Game 41; 25-12-4
DALLAS - They were looking to end their three-game skid and end 2013 on a high note. When the Los Angeles Kings scored first, it looked as if they were on the right track. That is until they started talking unnecessary penalties.
After Jeff Carter's 13th at 12:23 of the first opening the scoring, it was the hometown Stars who took the momentum as they tied, on the power play, just three-and-a-half minutes later courtesy of veteran Erik Cole.
Speaking of the power play (or in Los Angeles's case, the penalty kill), the Kings were sloppy and undisciplined. In fact, leading to the Cole tally was Jordan Nolan taking a high-sticking penalty in the offensive zone, less than four minutes after Justin Williams was given an offensive-zone penalty of his own.
In the second, the Stars found themselves on another power play (Kyle Clifford for tripping) when Tyler Seguin banked the puck off a Kings defender and in. Then just two minutes later (even strength this time) Erik Cole wristed his second past a sprawling Ben Scrivens for a two-goal Dallas lead.
Entering the third, it appeared as if the wind was out of Los Angeles's sails so to speak and they were headed for their season-high fourth-straight loss. But not so fast.
Just 1:-5 into the third, Anze Kopitar scored to pull the Kings to within a goal. After being outchased and undisciplined for much of the game, it appeared as though the silver-and-black had finally woken up.
While the Stars did outshoot the Kings 8-5 in the third, it was Los Angeles with a number of chances, some shots ringing off the goalpost and staying out. While it did seem inevitable that the Kings would tie, it wasn't to be as the Stars pushed late to hold on for the 3-2 win jumping into a tie for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.
The Kings meanwhile have now lost four-in-a-row, ending 2013 as worse as they had feared after soaring so high the previous six weeks.
Overall, it was the aforementioned lack of discipline that did the Kings in on this night. While the Stars do deserve credit for winning, the Kings entered the American Airlines Center tonight facing a Stars squad that, as Kings' radio colour man Daryl Evans pointed out, scored just three power play goals on home ice entering Tuesday. Tonight, the Stars scored two on the man-advantage.
Los Angeles will hope to rebound on Thursday for their first game of 2014. Said game will mark the merciful end to their road swing but it won't be easy as they travel to the Gateway City to take on the St. Louis Blues.