The second of three matchups, the LA Kings will host the Dallas Stars on Thursday in the first game of a quick two-game homestand. The latter just had their seven-game winning streak snapped on Wednesday night after allowing three goals in the final period against the Golden Knights.
Tale of the tape:
LAK: 29.7% (2nd)
DAL: 20.0% (14th)
LAK: 81.7% (16th)
DAL: 73.8% (27th)
LAK: 55.8% (1st)
DAL: 53.0% (6th)
Goals per game:
LAK: 2.91 (18th)
Goals Against Per Game
LAK: 2.74 (10th)
DAL: 2.75 (11th)
LAK: Anze Kopitar – 8 goals, 16 assists, 24 points
DAL: Miro Heiskanen – 3 goals, 13 assists, 16 points
Here’s a look at three things to watch in tonight’s contest:
1. Drew Doughty versus Jani Hakanpaa
The Kings defenseman, who turned 32 on Wednesday, was off to a red-hot start before taking an illegal knee-to-knee hit from Stars defenseman Jani Hakanpaa. Doughty returned to the ice in just over five weeks’ time, picking up where he left off.
“I saw him coming down the wing, I was just trying to deny him the entry to our zone,” Hakanpää said via The Dallas Morning News. “It was unfortunate what happened, and I really hope he’s going to be well, and be back playing as soon as possible. Something you never want to see happening, a guy going down like that.
“I wish he’s going to be back soon. Such a great player, just for the case of his teammates and all the fans watching hockey, I’m really, really sorry about him going down like that.”
Obviously, Hakanpaa was remorseful following the incident. So while on the surface it would appear that things are copasetic, you best bet that Doughty hasn’t forgotten.
Let’s see if anything comes of it:
2. Jaret Anderson-Dolan likely to draw in
If you recall, JAD was given the nod last year after Lizotte went into COVID protocol, and the then-21-year-old came out firing on all cylinders.
JAD had five points in his first six games before he was sidelined for a month due to injury. In his first game back, the former second-rounder tallied two points and had 11 points in 34 games in all.
“Sometimes things work with combinations of players and their play complements each other really well. Their style allows them to keep plays alive in the offensive zone and they can extend shifts a little bit,” Kings head coach Todd McLellan said last year. “JAD is an important piece on that line.”
3. Stars’ red-hot penalty kill against Kings’ lackluster powerplay
Coming into Wednesday’s game against the Knights, the Dallas Stars had won seven games in a row backed by elite penalty killing. Over that span, the Stars allowed just one powerplay goal on 19 opportunities.
The last time these two teams met, the Kings had plenty of opportunities on the man advantage, six to be exact. They converted just once, which has been a microcosm of the team’s powerplay thus far in the 2021-22 season.
Los Angeles went 3-for-5 against the Oilers over the weekend, scoring all three on Connor McDavid‘s five-minute major penalty. But they went 0-for-2 against the Canucks the following night.
The Kings have shown the ability to get up for big games, but there’s no consistency in any facet of their game right now. Converting on a couple of powerplay chances would be a good step in the right direction.