LOS ANGELES — Kari Lehtonen was a one-man wrecking crew of sorts, thwarting the Los Angeles Kings at every turn, and leading the Dallas Stars to a 2-0 win over the Kings at Staples Center on March 21.
It was one of those games for the Kings, who dominated play through two periods, getting one quality scoring chance after another. But Lehtonen stood on his head to keep the Kings off the scoreboard and gave his team a chance to win.
The Kings continued to generate scoring chances in the third period, but two mistakes proved costly. The first came when the Kings’ top line of Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams got caught in the Dallas zone on an extended shift. Stars forward Jamie Benn forced a turnover by Kopitar, and the Stars headed up ice.
Dallas winger Jaromir Jagr ended up with the puck in the left circle, where he backhanded it in front. The puck deflected off of Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, and into the gaping right side of the net at the 6:34 mark.
With the Kings taking risks up ice to generate more scoring chances, the Stars took advantage, getting what ended up being a three-on-two rush. Dallas forward Ray Whitney took a pass in the left circle, and one-timed the puck past Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick at 10:56 to close out the scoring.
While Lehtonen was, by far, the biggest reason the Stars won the game, the Kings did not help themselves by not doing as good a job as they have in recent games in getting traffic in front of him. He had a clear view of too many of the Kings’ shots.
Lehtonen stopped 40 shots, earning his first shut out of the season. Quick took the loss for the Kings, making 19 saves.
Since KingsVision recorded the same footage of post-game interviews that I shot, most of the video provided here is from them. However, Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan met with the media after the game, and his thoughts differed rather sharply from those of Kings head coach Darryl Sutter. Gulutzan’s post-game interview is included below.
Post-Game Quotes From Dallas Stars Dressing Room
Dallas Forward Jaromir Jagr:
(on his goal): “I was thinking beat two guys and top shelf. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t.”
(On Lehtonen’s performance):”We didn’t have a practice this morning so we wanted to give him extra shots. It worked well for us so he doesn’t have to work hard after the game. We didn’t play very well lately. Kari was just fantastic and gave us a chance in the third period. We started to settle down and play a little better. It was a little bit of concern out there.”
Dallas Goaltender Kari Lehtonen:
“It started well. I got a couple of good saves and that carried the whole game. They had a lot of chances but sometimes you get lucky and sometimes you don’t. It was nice to get those bounces tonight. It was huge the defense limited second chances. Our penalty kill did a great job too. It was a complete road effort. We had a little bit of a hard time but we hung in there and got those two goals.”
- The last two losses in the last 13 home games have both been to Dallas (first was on March 7).
- The Kings are now 12-3-1 at home this season, tied for the third best record after 16 home games in club history (best is 13-2-1in 2010-11 and 1992-93).
- The Kings are now 12-5-0 in their last 17 games, and 14-6-0 in their last twenty games.
- The last time the Kings were shut out in the regular season at home was February 28, 2012 (lost 1-0 to Calgary).
- Brown had nine hits in the game.
- The Kings have now sold out 42 consecutive regular season home games (71 of the last 73 regular season home games).
Frozen Royalty Video via FrozenRoyaltyNHL on YouTube – Interviews From Dallas Stars vs. Los Angeles Kings, March 21, 2013
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Post-Game Interviews via KingsVision On YouTube
Game Highlights From KingsVision: Dallas Stars vs. Los Angeles Kings, March 21, 2013, Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
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Frustrating loss….here’s hoping that the Kings can regroup and come out stronger in the next game!
I’m pretty sure he had 40 saves, not 31.
“Lehtonen stopped 31 shots, earning his first shut out of the season. Quick took the loss for the Kings, making 19 saves.”
NHL.com originally had it at 31 shots. They’ve since corrected that, and so have I…