NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, March 2nd (All times eastern)
Los Angeles Kings (37-20-4) at Dallas Stars (28-21-12), 8:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Kings come out of the Olympic break in good shape to halt their six-season playoff drought. A home test versus the postseason- hopeful Stars tonight figures to give the club a good test anyway.
Los Angeles will try for its fourth straight win over Dallas this season when the two squads get together Tuesday night at American Airlines Center.
The Kings currently sit fifth overall in the Western Conference, a point back of the Coyotes in the overall standings. Los Angeles is 10-1-1 over its last 12 games as it tries to reach the postseason for the first time since 2002.
Having also won seven of their last eight on the road, the Kings hope that the Olympic schedule didn't take too much of a toll on some of its top players. Four Los Angeles skaters took home medals on Sunday, with 20-year-old Drew Doughty capturing gold with Team Canada and Dustin Brown, Jack Johnson and Jonathan Quick all earning a silver medal for Team USA.
Doughty became the first active King to ever win a gold medal as he posted two assists and a plus-six rating in the tournament. In his second season with LA after being selected second overall in 2008, Doughty has 11 goals and 34 assists.
Though Quick was a member of the American squad, he did not appear in a game during the Olympic tournament so he should be fresh for this contest. Quick made 22 saves in a shutout win over Colorado back on February 13 and he has been in net for all three of the Kings' victories over the Stars this season, posting a 2.27 goals-against average.
"It was difficult with three goalies, but I did see my fair share of shots," Quick told the Kings' Web site. "If I didn't get enough during practice, then after practice we were doing stuff, drills here and there. So I was able to stay in shape and be ready to go."
Dallas, which has lost four of its last five as the host versus Los Angeles, has won 10 of its last 12 at home and is 18-6-5 as the host this year. One of those setbacks did come to the Kings back on October 19 before the Stars later lost a pair of post-regulation games in Los Angeles.
A win tonight over Los Angeles would be big, as Dallas is currently 10th in the West, two points behind Detroit for the eighth spot.
Despite the Olympic break, the Stars have been busy over the past week. Dallas created a logjam two weeks ago in net when it acquired Kari Lehtonen from Atlanta in a trade, but placed Alex Auld on waivers last Wednesday. He was then claimed by the Rangers, leaving Lehtonen and Marty Turco as the netminders.
Turco is just 19-15-9 with a 2.63 GAA this year, but he went 2-0-1 with a 1.30 GAA in the season's final week before the break to earn the NHL's third star. Turco has two shutouts in his last four games and should start tonight. He is 16-12-6 with a pair of ties and 2.55 GAA lifetime versus the Kings, losing his only start versus them this year.
"[Turco's] always been a great reaction goaltender," Dallas head coach Marc Crawford told his team's Web site. "When he's seeing the puck, and he's feeling comfortable and loose, he seems to play his best hockey. And he's done that over the last two-week period."
The Stars also locked up forward Steve Ott on Monday by signing him to a four- year contract extension. Ott has 11 goals and 12 assists in 52 games this year but is currently on injured reserve due to an appendectomy.
03/02 10:39:43 ET