Stars, Kings square off in Big D
The Dallas Stars played inspired hockey in front of their new owner on Monday. Perhaps the club created enough momentum to finally solve the Los Angeles Kings this year.
The Stars look to snap a four-game losing streak to the Kings this evening in the third of six meetings between the Pacific Division residents this season.
The sale of the Stars franchise to Tom Gaglardi was announced on Friday, one day before Dallas lost its season-high fifth straight game. The 43-year-old Gaglardi was then introduced on Monday before his new club took on the Edmonton Oilers.
With its new owner in attendance, Dallas rolled to a 4-1 victory over Edmonton for its first win since Nov. 8. The Stars got tallies from Toby Petersen, Radek Dvorak, Steve Ott and Michael Ryder as they matched their goal total from their losing streak (21-4).
"[Gaglardi] spent a lot of money, so it's good we didn't disappoint him here at home the first game," said captain Brenden Morrow, who had an assist to become the 10th player in franchise history to reach 500 career points.
Dallas outshot Edmonton, 35-18, and got 17 saves from Kari Lehtonen. The Stars have now split the first two of a four-game homestand and are 7-3-0 as the host this year.
"It's nice to get that monkey off our back," said Ryder. "Tonight was a team effort and we got off to a great start. Kari was great for us back there. Now we have to keep this going."
Lehtonen struggled in his lone meeting versus the Kings this year, allowing four goals on 28 shots in a 5-3 home loss on Oct. 27. Dallas had dropped a 1-0 decision in Los Angeles five days earlier, the only time this year it has lost when allowing two or fewer goals (11-1-0).
Overall, the Stars have lost 11 of their past 14 encounters with Los Angeles and seven of the last eight at home in the series.
The Stars have gotten points from nine different players versus the Kings this year, with Ryder, Eric Nystrom and Trevor Daley logging goals.
Dallas now takes a third crack at the 100th win in franchise history over Los Angeles and the only team the Stars have beaten more in their annals is the Detroit Red Wings (101 victories).
The Kings are coming off a 3-2 win over the Blues last night, with Willie Mitchell's first goal of the season with 5:49 left in regulation serving as the game-winner.
Mike Richards had a goal and an assist as the Kings won for the fifth time in seven games. Richards has scored in a career-high four consecutive games and has notched seven goals in his last seven contests.
"We played good defensively and when we had the opportunities we capitalized on them," said Richards, who has four assists versus the Stars this year. "It was good to see us shut it down when we got the lead in the third."
Anze Kopitar also scored while Jonathan Bernier snagged the win with 23 saves.
With Bernier getting the call last night, Los Angeles head coach Terry Murray is likely to go with No. 1 Jonathan Quick this evening. Quick has made 58 saves in beating the Stars twice already this season, giving him a career record of 12-3 with a 1.99 goals-against average against the club.
The Kings are tied for first in the Pacific standings with the Sharks, one point ahead of the Stars.