Kings once again fall victim to Stars in 4-1 loss

Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports
Los Angeles was swept in the season series against Dallas as they fell short on the second night of a back-to-back.

It was a quick turnaround for the Kings, who headed right to Dallas after taking down the Blackhawks in Chicago. They woke up facing a battle against the Stars, who have had their number all season long. With Los Angeles having one final chance this year to get some revenge, they came out flat. Thomas Harley, Craig Smith, and Wyatt Johnston each scored in the first period for Dallas as they quickly opened up a commanding lead.

With the Kings needing to rally the storm in the second, the Stars once again kept their foot on the gas. Jamie Benn scored the fourth goal of the day for Dallas just 2 and a half minutes into the period to further extend their lead. They would head to the third up 4-0 and in total control. The Kings finally managed to get on the board in the opening minutes of the period, with Kevin Fiala drilling his 22nd of the season. That would ultimately be all for Los Angeles, and they once again found themselves on the wrong side of things against the Stars.

Here are three takeaways from the game:

Rittich gets outdueled by Wedgewood

With the starting goalies for both Dallas and Los Angeles not on the ice for Saturday night’s contest, it was up to the backups to hold things down. David Rittich geared up for his 18th starting appearance of the season, but got off to a rough start. Three first-period goals for the Stars left Los Angeles in a hole early and killed any type of momentum they had. The Dallas crowd was rowdy from the jump, perhaps knowing that they would get to witness the unveiling of Mike Modano’s (Stars’ all-time leader in points and goals) new statue. Rittich once again let up another score in the second as Dallas pushed their lead to 4. He did show improvement in the third, keeping the Stars off the board throughout the final 20 minutes. Unfortunately, it was too little too late for Rittich as the Kings fell short for the third time this season against Dallas. He finished the game with 25 saves on 29 shots as his record fell to 10-5-3. The 2023-2024 Stars can now officially proclaim themselves as the Kings’ kryptonite this year, sweeping the season series 3-0 by a total goal margin of 13-3. Perhaps if things work in the way that destiny permits, the two squads will get to see each other again in the postseason. Until then, Los Angeles will have work to do as they fight to hold onto the third playoff spot in the Pacific Division.

Fiala is the only one to break through against Dallas (again)

In two of the three matchups between the Kings and Stars this season, Kevin Fiala has been the only one to crack the code for Los Angeles. The 10th-year man was the sole scorer for the Kings in their second consecutive matchup against Dallas and goalie Scott Wedgewood. Fiala scored his 22nd of the season early on in the third as he drained a flashy turnaround shot from the right side of the ice.

He has now moved into second place among Kings’ scoring leaders this season, just three goals shy of Trevor Moore for the team lead. It is Fiala’s second time scoring back-to-back goals against the Stars in his career, making him just the third Swiss player in NHL history to multiple two-game scoring streaks against Dallas. He continues to be a key part of the scoring for the Kings, and they will need him to keep up the good work as Los Angeles pushes for a strong finish to the regular season.

Los Angeles allows first power-play goal in a week

After Jamie Benn took advantage of a Stars’ power play early in the second period on Saturday night, the Kings had officially surrendered their first power-play goal since March 9.

The previous power-play goal on the 9th was, of course, scored by the Stars in a separate 4-1 victory. They have been arguably the most successful unit of any in the NHL against Los Angeles in power-play situations. The Kings have allowed just 29 goals in such scenarios this season, which is a league-best mark. Dallas, however, has been respectably efficient with their power-play scoring as well. With 48 power-play goals, they rank 11th-best in the NHL. It was a showing of two teams who have generally excelled in defending and scoring in power-play situations, and the Stars once again got the best of Los Angeles on Saturday. Fortunately, the Kings won’t have to move forward dreading another matchup with Dallas this season and can start a new power-play defense streak with confidence.

The Kings will now get to head back home after a 1-2 road trip with stops in St. Louis, Chicago, and Dallas. They will enjoy a couple of days off before returning to action on Tuesday night as they welcome the Blackhawks to Los Angeles for the two squads’ second matchup in 5 days.

The game is scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. PT.