The Kings take on the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday afternoon at Staples Center, looking to bounce back from a clunker of a 2-0 loss Thursday to the Dallas Stars that ended their five-game winning streak at home. The Kings dominated play, recording 40 shots on net, but they couldn’t score on Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen. The Kings (17-11-2 for 36 points) maintained their spot in fourth place in the Western Conference standings. But the pack of chasing teams is was as bunched as ever going into Friday’s games around the league. The Canucks (15-9-6, 36 points) were in fifth based on fewer victories than the Kings. This is the Kings’ final home game before a trip to Chicago, St. Louis, Minnesota, Dallas and Phoenix. Anze Kopitar leads the Kings with 28 points (nine goals, 19 assists). Henrik Sedin leads Vancouver with 28 points (eight goals, 20 assists).
The Kings’ top line of Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams was on the ice for both of the Dallas Stars’ third-period goals in their 2-0 victory Thursday night at Staples Center. Kings coach Darryl Sutter wasn’t happy about it and said so after the game.
The Kings certainly had their chances Thursday night against the Dallas Stars.
About 40 of them.
Not one of their shots found the back of the net, though, and the resilient Stars used third-period goals from 41-year-old Jaromir Jagr and Ray Whitney, 40, to hand them a frustrating 2-0 defeat and end their five-game winning streak at Staples Center.
The Kings kept the pressure on Dallas Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen for extended periods, but couldn’t beat him in the second period Thursday night at Staples Center. In fact, for all the Kings’ dominance, they couldn’t score. They had 18 shots on net in the middle period and exteneded their overall advantage over the Stars to 30-15. But they couldn’t put the puck in the back of the net. In fact, it was Kings goalie Jonathan Quick who had to make a couple of big saves late in the period to keep the game scoreless.
The Kings scratched 20-year-old rookie Tyler Toffoli and Jordan Nolan returned to the lineup for Thursday’s game against the Dallas Stars at Staples Center. Nolan generated a quality scoring chance, cutting through the Stars’ defense and unleashing a shot from the slot that Kari Lehtonen had to be sharp to handle. Kyle Clifford had another good scoring opportunity for the Kings, breaking ahead of the pack on a shorthanded bid in the closing seconds of the opening period. The Kings outshot the Stars 12-5.
The Kings have won five consecutive games at home going into Thursday’s game against the Dallas Stars at Staples Center. Their last loss on home ice was to the Stars on March 7, when Jaromir Jagr and Jamie Benn overpowered them late in the game. The 41-year-old Jagr has a team-leading 21 points (11 goals, 10 assists) for the Stars, and Benn has 18 points (six goals, 12 assists). The Stars are 13-13-3 and in 11th place in the Western Conference standings. Anze Kopitar leads the Kings (17-10-2, fourth in the West) with 28 points (nine goals, 19 assists). Jeff Carter has a team-leading 18 goals. The Kings have won three in a row to start a five-game homestand.
One of the cooler things about winning a championship is getting the chance to visit with the President of the United States at the White House. It’s the Kings’ turn Tuesday. They got the official invitation Thursday. They will be joined by the Galaxy of the MLS, their AEG brethren in a ceremony at 10:35 a.m. (PDT). Both teams will then participate in a clinic with some kids on the South Lawn of the White House.
The Kings took Wednesday off after victories Monday and Tuesday over the Phoenix Coyotes. They are back on the ice Thursday to face the Dallas Stars at Staples Center. It’ll be the first opponent the Kings have played other than the Coyotes and the San Jose Sharks in the Kings’ last six games, a break for them and their beat reporters.
The Kings (17-10-2) awoke Wednesday to find themselves still in fourth place in the Western Conference standings. By winning the first three games on their five-game homestand, they opened some distance between themselves and the trailing teams in the West. They were six points clear of the Sharks (12-10-6).
Here’s what Kings coach Darryl Sutter said about his goaltending rotation after Jonathan Bernier recorded a career-high 40 saves in a 3-2 victory Tuesday night over the Phoenix Coyotes, one night after Jonathan Quick shut them out 4-0:
“(Bernier) is a young goaltender and he wants to be a No. 1 goalie. That’s his goal and that’s what he said this summer and the way the schedule’s been and with Quick’s (back) surgery last summer and his training, it’s allowed us to play both guys and we’ll continue to do that.”