Game 10: Kings stunt Stars in lopsided victory

Jack Johnson #3 and Alexei Ponikarovsky #27 of the Los Angeles Kings celebrate a goal against the Dalllas Stars at American Airlines Center on October 28, 2010 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)Game 10: Kings 5, Stars 2

Considering the lackluster performance the Kings put on against the Blackhawks, I wasn't so sure the team would be ready for the Stars. After all, the Stars would be rested and restless, after losing two in a row after Tuesday.

But as the game started, both teams looked lethargic. Perhaps it was a direct reflection of the crowd, or lack therein. The box score had the American Airlines Center generous filled to 60 percent. There was no one there, because of some outdated game some guys play on a field.

Dustin Brown kicked off the scoring, when he popped in a fat rebound on a two-man advantage to make it 1-0. Scoring first bodes well for L.A., as they have won 100 percent of their games when they score first.

But then the Kings got sloppy and the parade to the box started. This allowed Dallas to tie it up when they scored a 5-on-3 goal.

That's when the Jack Johnson Show started. Playing more of a leadership role on the ice since Drew Doughty's injury, Johnson has stepped up his game. He assisted on Brown's goal in the first, then assisted on the two Kings goals in the second. I'm not one to include quotes from a game that I don't cover in a story, but I felt this one that Rich Hammond got from Jack is very telling of his mindset.
"I’ve been looking forward to this opportunity for a long time," Johnson said. "Obviously we want to get Drew back as soon as possible, but we also don’t want to rush him, with an injury like that. He’s a huge part of this team. I know I’ve got a lot to offer this team, and that’s what I’m trying to do."
Ever since his much-hyped arrival in Los Angeles, fans have been waiting to see Johnson develop. He stepped up his game in the Olympics, he's evolved his game over the last two seasons, and he's turning out to be a great defensive player and leader. If Doughty's injury is longer than expected (God forbid, but it was announced during the broadcast that he won't be playing Saturday against the Devils), one can take solace in the fact that the Kings have their blueline handled.

The first star of the game, as voted on by the media and this guy right here was Jonathan Quick. his performance in the second period by killing off four penalties and six overall, was the determining factor in the game. As frustrating as all the penalties were in the game, it was tempered by the fact that Jonny Quick was backstopping the team and putting up another gem.

Scary note: Wayne Simmonds got a shot to the ribs toward the end of the second period, and was seen visibly wincing on the bench. Let's hope he doesn't miss any time for the Kings. There are going to need all hands on deck this week.

• AP: Rapid-fire goals send Kings past Stars
“Our team seems to come to play when we’ve been here,” Quick said. “(The Stars) took a lot of shots from the perimeter, that might pad the numbers a little. It’s just team success. The team played well tonight. To come back after a loss, it shows the character in the locker room.”
• LA Times: Kings finish trip in style with 5-2 victory over Dallas
But between the bad beginning (of the road trip) — losing Doughty the night before they lost at Phoenix — and the good end — a solid 5-2 victory over the Dallas Stars on Thursday at a near-empty American Airlines Center — the Kings learned something about themselves.
• LA Kings: Kings shoot down Stars
Willie Mitchell's shorthanded goal early in the third period gave the Kings a 4-1 lead before Brandon Segal scored for the Stars. Justin Williams clinched the win with an empty-net goal with 1:41 remaining.
• Dallas Morning News: Stars, failing to cash in scoring chances, are wasting homestand
The Kings were playing the second night of back-to-back games and improved to 7-3-0, best in the Pacific Division. Los Angeles, which finished a five-game road trip 3-2-0, returns home for a five-game homestand and a chance to put some space between itself and the rest of the Pacific Division.
Dallas Stars right wing Adam Burish (16) pressures as Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick (32) looks on as the puck deflects off the goal post in the third period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Oct. 28, 2010, in Dallas. The Kings won 5-2. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)They said it
“It was successful. I think, truthfully, if you’re going to win your games at home and go .500 on the road, you’re going to have a great year. We’re trying to win more than we lose on the road, take care of our home games and have a great year.” - Jack Johnson, on stepping up in Doughty’s absence.
“Maybe it was a little bit of karma, for not getting the bounces the night before. These games are really, really important — the back-to-backs — at the end of the year, especially against a division opponent, when you’re trying to win the division. Good teams find a way to win them, and tonight we did so it’s a good stepping stone for the team.” - Willie Mitchell, on ending the trip with a win.
“I think I’ve been extremely fortunate. The team has come to play when I’ve been here. I think another thing is that they have a shooting power play. They get shots from everywhere, and I get a lot of shots from the perimeter so that might pad the numbers a little bit." - Jonathan Quick, on his strong career play in Dallas.
“You’re playing a division game, you get to bed at 3 in the morning and you’ve got a team sitting here fresh. I thought the guys worked very hard to get themselves ready for this game in the locker room before stepping onto the ice." - Terry Murray, on the win.
 

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