NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, December 12th (All times eastern)
Dallas Stars (14-8-9) at Los Angeles Kings (20-10-3), 10:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The surprising Los Angeles Kings will aim for their fourth win in a row tonight when they welcome the Dallas Stars for a clash between Pacific Division foes at Staples Center.
The Kings, who finished tied for last in the Pacific last year with 79 points, are currently second to San Jose in the division with 43 points already. The Sharks, who play tonight in Phoenix, are just two points ahead of Los Angeles for first place.
LA, which has won six of seven overall, also became the first Western Conference team to record 20 victories when it posted a home win over Phoenix on Thursday. Justin Williams scored the game-winner in the eighth round of the shootout, as the Kings edged the Coyotes, 3-2, at Staples Center.
The shootout was tied at three after each team scored in the second, fifth, and seventh rounds. Williams fired a backhander the snuck under the arm of Ilya Bryzgalov and into the net. Jonathan Quick made a glove save on a Scottie Upshall wrister to seal the victory for Los Angeles.
Jack Johnson had a goal and an assist for the Kings. Oscar Moller scored his first goal of the year for Los Angeles, which also got 29 saves from Quick. Jarret Stoll added an assist to give him three goals and four helpers during a six-game point streak.
"It was a big two points. They are right there in our division, three or four points behind us, and it's good to beat them and get that extra point. We have been winning some games of late so we just have to keep things going and continue the momentum," said Quick.
The Kings, who have won four of their last five home tests, are 9-4-2 as the host this season. LA will begin a four-game road trip Monday in Vancouver and will close out December by playing six of its seven games as the visitor.
The Stars ended a two-game slide and recorded a point for the fourth straight game (2-0-2) with Friday's close win in San Jose. Matt Niskanen's goal in the 11th round of the shootout lifted Dallas to the 3-2 win at the Shark Tank.
Brad Richards scored on the forehand, beating San Jose netminder Evgeni Nabokov on the blocker side, to begin the second round of the extra segment. Devin Setoguchi slipped the puck between Dallas' Marty Turco in the third round to extend the shootout. Then, nobody lit the lamp until Niskanen snapped a shot past Nabokov's glove. The Stars then prevailed when Turco turned aside Marc-Edouard Vlasic's offering.
Richards tied the game in the third period and Mike Ribeiro also scored for Dallas. Turco finished with 33 saves in the win.
"San Jose is a good measuring stick. To come in and play well, pepper Nabokov and find a way to win is a good feeling," Niskanen said.
The Stars are 7-5-4 on the road this year and are making the third stop on a five-game road trip tonight. Dallas will also visit Carolina and Atlanta before completing the swing.
Los Angeles has won both meetings with the Stars this year and has taken four of five and six of the last eight from Dallas. The Stars have also tasted defeat in six of their last eight trips to Staples Center.
12/12 11:11:57 ET