Kings are left seeing Stars, 5-4

first_imgDALLAS — After 548 dark days, the Kings finally played a game that meant something. And at the end of Wednesday night, the idea of returning to the lockout probably didn’t sound quite so bad. In a game drawn up in the offensive-minded dreams of NHL officials and the nightmares of Kings coach Andy Murray, the Kings scored four unanswered goals in the first period but the Dallas Stars, bolstered by power-play opportunities, roared back for a 5-4 victory before 18,532 at American Airlines Center. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 “That’s what happens when you don’t want to play physical and you don’t want to take people off the puck,’ said Murray, who could have passed Bob Pulford for first place in Kings coaching wins. “That was my concern coming in and tonight was an indication that we’re not willing to compete physically and battle for pucks. It doesn’t matter how much skill you add to your team, you have to battle and we didn’t. “We took all the penalties because we didn’t knock people off the puck. … But I think (Dallas) seemed to get away with quite a few of those. It was an interesting way the game was called.’ It was all laughs early, as the Kings scored on their first two shots. In his first game with the Kings, Jeremy Roenick scored two of their three goals in the first 4:18, on the way to a 4-0 lead that vanished. The Stars scored three times in the second period, tied the game midway through the third and scored the winning goal with 4:46 left. Philippe Boucher’s shot deflected off the skate of unsuspecting Kings forward Eric Belanger in front of the net and past goaltender Mathieu Garon, who never saw it. As expected, the new rules and crackdown on obstruction turned the game into a wide-open power- play-fest. The Kings took 16 penalties, compared to just seven for Dallas. “You’re up a couple goals and you take a couple penalties and it can change,’ said Garon, who stopped all 13 shots he faced in the first period but only 12 of 17 after that. It’s no coincidence that during their three-goal second period, the Stars didn’t draw a penalty other than John Erskine’s fight with George Parros while the Kings took five and gave up two power- play goals. “We killed ourselves,’ forward Luc Robitaille said. “You can’t spend an entire period in the box and think you’re going to win too many games. It doesn’t matter whether they score on those chances or not. What happens is we lose the flow of your game. Bottom line, when you lead four-nothing you’ve got to win. “We should know the rules. They outworked us and we had to hook them. We should be used to it by now. We played the whole preseason, so we have to be smart.’ Sean Avery and Dustin Brown also scored for the Kings, who also failed on a breakaway chance and a 2-on-1 chance late in the second period while still holding a 4-3 lead. After the game, Roenick stood in the locker room, five fresh stitches above his eye, and tried to offer a little perspective after spending a year away from the game. “I feel like a hockey player again,’ Roenick said. No doubt, he would have felt better with a victory. Rich Hammond can be reached at (818) 713-3607. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!center_img There are still 81 games to be played, but this one will be hard to top on the devastating-loss scale. And it might be a while before anyone sees Murray as upset as he was after the game, his face red, rocking back and forth against a wall as he blistered his team’s effort. The Kings had only four power plays, compared to 12 for the Stars, and Murray took dead aim at his own players, and the referees. last_img read more