars-Kings Preview

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Los Angeles Kings at Dallas Stars
Thursday, October 20
7:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

About the Stars

The Stars (2-1-0) won 2-1 at Nashville Tuesday. The Stars rolled out a strong effort after an ugly 6-5 loss at Colorado in their previous game. Kari Lehtonen stopped 27 shots, and Jason Spezza scored the game-winner midway through the third period, tallying from close range to snap a 1-1 tie.

"Made some changes and asked for a better commitment for the way we need to play and I felt it started from the top down," said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. "I thought our goaltender gave us a good game, and our best players led the way when it came to playing the right way."

Adam Cracknell also scored the for the Stars, who registered a season-high 37 shots on goal and allowed a season-low 28 shots against.

Stars forward Jiri Hudler, who missed Tuesday's game due to illness, did not practice Wednesday and is not expected to play Thursday.

Thursday's game begins a three-game homestand for Dallas.

Injuries: RW Jiri Hudler (illness) is out. RW Ales Hemsky (groin), C Cody Eakin (knee) and C/LW Mattias Janmark (knee) are on injured reserve.

About the Kings

The Kings (0-3-0) lost their third straight game to open the season, falling 6-3 at Minnesota Tuesday. The Kings got off to a good start, scoring the first goal and generating some good chances in the first period but were down 2-1 after 20 minutes. The Wild blew the game open with three goals in a 4:30 span of the second.

"There's a lot of factors to the 0-3 start," Kings captain Anze Kopitar said. "We just have to be better. That's the bottom line. … We're just not playing good enough hockey now. We're going to have to come back to work and clean it up. Giving up four and six goals, that's just not going to cut it. You don't have to be a scientist to figure it out. Cut that down and go from there."

The Kings have allowed ten goals on 56 shots in the two full games since goaltender Jonathan Quick went out with a lower-body injury. Quick is expected to be out three months.

Thursday's game wraps up a two-game road trip for Los Angeles.

Injuries: G Jonathan Quick (lower body) and F Marian Gaborik (foot) are on injured reserve.

Season Series

*This is the first of three meetings between the Stars and Kings this season.

*The Stars were 1-2-0 (2 points) vs. Los Angeles last season.

*The Kings were 2-1-0 (4 points) vs. Dallas last season.

Statistical Tidbits

*Nine different Dallas players have scored goals in the first three games, and 17 different players have registered points.

*The Kings have scored six goals in their first three games.

*The Kings have allowed seven goals in second periods this season.

*The Kings rank second in the league in Shot Attempts (Corsi) % Close at 55.63.

*The Stars rank ninth in the league in Shot Attempts (Corsi) % Close at 53.76.

*Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen has stopped 39 of 41 shots in his first two appearances for a .951 save percentage.

*The Stars are 2-10 (20.0 percent) on the power play.

*The Kings are 1-8 (12.5 percent) on the power play.

*The Stars are 8-11 (72.7 percent) on the penalty kill.

*The Kings are 7-9 (77.8 percent) on the penalty kill.

This story was not subject to approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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