Kings 3, Dallas Stars 2
Eight keys to the game:
THE FACTS: Michael Handzus took a pass from Alexei Ponikarovsky and scored the winner with 20.8 seconds remaining at American Airlines Center in Dallas, moving the Kings from eighth to fourth in the Western Conference standings.
THE STAT: The Kings have won four straight road games and are 10-1-3 in their last 14 games away from Staples Center.
TURNING POINT: After the Stars tied the score with 43 seconds remaining in the game, the Kings answered. Willie Mitchell's slap shot missed the mark, but Wayne Simmonds swept the puck out from behind net. Ponikarovsky pounced on the rubber and slid it to Handzus, who redirected the puck into the net.
HOT: It wasn’t long ago that Ponikarovsky was chided for his poor, lackluster play. Much of his contributions don’t show up in the box score because Ponikarovsky does a lot of the dirty work. He received an assist and screened Dallas goalkeeper Kari Lehtonen on Drew Doughty's first-period power-play goal. Ponikarovsky scored the winner in a 2-1 victory Wednesday in Detroit.
NOT: Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi was a minus-two with no blocked shots, hits or shots on goal, but he did tally a giveaway. The Jarret Stoll-Dustin Brown-Ryan Smyth line was also on the ice for both Dallas goals but none of the Kings.
GOOD MOVE: The top line of Anze Kopitar, Dustin Penner and Justin Williams scored an impressive goal to give the Kings a 2-0 lead in the second period. Kopitar made a picture-perfect pass to a wide open Penner in front of the net. Penner tapped in the goal for his second as a member of the Kings and fifth straight game with a point.
BAD MOVE: The Stars tied the score late in regulation after pulling Lehtonen for a man-advantage. Alex Goligoski took a shot at Kings goalkeeper Jonathan Quick, who made the save but lost track of the rebound, allowing Jamie Langenbrunner to sweep in and knock the puck nto the net.
NOTABLE: The Kings improved to 39-25-5 on the season. They were 40-24-5 after 69 games last season and went 6-3-4 down the stretch to finish sixth in the West.
UP NEXT: Tuesday at Nashville, 5 p.m. PT.