Some thoughts and observations following Thursday night’s game, which saw the Dallas Stars fall 3-1 to the Kings in Los Angeles.
The Stars played an excellent game through the first two periods. They weathered a strong push from the Kings early in the game, they weren’t giving up a lot of quality chances, the penalty kill looked good, Kari Lehtonen was solid and Jamie Benn made a great play to score a goal that had them tied at 1-1 after 40 minutes. Of course, it’s a 60 minute game.
The third period was a mess. The parade to the penalty box had a lot to do with that. Probably everything to do with that. The whole period seemed to be special teams play and it tilted in the Kings’ favor. (The Stars talk about that here) Give a talented team – even on that is struggling on the power play – that many chances and they are bound to make something happen. Ryan Smyth set a great screen in front of Kari Lehtonen and Justin Williams got a shot through and into the net.
The boarding major on Adam Burish really hurt. Just one of those bang-bang plays that turns out bad. Fortunately, Drew Doughty was OK. I thought Brad Richardson could have gotten more than a minor for his hit on Trevor Daley earlier in the game. But that’s the way the calls went in this game. It was no Picasso from the officiating end of things. The Kings could be given credit for some artful work to draw penalties. Some might prefer the word embellishment. I’ve seen the word diving employed in these situations as well.
The Stars’ power play had its chance to tie the game at 2-2 with back-to-back chances, and it couldn’t take advantage. The Stars misfired on a couple of chances and what they got on net was turned away by Jonathan Quick, who was outstanding in the game.
Benn was outstanding for the Stars. He had the great play to score the lone Stars’ goal, stealing the puck from Doughty and then slipping the puck by Quick. Benn seemed all over it in this game. It was a nice performance on his part.
Another good test Friday in Anaheim. Important points too. The Ducks are on a roll. They weren’t exactly sharp in their win over the Islanders on Wednesday, but they found a way to get it done and have now won five in a row.