Last night, there was a ton to talk about after the Los Angeles Kings went down to defeat. Tonight, a number of interesting things almost happened. Instead, we're left talking about one save and one injury after the Dallas Stars topped the Kings, 2-0.
The save? Well, you've already seen the picture above, but Jarret Stoll came as close as he possibly could have come to scoring his first goal of the year without doing it. After a rare flurry of shots, Kyle Clifford (more on him later) flung the puck towards the net, and with Kari Lehtonen sprawled on the ice, Trevor Lewis tapped the puck sideways to Stoll to set up what looked like a certain goal. Instead...
... Lehtonen robbed him. What made the save even more impressive was that, unlike most shooters who get denied on that type of save, Stoll elevated the puck. Unsurprisingly, that was the best scoring chance for LA on the evening, who followed up five goals on 26 shots with zero goals on 27 shots.
The loss sucks, of course. However, the lost points could mean very little compared to the lost defenseman.
The Kings are looking incredibly thin on defense. With Slava Voynov's suspension ongoing and Robyn Regehr just now getting back to skating, any prolonged absence for Martinez will lead to an even heavier load for Drew Doughty and the rest of the Kings' blueline.
Darryl Sutter, on Doughty's 31 minutes of ice time: "Do we like that? No. But that's where we're at."— Eric (@EricJFTC) November 14, 2014
Even worse? The injury appears to be Martinez's jazz hands! Martinez blocked a shot up high while getting shoved from behind, and as he had no trouble getting off the ice, it definitely doesn't seem to be a problem with the lower body. We'll just have to wait and see whether Martinez can play on Saturday, or whether it's another five-defenseman game.
No matter what, we'll see more of Jamie McBain and Brayden McNabb. They haven't inspired much confidence with their play so far, and McNabb's delay of game penalty off of a McBain pass set the stage for the first Dallas goal. It wasn't a power play goal, but LA had been in their own zone killing that penalty, which ended as Dwight King was getting stopped on a breakaway. The Stars came right back before LA could set back up on defense, and ten seconds after McNabb left the box, Ryan Garbutt took advantage of a bad rebound given up by Martin Jones to put Dallas on top. That first ended up being the Kings' worst period of the evening, and it set them up for an uphill battle in the final 40. The Kings weren't overwhelmed in the second, but the Stars did have the better of the chances until their top line made it 2-0. Jason Spezza beat Jones five-hole on assists from Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin.
By the way, remember how offseason rule changes were supposed to prevent a recurrence of last year's Detroit incident? An off-the-netting goal by Dallas was waved off right before Spezza's goal, but it had absolutely nothing to do with the rule changes. Because the goal was not scored "as an immediate result of hitting the spectator netting," the play was not reviewable. Thankfully, a linesman saw the puck hit the netting and the goal was waved off after a detailed conversation, but we were very close to another controversy.
Either way, it was 2-0. After Stoll was robbed, the closest any King came to finding the net was when Tyler Toffoli shot just wide... on an attempted pass, on his own empty goal, in the final minute. Toffoli and Tanner Pearson barely played in the latter stages of the Anaheim game and showed a bit more energy, but they still were not at their usual level. Clifford had the same third-period benching, but unlike the other two, he was noticeably good tonight. We'll give Doughty and Justin Williams the Kings' other two "stars." An empty award, sure, but it's all we've got after that game.