Game Preview: Dallas Stars @ Los Angeles Kings

Dallas Stars @ Los Angeles Kings

9:30 PM – October 22, 2011

STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, California

Game 3 of the Dallas Stars “Prove It” tour gets underway tonight when Dallas (6-1, 12 points) takes on the Los Angeles Kings (4-1-1, 9 pts).

These new look Kings have been getting Stanley Cup buzz from NHL experts and with good reason. Jonathan Quick is now in his fourth year as the Kings number one goaltender and man is he on fire. Quick leads the league in goals-against average (.096) and save percentage (.967%). He already has two shutouts in the early season (again, leading the league) and has owned the Stars in his career. In the past two seasons, Quick has won 8 of the last 9 games against the Stars, allowing only 2 goals per game. 

Elsewhere for the Kings, Anze Kopitar is back from his season ending injury last year and is rolling. He’s tied for second in the league in points with 10, only behind Phil Kessel (really? Phil F-ing Kessel?) and has a fun new toy to play with in Simon Gagne, who’s off to quite a fast start of his own (3-4-7 on the season). 

LA also traded some young guys (Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn) over to the Philadelphia Flyers for Mike Richards and he’s filling in nicely for the Kings. The two-way forward is a gritty player, and still young too (why did the Flyers trade him?). He’s been great for the Kings power-play this season, leading the team with four assists on the man advantage. The Kings have a solid team all around and this will be Dallas’ biggest test so far this season.

They also have some guy named Dustin Brown, but we don’t speak of him around here, we only hiss at him.

For Dallas, there will be a few changes in the lineup from last night. Kari Lehtonen gets a night of rest and Andrew Raycroft starts at goaltender. He’s responsible for the Stars only loss this season. Defenseman Adam Pardy and forwards Tom Wandell and Toby Peterson are re-inserted into the lineup for, respectively, Mark Fistric, Krys Barch (or Eric Nystrom) and Jake Dowell.

Game Notes:

  • Kings defenseman Drew Doughty has an upper body injury and will miss the game.
  • Dallas has a few guys with a good point streak going on. Steve Ott (six games), Loui Eriksson (five games) and Jamie Benn (three games).
  • Anze Kopitar has his own six-game point streak as well.
  • Dallas is tied for last in the league in penalties taken, 38 on the year. Going down a player that many times is just asking for trouble. They need to be more disciplined or this Kings team will tear them apart. The Stars PK percentage is still excellent, but they’ve allowed a PP goal in three straight games now.
  • Dallas has gone on the PK five times in their last three games and are averaging 5.5 on the season. They have not had a snigle game where they have had more power-plays than penalty kills.
  • The Kings have scored a PP in all but one of their games this season and are ranked 4th in the league. Dallas must avoid stupid penalties in this game.