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Kings: Stoll returns, things get chippier

After the 2nd period: Kings 1, Dallas Stars 1

The good: A big ‘Whew’ came over the Staples Center crowd when Kings second-line center Jarret Stoll came out for the second period and soon jumped over the boards for his first shift since getting bushwhacked by Dallas left winger James Neal with about a minute left in the first period. Also, it was erroneously reported after the first period that Kings defenseman Matt Greene received a 10-minute game misconduct for jumping Neal after the collision, but it was just a 10-minute misconduct, enabling him to return to the game with about four minutes left in the second period. The highlight of the period, no doubt, was Kings rookie enforcer-to-be Kyle Clifford getting the best of Dallas forward Brandon Segal in a fight, knocking him on his back with a right hand and then getting in a couple more rights before the referees could separate them. The brawl erupted just after a face-off in the Kings’ offensive zone. Clifford had sprayed Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen with ice after he held onto the puck, causing the stoppage in play and likely leading to the brawl. Things continued to get chippy later in the period. More on that below.

The bad: The Kings had a goal disallowed in the final minutes on what looked like a questionable goalie interference call on Justin Williams. Ryan Smyth forced a turnover and brought the puck into the Dallas defensive zone, then passed back to a trailing Stoll, who beat Lehtonen with a hard slap shot from just above the right face-off circle. Williams was skating backward just in front of the crease when Stoll let go of the shot, and Williams tripped over Lehtonen’s skate just as the puck whizzed into the net, leading the referees to call the interference penalty.

The in between: After the disallowed goal, the Kings began taking their frustrations out on the Stars, throwing rapid-fire checks at any Dallas player who touched the puck. That led to Kings winger Dustin Brown taking a hard lick from a Dallas player. Kings defenseman Davis Drewiske and Dallas left wing Steve Ott then dropped their gloves and fought to a stalemate. The one stat that’s not going in the Kings’ favor is shots on goal. They have been out-shot, 20-15 thus far.