Kings-Stars Preview: Some kind of beautiful stranger

Ronald Martinez

The Kings finally face the new-look Stars for the first time this season.

The Kings are playing the Dallas Stars tonight, sort of. This current incarnation of the Stars is fairly significantly transformed from last season. Instead of Steve Ott, Mike Ribeiro, Michael Ryder, Adam Burish, Tomas Vincour, and Radek Dvorak, tonight will feature: Jaromir Jagr(!), Antoine Roussel, Erik Cole, Cody Eakin, Reilly Smith, and Ryan Garbutt. Although, I'm pretty sure that last one is a fake name. We'll have to see if he looks suspiciously like Joe Nieuwendyk in a cartoon moustache.

And how are the newly reconstructed Stars faring? Well, they're hanging on in the tightly-packed West. They currently sit 8th in the conference, but they have the fourth-highest number of ROWs and their goal differential is almost even at -2. Their last game was a 4-1 pasting of St. Louis on Sunday, and they're 5-4-1 in their last 10, with an overall away record of 6-5-1. They have two fewer points than the Kings (22 vs 24) in one more game (22 vs 21).

Also, have I mentioned that Mike Ribeiro and Steve Ott are gone? Oh, glorious day.

Los Angeles Kings vs Dallas Stars (Staples Center)

Time: 7.30 PM Pacific

TV: NHL Network, Fox Sports West

Seats: Los Angeles Kings tickets

Enemy reading: Defending Big D

Stars (projected) lineup:

Eriksson-Benn-Jagr
Roussel-Roy-Cole
Morrow-Eakin-Smith
Nystrom-Fiddler-Garbutt

Robidas-Dillon
Daley-Larsen
Goligoski-Oleksiak

Lehtonen

Injured: Rome (foot), Whitney (foot)

Kings (projected) lineup:

Brown-Kopitar-Williams
Penner-Richards-Carter
Lewis-Stoll-King
Clifford-Fraser-Nolan

Muzzin-Doughty
Scuderi-Voynov
Martinez-Ellerby

Quick

Injured: Greene (back), Mitchell (knee)

Game notes:

  • Did you remember that the Kings drafted Aaron Rome? I did not. 4th round, 104th overall, in 2002. There is your extremely fun fact for the day.
  • There isn't too much of interest to offer re Dallas. The Stars have been a largely average, un-spectacular team this season. After a bit of a shoddy start, they started putting things together in February, bolstered by the return of first-line centre Jamie Benn. Their record is average, their team statistics are average, their underlying numbers are average... They're the milquetoast of the Pacific Division. They're Coldplay. Grey's Anatomy. Pinot Grigio. The Jaguars. Etc.
  • One area where Dallas has been markedly below average is in faceoffs - they're ranked 23rd (47.8%) as opposed to the seventh-place (57.2%) Kings. Shouldn't have traded Steve Ott.
  • Not to rain on everyone's parade, but the awesomeness of the third period against the Blues shouldn't make up for the fact that there was some very sketchy defending happening until the offence exploded. A lot of that can likely be attributed to the back-to-back situation, but it's still worrying. "Dick around for forty minutes and win the third period" might make the last twenty minutes a hell of a lot of fun to watch, but it's still not a particularly sound overall strategy, and the Kings have been relying on it an awful lot lately.
  • That being said, Alec Martinez is still getting back into game rhythm, and finally both the team's shooting percentage and save percentage have improved to the point where defensive lapses can be overcome.
  • Jake Muzzin: four goals; Drew Doughty: zero goals. This is not sustainable or indicative of anything, but it's still kind of funny.
  • Go Kings Go
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