Ross James/ALOST

akoiki-passport2 – by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief

DALLAS — On an evening when the Dallas Stars honored a great from their past, inarguably the greatest player in franchise history, the team’s future continued to show off the play that has the team ready for Stanley Cup Playoffs glory — much like the man who, after last night, has a statue standing in front of the home arena in his honor.

Forward Wyatt Johnston, 20, and defenseman Thomas Harley, 22, each scored during a three-goal first period for the Stars, who defeated the Los Angeles Kings 4-1 on Saturday evening, on a night when Hockey Hall-of-Famer Mike Modano was honored by the club with a statue unveiling outside American Airlines Center during the first intermission.

Captain Jaime Benn, who ranks second in goals scored and total points in Stars history behind Modano, scored on the power play early in the second period to give Dallas a 4-0 advantage.

Scott Wedgewood made 27 saves for the Stars as Dallas snapped a two-game losing streak while defeating the Kings for the second time in a week. Dallas won in Los Angeles 4-1 on March 9.

It only took 2:28 for Dallas to get the scoring, though it took a bit of fortune. Harley’s wrist shot off a face-off win by the Stars glanced off the shoulder of Kings goalkeeper David Rittich before hitting the back glass and popping high into the air. On the descent, the puck bounced off of Rittich’s back and squirmed into the net for what officially was Harley’s 15th goal of the season.

Smith added a second goal on a wrist shot from just inside the blue line at the 8:49 mark before Johnston completed an odd-man rush with his 26th goal of the season at 15:15, extending the latter’s goal-scoring streak to four games.

“Those two guys might have been the best players on the ice tonight,” Stars head coach Pete DeBoer said about Johnston and Harley. “You know their age, so that’s a great sign, especially for this time of year. This is the time of year where some young guys start to get worn down or pushed out a little bit. Those guys are finding another level for us, which is fantastic.”

*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Saturday evening’s contest, with 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 27 pictures in total.

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Tags : Dallas StarsLos Angeles KingsMike ModanoNational Hockey League

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