The Los Angeles Kings rallied to beat the Dallas Stars 3-2 Sunday night in their fourth road game in a one-week span. Early goals by Brad Richardson and Justin Williams in the third period were enough to hold off the Stars for the big win.
Jeff Carter opened up the scoring just 25 seconds into the first period on a weak backhand for his 20th goal of the season. Stars’ goaltender Kari Lehtonen went on to stop 30 shots in the first two periods to hold the Kings to just one goal.
Jamie Benn tied the game at one for the Stars just over 13 minutes into the second period off a long pass from Alex Gologoski. Lehtonen went on to make a flurry of saves to finish off the second period but couldn’t keep the Kings off the board early in the third.
Just under six minutes into the third, Kyle Clifford intercepted a pass in the Stars’ zone and hit Brad Richardson, who found the back of the net for the 2-1 lead. Justin Williams scored his third goal in the last three games off his own rebound 1:09 after Richardson netted his first of the season.
Ray Whitney scored a powerplay goal nearly five minutes later to bring the Stars back within one, but Kings goaltender Johnathan Bernier kept composed and held on for the win. The Stars were held to 15 shots in the game as Bernier made 13 saves for his eighth win of the season.
The Kings will next take the ice on Tuesday against the Phoenix Coyotes for their fifth straight road game before returning home to face the Minnesota Wild on Thursday. The Wild beat the Kings 4-3 in a shootout on Saturday for their eighth win in their past 10 games.
The Kings have played much better hockey after a slow start to the lockout-shortened season and have finished off their Pacific Division rivals with the 3-2 win on Sunday. The Kings beat the Stars in all three meetings this season by a combined score of 10-4.
The Kings are currently fifth in the Western Conference and just one point behind the Vancouver Canucks and Minnesota Wild for third place. Los Angeles is four games back of the Anaheim Ducks in the Pacific Division but are in much better position going into the 2013 NHL playoffs.
The defending Stanley Cup champions sneaked into the playoffs last year and beat the top-three seeds in the Western Conference before beating the New Jersey Devils for the cup. The Kings won’t be underdogs when they enter the playoffs this season as they hope to win it all again.
The Kings rallied to beat the Stars Sunday to finish off March with a 10-6-1 record as the NHL enters the last month of the regular season. Can the Kings improve in April and repeat as Stanley Cup champions after their historical run in 2012?
[Image via Wikimedia Commons]