Some thoughts and observations after the Dallas Stars dropped their third straight game, falling 5-2 to the Los Angeles Kings Thursday night.
The turning point of this game a brief span in the second when the Kings scored two goals in nine seconds to turn a 1-1 game into a 3-1 game. The Stars were playing well at that point, but a Brenden Morrow turnover led to the Kings’ first goal and then Kings struck again right after the faceoff to take control of the game. Stars coach Marc Crawford didn’t mention that turnover specifically, but it may be what he was ranting about after the game when he talked about overextending shifts to try to create a scoring chance. It backfired in this case and tilted the game in the Kings’ favor.
This homestand has been a disaster so far for the Stars. They were 5-1-0 coming into it and are now 5-4-0 after the first three games. They’ve dropped the first three games and last two have been 5-2 losses.
The Stars have just four goals in the three games despite 99 shots on goal. On Thursday night, the Kings made the most of their chances. Their first three goals were all scored from close range – a rebound off a point shot, a rebound off a centering pass and a player driving the net on the third.
As we learned when the Stars won their first four games of the season, shots for and shots against don’t determine who wins games. The Stars have outshot the opposition 99-74 over the last three games, been outscored 11-4 and lost all three of them.
Of the Stars’ four goals on this homestand, two have come on the power play and the other two came at even strength and those two even strength goals were scored by the fourth line.
Jamie Benn got moved to the line with Morrow and Mike Ribeiro for this game and Adam Burish played with Steve Ott and Tom Wandell. It didn’t really pay any dividends. We’ll have to see if Crawford sticks with it.
Andrew Raycroft came in the game after the Kings scored their fourth goal, a shorthanded tally by Willie Mitchell, who had his pass towards the net bounce off the skate of Philip Larsen and by Kari Lehtonen. Raycroft, seeing his first action, played well in stopping all eight shots he faced.
Larsen played 19:03 in the game, had one assist, three shots, two blocked shots and a minus-two rating.
Jonathan Quick was excellent in net for the Kings. He had some quality saves and looked in control most of the night. Wayne Simmonds came up big, setting up the goal that gave the Kings a 2-1 lead and then scoring just nine seconds later to make it 3-1.