Tonight’s Kings-Stars game will be televised nationally on VERSUS starting at 5:30pm PST.
Although the Kings have been struggling lately, they’ve had significant success against the Stars in recent years: 8-2-0 in their last 10 games vs. Dallas overall, 7-2-1 in their last 10 trips to Texas (including five straight wins) and have beat them twice this year (a 5-2 win in Dallas and a 3-1 victory in LA).
The Stars are 5-0-1 in the month of January though and are looking to keep things rolling.
Below are five additional notes from both sides of the puck that will help set the stage for the third of six meetings this season between the two Pacific Division rivals…
* Brenden Morrow has to be watched closely. Not only are his 18 goals enough to tie him for the team lead, but he always seems to find the back of the net in crucial situations. While his 37 points (18g, 19a) in 59 games vs. LA don’t scream ‘Kings Killer’, six of those goals have been game winners.
* The Stars have the best winning percentage in the NHL when they score first (.875, 21-2-1). The Kings are .792 (19-7).
* Both teams have scored an average of 2.9 goals per game this season. When it comes to goal scoring tandems though, the Stars have one of the best. Brad Richards and Loui Eriksson have combined for 100 points so far – trailing only the Sedin twins (113 pts) for the league lead.
* Dallas features the third best power play at home – yet, overall, they’ve only converted 1-for-11 (9.1%) power play opportunities against the Kings this season. Their penalty kill (ranked 19th at home for the season) should be challenged by the Kings 9th ranked road power play – yet, overall, the Stars have killed off 17-of-18 penalties (94.4%) in the last few games they’ve played this month.
* Jamie Langenbrunner has recently returned to the Stars after spending several years with the New Jersey Devils. Tonight will be his 1000th NHL game.
LOS ANGELES KINGS
* Wayne Simmonds is out of the line-up and did not make the two-game road trip. Coach Terry will use the following lines: top line of Williams-Smyth-Kopitar, second line of Sturm-Stoll-Brown, third Clifford-Richardson-Lewis and fourth Ponikarovsky-Handzus-Westgarth
* This will be Anze Kopitar‘s 300th consecutive game played. The Kings’ franchise record is 324, held by Marcel Dionne (1978-82).
* Have not allowed a power play goal in four straight games (10-for-10).
* Jonathan Bernier will start in goal. This will be the first time he’s started back-to-back games this season. In his only other game vs. the Stars, a 2-1 shootout victory last March, he looked spectacular.
* LA is 14-0-0 when leading after two periods.
Top Line Reunited and It Feels So Good – Coach Murray and Ryan Smyth comments
photo courtesy of Michael Zampelli