Kings 6, Stars 5, OT
Kings storm back for dramatic 5-4 overtime win
What looked like an easy victory over a team they've dominated over the past two seasons became a disastrous loss for the Dallas Stars.
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Anze Kopitar, whose goal late in the third period had already helped erase a four-goal deficit, capped an amazing comeback when he scored 2:34 into overtime to give the Los Angeles Kings a wild 6-5 win over the stunned Stars at Staples Center on Saturday night.
Up comfortably with just over seven minutes left in regulation, the Stars suddenly collapsed and allowed five goals in a Kings franchise-record 5:07 span that put Dallas behind 5-4 with just over two minutes to play.
Mike Modano was able to send the dramatic game into overtime with a power-play goal with 1:05 remaining in regulation, but Kopitar's second goal of the game put the dagger into the Stars' collective heart minutes later.
"This is right there, next to rock bottom," captain Brenden Morrow
said. "It's tough to explain. We panicked when they scored their first goal. It's really ugly to spend 40 minutes building a lead, and then panic after one lucky bounce."
Modano, Morrow, and Jeff Halpern each had a goal and an assist, and Mike Ribeiro
and Chris Conner also scored for the Stars, who lost their second straight and fifth in the last seven games. Dallas also fell to Los Angeles for the second time in three games this season after sweeping all eight games last year.
Goalie Marty Turco was splendid and in line for his second shutout of the season until the Stars uncharacteristically coughed up the seemingly insurmountable advantage. After the flurry of goals late in the third period, Turco was unable to close his legs fast enough on Kopitar's backhand in overtime that sealed the Los Angeles win.
With the loss, Dallas finished its four-game west coast road trip with a 2-2 mark, and dropped to third place in the Pacific Division, two points behind first place San Jose.
"The whole third period was brutal and embarrassing," Turco said. "You can't sit back and hope things go your way, you have to make them happen."
Alexander Frolov had a goal and two assists, Dustin Brown added a goal and an assist, and Scott Thornton and Ladislav Nagy also scored for the Kings, who were playing for the first time in a week.
Dallas dominated the game for the first two periods before the Kings began to get their legs in the third. Down 4-0, Brown finally solved Turco at 12:46 of the third with a power-play tally.
Four goals and five minutes later, the wheels completely came off the Stars. That's when Nagy deflected defenseman Brad Stuarts shot with the Kings on the power play to give Los Angeles a 5-4 lead.
"We lost the momentum and couldn't get it back," coach Dave Tippett said. "This is a hard lesson to learn, but we have to recognize what wins games and what loses them. Maybe we need a lesson like this, from the goalie on out, to make it sink in. It doesn't help when everything they throw at the net goes in."
Los Angeles starting goalie Jason LaBarbera was yanked after allowing four goals in two periods. Jean-Sebastien Aubin faced only four shots in the third period and none in the extra session in relief.
"We weren't doing what it takes to win games," Morrow said of the breakdown.
The Stars opened the scoring with a couple of late goals on consecutive shots in the first period. Morrow gave Dallas a 1-0 lead with a power play goal with 3:33 left in the period. The play began with two scintillating saves by LaBarbera on Modano from in tight. After the second save, Jere Lehtinen was able to deflect the bouncing puck to Morrow in the slot, where the captain ripped a slap shot into the net while the puck was rolling on edge.
It was Morrow's seventh goal of the year, and third in the last four games.
Dallas extended its lead to 2-0 just two minutes later when Ribeiro notched his seventh at 18:48. While skating in the neutral zone, Stephane Robidas
chipped the puck off the glass and onto the stick of Ribeiro at the Kings blueline. Ribeiro took three strides to the right before letting go a wrist shot back to the left that beat LaBarbera.
Dallas began taking control of the entertaining first period about midway through, outshooting Los Angeles 11-2 over the final 9 1/2 minutes. Overall, the Stars sent 16 shots LaBarbera's way.
The Stars used another two-goal period in the second to extend their lead to 4-0 after 40 minutes. Conner made it 3-0 at 10:17, slipping home a shot that was originally taken by Robidas before being tipped by Halpern.
Halpern then gave the Stars a four-goal cushion when he blasted a slap shot from the top of the right circle past LaBarbera. Halpern let his shot go after a nifty behind-the-back pass by defenseman Sergei Zubov off the rush.
The Kings unleashed their offensive fury with Brown, Thornton, Frolov, Kopitar, and Nagy giving Los Angeles a 5-4 edge before Modano tied it with a slap shot from the high slot that beat Aubin.
"There are a lot of little things that came to a head tonight," Turco said. "This showed a lack of respect for each other."
The Stars return to Dallas and will begin a five-game homestand on Wednesday against San Jose. This will be the third meeting between the two teams after they split the first two affairs.
Faceoff from American Airlines Center is set for 7:30, and the game can be seen on FSN.
-- Dallas has outscored the Kings by a 17-2 margin in the first period over the last 11 meetings.
-- Defenseman Mattias Norstrom, who sustained a facial laceration in Dallas' win over San Jose on Wednesday, was scratched for the second straight game.
-- Left wing Loui Eriksson
was sent to Iowa of the AHL on Friday. Eriksson had played in only six games this season.
-- These two teams will meet again in nine days in Dallas.
-- Ribeiro leads the Stars with 17 points, and snapped a two-game pointless streak.
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