DALLAS (AP)—Another third-period meltdown added to the Dallas Stars’ misery.
Dallas dropped its fourth in a row, matching its longest losing streak of the season. The Stars have been outscored 11-0 in the third period of their last six games, 8-0 in the final period during the current slide.
Sitting on a late lead hasn’t been working for the Stars, who usually are able to protect advantages down the stretch.
“It’s a cliche, but it’s a 60-minute game,” Dallas center Steve Ott said. “Fifty-five minutes isn’t good enough, especially against a young, hungry team. For some reason we’re not finishing out games.”
Dallas had won 13 of 15 before this slump knocked the Stars out of the Pacific Division lead. San Jose and Anaheim have both passed them by.
“We play OK for half the game and the other half, we’re looking around, not competing,” forward Mike Ribeiro said. “That’s unacceptable. It’s time for us to react and play as a team.”
Handzus added another goal with 1:19 left to give the Kings a two-goal cushion.
Stu Barnes’ second-period goal put Dallas ahead 2-1, and the Stars seemed on the verge of snapping their skid. But Handzus stole the puck from defenseman Trevor Daley and scored from the slot at 16:59 to tie it at 2.
Visnovsky then put the Kings in front at 17:54 when his shot from the left point eluded goalie Marty Turco, who was screened.
Handzus scored off a rebound at 18:41 for his seventh goal of the season.
Brenden Morrow added a power-play goal for Dallas.
The Stars had victories in seven straight home games against the Kings and were 11-1-2 overall against them over the past two seasons before Los Angeles halted those streaks.
Rob Blake had a power-play goal for the Kings, who have the fewest points in the NHL.
“Our fate has kind of been written,” Blake said. “We’re out of the playoffs. We want a little respect and I think we got that today.”
The Kings must be content with the spoiler’s role while pointing toward next season.
“We look at these games as our playoffs because the games are so meaningful (for opponents),” Kings coach Marc Crawford said. “Dallas wants home ice in the playoffs and we’re using the games to help our young players develop.”
Dallas opened the scoring when Morrow deflected Matt Niskanen’s shot from the point past rookie goalie Erik Ersberg at 13:08 of the opening period. Morrow’s 29th goal came with Jeff Giuliano of the Kings off for hooking.
Blake’s ninth goal came on a power-play rebound at 5:48 of the second period and tied it at 1.
Barnes gave Dallas a 2-1 advantage at 11:32 of the second period with his 10th goal on a wrist shot from the inside edge of the right circle.
Ott was back in the lineup after completing a three-game suspension for a hit to the head of Colorado’s Jordan Leopold. … Out for the Kings: LW Kyle Calder (broken finger), LW Ladislav Nagy (neck), G Jason LaBarbera (groin) and D Jack Johnson (foot). … Ersberg played in his ninth NHL game. … The Stars played the second in a stretch of eight straight games against division opponents to close out the regular season. They open a four-game road trip Thursday night at San Jose.