LOS ANGELES – Milan Lucic scored the game-winning goal midway through the third period and the Los Angeles Kings defeated the Dallas Stars 3-2 on Tuesday night at Staples Center.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Ales Hemsky and Cody Eakin each scored for the Stars in the first period, but Dallas was shut out from that point forward.
Mattias Jannmark found Hemsky in front of the net for the one-timer, just three minutes into the first period.
Ten minutes later, Vincent Lecavalier tied the game when his slapshot from the right side of the net beat Kari Lehtonen to his stick side. The power-play goal was Lecavalier's third consecutive as a member of the Kings as the 18-year veteran has been rejuvenated since he was traded from the Philadelphia Flyers last week.
"This year it wasn't really going for him in Philadelphia," said LeCavalier's teammate Milan Lucic. "He's been rejuvenated here with the trade, and he's making the most out of his time on the PP."
Drew Doughty gave the Kings a brief lead in the final minute of the first period as both teams scored within a 30 second span. Doughty scored the Kings' second slapshot goal of the night when his shot went undetected past Lehtonen who was screened by Tyler Toffoli on the play.
"On all those goals we had screens I believe. When the goalie doesn't see it, he's not going to be able to save it," Doughty said. "We've been working on that for a while and it was finally working tonight."
Thirty seconds later, Eakin tied the game at 2-2 after Alec Martinez turned the puck over at the blue line, and the Stars scored in the blink of an eye. Patrick Sharp shot from deep and Jonathan Quick was able to make the save. However, the deflection went right to Eakin who buried it into the open net.
After a scoreless second period, Milan Lucic broke the tie with a slapshot from dead center that just got past Lehtonen for the game-winning goal. Once again, Toffoli was in front of the net on the play, making it difficult for Lehtonen to see the puck.
The Kings made four-to-five passes on the game-winning goal, with Anze Kopitar and Jake Muzzin getting credited with the assists. For Kopitar, it was his team-leading 27th assist on the year, and second of the game. For Muzzin, it was his 20th assist on the season, extending his point streak to a career-high eight games.
"It definitely felt like a five-man cycle, everyone was touching the puck and moving it around," Lucic said of the goal. "Right now when we're on the ice we're feeling pretty good and pretty confident and we use each other in the right way. That was another example of it and it ends up being the game-winning goal."
Quick made 27 saves for the Kings, including a stone-cold stop on a John Klinberg breakaway in the second period. The Kings lead atop the Pacific Division grew to 12 points over the San Jose Sharks.
Milan Lucic third period goal. With the game deadlocked in a 2-2 tie, the Kings passing was excellent in the Stars zone as they scored the game-winning goal on their third slapshot of the night.
MVP OF THE GAME
Anze Kopitar. The LA Kings assistant captain had two assists on the night, including the pass that set up Lucic for the game-winner.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
Jake Muzzin was given an assist on Lucic's game-winning goal, extending his career-long point streak to eight games.
TWEET OF THE NIGHT
Now that’s a clooch goal pic.twitter.com/pHGIHF06Cr
— LA Kings (@LAKings) January 20, 2016
I want it to turn into a "clooooch" shaped goal.
PHOTO OF THE NIGHT
No thx pic.twitter.com/cr1BTxjRfK
— LA Kings (@LAKings) January 20, 2016
Kick save and a beauty!
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
"I'm not thinking about the streak. I'm just thinking about getting pucks on the net. I'm trying to create offense when I can and the streak just goes from there." – Kings Defenseman Jake Muzzin on his career-high eight-game point streak.
The Stars lead the NHL with an average of 3.30 goals per game. They have also scored a league-best 152 goals on the season…Dallas has beaten the Kings a franchise record 109 times, the most against any other team in the league….Jake Muzzin's eight-game point streak is the longest by a Kings defensemen since Lubomir Visnovsky had a nine-game streak in Decemeber, 2005. It's also the longest streak by an LA King since Dustin Brown in 2012...Jyrki Jokipakka, Jamie Oleksiak and Colton Sceviour were all scrated from the Stars lineup… Christian Ehrhoff and Jordan Nolan were both scratched for the LA Kings.
Dallas Stars (29-13-5, 63 points) 2nd in the Central Division.
Los Angeles Kings (29-13-3, 61 points) 1st in the Pacific Division.
The Stars conclude their California road trip tonight and will return home to Dallas to take on the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night.
The LA Kings play host to the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night at Staples Center.