– by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief
DALLAS — Two desperate teams were looking to snap out of funks to begin the season, but the Dallas Stars played the more desperate hockey to snap their losing streak. It had to play desperate due to the fact that they were playing shorthanded up front.
Goaltender Ben Bishop made 31 saves while Blake Comeau, Jason Spezza, John Klingbrg and Tyler Pitlick each scored as the Stars defeated the Los Angeles Kings 4-2 on Tuesday night, ending Dallas’ three-game losing streak.
Before the game, the Stars found out that first-line right wing Alexander Radulov would miss his third straight game due to a lower body injury, forcing the Stars to the play with just 11 forwards, compared to the customary 12. Tyler Pitlick was put onto the top line with left wing Jamie Benn and center Tyler Seguin, and Pitlick came through by scoring a third-period goal and recording three hits in his 15:24 of ice time.
“I enjoyed the 11 forwards tonight,” said Stars head coach Jim Montgomery. “Everybody was into the game.”
That included Spezza and Klingberg — the latter being a defenseman — who each had a goal and an assist in the contest. Spezza assisted on the first goal of the game, scored by Comeau just 5:14 into the first period to give the Stars a 1-0 lead going into the first intermission.
Spezza went from provider to scorer at the 8:59 mark of the second period, pouncing on a rebound from a shot by Justin Dowling to double Dallas’ lead before a sequence of two goals in 22 seconds late in the period.
Los Angeles cut Dallas’ lead in a half on a goal from Anze Kopitar at 14:04 after he latched on to a perfect, length-of-the-ice pass from defenseman Drew Doughty before beating Bishop through his legs on the backhand. Almost immediately after the restart, Klingberg sent a hopeful wrist shot on goal from the blue line that deflected off of the stick of Kings center Jeff Carter before beating Quick high on his blocker side to restore Dallas’ two-goal lead.
Kings’ defenseman Sean Walker, playing in his first NHL game, set up Los Angeles’ second goal late in the second period, firing a length-of-the-ice pass that connected with Tyler Toffoli before the latter beat Bishop at 17:09, cutting Dallas’ lead to 3-2 going into the second intermission.
The Stars were able to ice it on Pitlick’s goal on the power play 4:23 into the third.
Los Angeles has now lost five games in a row, being outscored 25-7 during that span. Each of the five losses has come by multiple goals.
“I thought this was a step in the right direction,” said Kopitar, who scored his third goal of the season in the loss, “but we can’t just get satisfied with getting close. I thought we moved the puck better, but there are still breakdowns that happened, and we have to correct them.”
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Tuesday’s game, with all photos taken by Dallas-area photographer Ross James. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 20 pictures in total.