Three third-period goals and a 27 save shutout from Jonathan Quick led the Los Angeles Kings to a 4-0 victory over the Dallas Stars.

Goal breakdown

LAK – Adrian Kempe (11), Assists: Dustin Brown (7), Phillip Danault (9)

LAK – Arthur Kaliyev (5), Assists: Rasmus Kupari (3), Tobias Bjornfot (4)

LAK – Viktor Arvidsson (5) (Empty Net), Unassisted

LAK – Andreas Athanasiou (3) (Empty Net), Assists: Matt Roy (7), Alex Edler (10)

Stats 

Shots on goal:

DAL: 27

LAK: 41

Hits:

DAL: 25

LAK: 15

Faceoff Percentage (%):

DAL: 49.1%

LAK: 50.9%

Power Plays:

DAL: 0/3

LAK: 0/2

Three things that stood out:

1. The first line played like a first line

The LA Kings’ first line of Adrian Kempe, Anze Kopitar, and Dustin Brown has been underperforming and hasn’t played like the first line that fans have wanted to see.

They’ve struggled to score, they’ve struggled to get pucks on net, and of late they haven’t been able to produce at the level that a top-line should be at.

It was a different story against Dallas on Thursday:

That trio led all forward lines for LA in on-ice shot attempts-for, with 23. They had only four against for a Corsi-For percentage of 85.2%. The entire line finished above 70% in expected goals, making it one of the best performances of the season. 

The line finished the night with a 1.11 on-ice expected goals-for. For reference, the next best line (Iafallo – Danault – Arvidsson) had only 0.446. The first line played like a first-line tonight.

Two of the three had a hand in the game’s winning goal thanks to Brown springing Kempe on a breakaway:

A tremendous effort by the top line in LA helps lead to a shutout victory. 

2. Shot volume was high yet again

It slowed down closer to the third period, but the Kings shot the puck often tonight. After the first period, the shots were 20-9 in favour of LA. Credit to Dallas as they got better as the game went along, particularly in the third period, but they couldn’t beat Jonathan Quick.

Quick earned his 56th career shutout in the victory. He looked like his 2012 self (again), especially after making this highway robbery on Denis Gurianov:

After two periods of play, the Kings outshot the Stars 30 to 19 but had only snuck one past Jake Oettinger, who played great in his own right. He made this game much closer than it should’ve been. 

The Kings had 55 on-ice shot attempts, meaning they missed the net or the shot got blocked 14 times. Oftentimes in this game, LA shot the puck toward the net and hoped for something to happen. 

Drew Doughty had five shots on net, leading the Kings. Kempe, Danault, and Kopitar all had four shots. Credit also to Mikey Anderson, who had seven shot attempts. It’s good to see even the most defensive defenseman try to get pucks to the net and create offense.

3. Model Win

The win against Dallas was a solid win. The goalie gets a shutout while posting a 1.89 goals saved above expected, the defence looked sound, and the team controlled possession. We’ll see if the Kings can keep that edge against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday. 

Analytically and visually, the Kings outplayed the Stars as the hosts always had the upper hand offensively. When the Stars came with a push in the third period, Quick was up to the task and LA was able to pick up the two points.

After losing 4-0 earlier in the week in Vancouver, the Kings put forth a much better effort against the Stars, who were playing the second game of a back-to-back.

Los Angeles is back in action on Saturday as they host Kirill Kaprizov and the Minnesota Wild at 7:30 PM PT.

It’s time to stop sheltering Alex Turcotte from the NHL

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