Dallas Stars (15-11-1, 31 pts) @ Los Angeles Kings (13-11-4, 30 pts)
9:30 PM CT, December 10, 2011
STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, California
Based on the first game of this five game road trip for the Dallas Stars, these next couple of weeks could be a downer. Dallas has a chance to get back on track tonight as they stay in California and take on LA Kings for the fourth time this season.
The Stars had serious goaltending problems in their 5-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks. Andrew Raycroft was stellar in his first game after Kari Lehtonen went down with an injury, but he has really struggle since then and it reached the tipping point in the game against the Sharks. Raycroft had a steel brick of a glove and couldn't seem to catch any shots or control any rebounds. He ended up getting pulled in the third period for Richard Bachman, who looked pretty good in his first full period of NHL action.
The Kings have been in a tailspin of their own, losing five of their last seven games. They've clearly missed Mike Richards, who's been out with an upper body injury since Dec. 1. The Kings have lost all three of their games without him. They've had trouble scoring, even with Richards in the lineup, tallying two goals or less in their last seven games.
The Stars have actually done ok stopping the big guys on the Kings. It's the spare parts for LA that have been killing Dallas. In three games against the Stars so far this season, the Kings have scored eight goals. Half of them have been scored by the likes of Scott Parse, Slava Voynov and Kevin Westgarth (who?). If Ribeiro can do a good job holding Anze Kopitar to little tonight, the rest of Dallas needs to keep an eye out for the lesser names on the Kings.
Dallas has always had trouble against Jonathan Quick, but a struggling Kings team might help the Stars get a road win tonight. With a cross-country trip to the East coast for three games coming for Dallas, getting points tonight will be really important.
The starting goaltender for tonight has yet to be determined, but according to Glen Gulutzan, Bachman has a good chance of being between the pipes. I can only hope that Gulutzan sticks to his word and starts him.
Mark Fistric serves the second of his three game suspension tonight. Adam Burish (broken hand) and Kari Lehtonen (groin) are still out.
For the Kings, Mike Richards (upper body) and forward Scott Parse (hip) are out. They also released Ethan Moreau recently.
Notes and thoughts:
- Ribeiro has been fantastic recently, recording a goal and three assists in his last three games. He started slowly this season but has really picked up his production.
- Conversely, the big scoring line for Dallas in the early season has been having a lot of trouble lately. Loui Eriksson has recorded a point in only one of his last six games (two assists against the Colorado Avalanche) and hasn't scored a goal since November 23. Benn is in the exact same boat as Eriksson, getting two assists in a game against the Maple Leafs (on Nov. 25) and not scoring a goal since the 23rd. Michael Ryder? He's also been held pointless in his last three games. Dallas needs these three to get back into the groove if they hope to get some points out of this road trip.
- October 22 at STAPLES Center: Dallas 0 - Los Angeles 1
- October 27 at American Airlines Center: Dallas 3 - Los Angeles 5
- November 23 at American Airlines Center: Dallas 3 - Los Angeles 2 (OT)
|Goals per game||2||2.7|
|Shots per game||33||25.7|
|Hits per game||31.3||28|
|PIM per game||10.3||9.7|
|Power Play||1 of 10 (10%)||1 of 10 (10%)|
|Penalty Kill||9 of 10 (90%)||9 of 10 (90%)|