Game 9; 6-3-0
LOS ANGELES – After closing out their most recent road trip with a win, the Los Angeles Kings picked up right where they left off as they kicked off their homestand with another victory – this time over the new-look Dallas Stars.
Despite surrendering an early lead courtesy of one of the newest Stars Tyler Seguin, the Kings were able to regroup despite a lack of offense in their previous four outings.
Near the end of the first period, Justin Williams found himself in an awkward position where a pass from Jake Muzzin banked off the back of his skate and into the net. After further review, it was determined that Williams did not have a kicking motion – thus, the goal counted and the game was tied up with the Staples Center faithful brought back to life. But that wasn’t all as with just 28 seconds remaining in the frame, it was Justin Williams again – this time on the power play – netting his fourth to give the Kings their first lead of the night. Anze Kopitar assisted on both goals while Drew Doughty provided the second helper on the latter.
In the second, however, the Stars answered back as Rich Peverley scored his second at the 8:13 mark. That was all the action the middle frame would provide as the former division rivals were tied after 40 minutes.
The home team wasted little time regaining the lead in the third as 4:42 into the frame, Drew Doughty scored his second of the year (from Williams and Kopitar) to put Los Angeles back out front – where they would stay.
At the 13:02 mark, the Kings got some insurance thanks to Kyle Clifford who snapped his first of the year over the shoulder of Dallas netminder Dan Ellis. That was followed by an empty-netter courtesy of Matt Greene who also netted his first of the year to give Los Angeles the 5-2 win.
While this should come as no surprise to anyone, Justin Williams, Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty were voted the game’s three stars in that order. Williams had a big night scoring twice and assisting on the game-winner along with Anze Kopitar who assisted on both of No. 14’s tallies as well. Before assisting on Williams’s latter goal, Drew Doughty scored what proved to be the game-winner on a night that saw the hometown Kings showcase arguably their strongest offensive output to date so far this season.
While it still may not be anything to write home about, Los Angeles’s power play on Saturday was better than it had been in recent games as they went 1-for-3 on the man-advantage. The Kings also outshot Dallas by a 34-29 margin.
What may be lost in the mix is the exceptional play of goaltender Jonathan Quick who rebounded nicely after allowing the game’s first goal. Overall, Quick stopped 27 of 29 shots, including a handful of key saves to either keep the Kings in the lead or tied. In the late stages of the game, it was evident the impact Quick was having from the looks of exhaust and frustration on the faces of many of the Dallas players.
It was an ideal way to start a homestand but the Kings will be back at it on Monday as they will host the rebuilding – but surprisingly impressive – Calgary Flames.