Dallas Stars at Los Angeles Kings
Saturday, October 19 @ 9:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM
The Stars hit the road yet again after a brief one game homestand at the American Airlines Center. Overcoming 1-0, 2-1, and 3-2 deficits against the undefeated San Jose Sharks, the Stars would go on to send the game into overtime, followed by a game-winning shootout goal by (none other than) Alex Chiasson.
Despite handing the Sharks their first loss of the season, forward Tyler Kennedy put the Stars on their heels early by notching San Jose's first goal of the game within just 9 seconds of the opening faceoff. Kennedy's goal would set a franchise record for the quickest goal ever scored on the Stars dating back to the Minnesota North Stars in 1986. The record was originally set by Duane Sutter of the New York Islanders by scoring just 10 seconds into the opening frame.
“We gave up a goal right away but we kept with our game plan. I think that made a huge difference, and our goalie played great. We battled through the whole game and good results happened. We battled through adversity there but tonight we showed a lot, said Chiasson."
Chiasson, alongside forwards Ray Whitney and Cody Eakin combined for one goal, four assists and a plus-six rating on Thursday. Primarily matched up against forwards Tomas Hertl, Joe Thornton and Brent Burns, San Jose's top-line totaled zero points and a combined minus-five overall rating.
“I think the last few games we’ve played a lot more the way we wanted to,” Eakin said. “We’ve had more zone time and I think we’ve been solid in our D zone. It’s coming along pretty good. The last couple games we’ve got a few chances and a few goals. That’s what we want to see.”
Rookie forward Valeri Nichushkin returned to the lineup after being scratched on Tuesday in Colorado. Head coach Lindy Ruff told the Stars official website his thoughts on the improvement in Nichushkin's game after the night off.
“I did (see improvement),” said Ruff. “He came out and skated really well. I thought he made a couple nice plays early on. He’s such a great kid, and he’s young."
Nichushkin played on the Stars third-line with veteran forwards Erik Cole and Shawn Horcoff. He logged in a total 9:56 of ice time, but did not record a shot on goal.
Goaltender Dan Ellis is expected to make his fourth straight start tonight in Los Angeles after stopping 32 of 35 and all three shots faced in the shootout on Thursday.
Saturday marks the first of three meetings against Los Angeles this season. The Stars finished 3-1-1 against the Kings last season, and currently lead 105-72-42 all-time.
Despite the Kings recent slump to score goals, they currently rank in the top ten in the league in shots against and top half of the league as far as goals against through the first couple weeks of the season.
“You know it is going to be a tight battle. I don’t think you are going to get away from that,” said Ruff. “They play a physical game down low, we’re going to have to move it quick and we’re going to have to get people to the net quick. They have big bodies down low that tend to outmuscle you, so we are going to have to use our quickness.”
After letting up quick go-ahead goals in recent games, the Stars are hoping for a solid start on the road against the Kings.
“The individual mistakes have been the biggest things that have hurt us,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “It hasn’t been one player, it’s been a couple different players. That falls on focus and being ready in the first five minutes to make the right play and make good decisions.”
Goaltender Kari Lehtonen is inactive (lower body), but practiced Friday morning in Frisco.
“It was a huge leap forward,” Lehtonen said. “It was good to get shots that I didn’t know where they were going. The only thing is I am not very fast right now. I can’t make the fast stretches, can’t make the fast stretches and fast pushes. That’s something that hopefully comes the next couple days.”
As Lehtonen remains inactive for the time being, speculation suggests rookie goaltender Jack Campbell could make his NHL debut Sunday against the Anaheim Ducks. Ruff mentioned the possibility of giving Campbell the nod if Ellis needed a breather going into the second night of a back-to-back on the road.
“There’s a possibility with that quick turnaround we may look to Jack,” Ruff said.
Defenseman Aaron Rome is also inactive (hip) and remains on a conditioning assignment with the Texas Stars (AHL).
STARS PROJECTED LINEUP
Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Rich Peverley
Ray Whitney - Cody Eakin - Alex Chiasson
Valeri Nichushkin - Shawn Horcoff - Erik Cole
Antoine Roussel- Vernon Fiddler - Ryan Garbutt
Alex Goligoski - Sergei Gonchar
Brenden Dillon - Stephane Robidas
Trevor Daley - Jordie Benn
Jack Campbell (backup)
LOS ANGELES KINGS
The Kings (5-3-0) welcome the Stars into Los Angeles for the first time this season and first as a non-divisional opponent since 1997. They're coming off a 2-1 shootout victory in Nashville on Thursday when Jonathan Quick stopped 34 of 35 shots in regulation/overtime and all three in the shootout. Forward Anze Kopitar scored the only goal of the shootout, leading the Kings to a 3-1-0 record on their concluded four game road trip.
Los Angeles now begins a four game homestand and will play eight of their next nine games at the Staples Center.
“What's more important is we played six of our first eight on the road, which is the most in the conference," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "So, we still have our heads above water after six road games. That's what's more important."
During his media availability today, Kings coach Darryl Sutter was asked a couple questions about the Dallas Stars. Here are Sutter’s thoughts via lakingsinsider.com.
On the biggest changes in the Dallas Stars:
“Probably the biggest adjustment would be the addition of the other guys from Boston, obviously, especially the centerman who’s going to be a star in the league. So it probably allows them to move Benn to left wing, which really helps their team, and obviously with the coaching staff change that will probably take a little different look at maybe what they want to do different. It wasn’t just the coaching staff. It’s the whole organization, with Jim Nill, who has a history of winning.”
On if there are any tendencies with Lindy Ruff-coached teams:
“He coached in the other conference, so it’s probably an adjustment coming to this conference. He’s had very successful years, and then they’ve had times where they’ve gone through ownership changes, and he’s had to adjust to personnel. That’s what we do as experienced coaches, is adjust to different types of personnel, so is there an ‘M.O.?’ No. I think you adjust to the type of players that you have, and that’s probably why he has coached a long time.”
KINGS PROJECTED LINEUP
Dustin Brown - Anze Kopitar - Justin Williams
Daniel Carcillo - Mike Richards - Jeff Carter
Dwight King - Jarret Stoll - Trevor Lewis
Kyle Clifford - Colin Fraser - Jordan Nolan
Robyn Regehr - Drew Doughty
Willie Mitchell - Slava Voynov
Jake Muzzin - Matt Greene
Ben Scrivens (backup)