Resurgent Stars upset Kings

Dennis Bernstein, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- The Dallas Stars will go as far as their dynamic duo of center Tyler Seguin and winger Jamie Benn will carry them this season.
The red-hot Los Angeles Kings learned that lesson first-hand in their final home game of 2013.
Benn had a goal and two assists, and Seguin added a goal and an assist as the Stars defeated the Kings 5-2 Monday. Goaltender Kari Lehtonen stopped 30 shots, helping Dallas (18-12-6) improve to 11-8-2 on the road this season.
Winger Justin Williams and center Jarret Stoll scored for the Kings (25-9-4). The loss was only the second in 11 games for Los Angeles. The Kings were defeated in regulation for only the third time in the 24 games when they scored the first goal.
Seguin, who was dealt by the Boston Bruins to Dallas in the offseason, added to his breakout season.
"It's a tough building and a tough team," he said of the Kings. "It was quite the grind, quite the battle. It was great to see the guys step up and really show some character. We have a lot of guys injured, like most other teams right now, but it was nice to come out with a win."
The Stars matched the highest goal total against the Kings this season despite registering only 23 shots. Los Angeles goaltender Martin Jones fell short of establishing an NHL record for the most victories at the start of a career, incurring his first loss in nine decisions.
Kings center Anze Kopitar knew his team could have played much better in front of Jones but credited the Stars' effort.
"We weren't as sharp as we wanted to be. Obviously they have some guys that can put the puck in the net," Kopitar said. "We wanted to manage the puck a little better and control the neutral zone and play in the offensive zone, and we didn't spend enough time there."
Dallas was a step quicker all evening, and its skill around the net stymied Los Angeles.
"Every scoring chance they got, they scored on us, so that's a tough challenge," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said.
The Stars go into the NHL holiday break on a high note, sitting just three points off the final playoff position in the Western Conference after earning their third game in four games.
"The team played hard as a group. Our back end played really well," Benn said. "We don't have too much experience back there, but they handled themselves well against one of the best teams in the league, and once again, Kari Lehtonen was great."
Dallas got the game-winning goal on the power play at 5:07 of the middle frame. Seguin and Benn were involved again, with each earning an assist on winger Valeri Nichushkin's seventh goal of the season.
The Stars added an insurance goal at 15:12 of the final period when Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr turned over the puck in his own zone. Dallas winger Ryan Garbutt retrieved the puck in the left corner and fed Cody Eakin for a wrist shot that beat Jones cleanly.
Los Angeles broke on top at 2:28 of the first period when winger Justin Williams backhanded a rebound of a shot by center Anze Kopitar with each team a man short. The goal was Williams' team-leading 13th of the season, with Drew Doughty earning the secondary assist.
Dallas rallied quickly by scoring on its first two shots of the game. Seguin scored his 19th of the campaign to tie the game at 3:58. Benn gained possession on the right boards and threw a feed to Seguin, who rocketed a shot past Jones.
Benn then put Dallas ahead at 6:10 with a backhand shot from the right wing that beat Jones to the short side. The unassisted marker off the rush was a soft goal that should have been stopped by the Kings rookie netminder.
The Kings forged a tie after 20 minutes when Stoll's wrist shot got through Lehtonen for his fifth goal of the season.
NOTES: Dallas did not dress C Dustin Jeffrey, RW Alex Chiasson and D Sergei Gonchar. ... Stars LW Antoine Roussel established a career high in goals (eight) and points (15) with his tally in Dallas' 3-2 loss to the Sharks in San Jose on Saturday. ... Dallas C Tyler Seguin registered his 10th multi-point game in 34 matches. ... RW Matt Frattin, D Willie Mitchell and LW Dustin Brown sat out for Los Angeles. Brown was a late scratch with flu-like symptoms. ... Kings LW Trevor Lewis registered his first point in 26 games with the secondary assist on C Jarret Stoll's first-period goal. ... The Kings sold out their 87th straight game, a club record extending back to Dec. 3, 2011.

What to Read Next