Stars fall to Kings in OT, but pick up valuable point

The Dallas Stars didn’t win in Los Angeles Sunday night, but they picked up a valuable point in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Kings at Staples Center. The Stars, who overcame a 2-0 deficit in the game to get that point, still control their own fate in the Western Conference playoff race with three games remaining.

“We’ve been battling hard for a while here and that point is going to come in handy for us. We’ll take it,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “That was a tough, hard-fought game. I liked our compete level. We still control our destiny with the teams we have left to play.”

The Stars play at San Jose on Tuesday and then return home to play two of the teams they are battling for that final playoff spot – Columbus and Detroit. The Stars trail the Blue Jackets by three points, but have one game in hand. They are tied in points with the Red Wings, who have one game in hand on the Stars.

“We’re still in there,” said Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas. “We have Columbus and Detroit at home and San Jose on the road. It’s still right there for us.”

It was a wild, chaotic game at times Sunday night. The Stars fell behind 2-0, rallied to take a 3-2 lead and then the Kings bounced back to tie the game and finally win it on a Jeff Carter goal with 52 seconds remaining in overtime.

There were a lot of penalties, a few missed calls and some controversial rulings on goals that were both allowed and not allowed.

“There was some crazy stuff that happened out there, stuff that was out of our control,” said Robidas. “You just have to battle through it and there is nothing we can do about that.”

The Kings jumped out to the early lead 5:06 into the game when Mike Richards scored from close range, lifting a backhand shot over Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen.

Kings captain Dustin Brown made it a 2-0 game early in the second, beating Lehtonen with a shot from the left circle at the 4:12 mark.

But the Stars bounced back, scoring just 20 seconds after the Brown tally. Ray Whitney’s shot from just inside the blue line was blocked and the puck ended up on the stick of Loui Eriksson, who scored from the right circle to make it a 2-1 game.

The Stars tied the game with 5:06 left in the second on a controversial goal. Alex Goligoski put a shot on net, Ryan Garbutt appeared to knock it down with a high stick and Antoine Roussel then put the puck by Kings goalie Jonathan Quick to make it a 2-2 game.

“The way they explained it to me was – if it went in the net it would have been a no goal because it was a high stick above the crossbar, but because it was a high stick above the crossbar but below his shoulder – that’s [the reason],” said Brown, the Kings captain.

The Kings appeared to take the lead ten seconds into the third period when Jarret Stoll put a puck on net, Stars defenseman Aaron Rome collided with Lehtonen and the puck went into the net. But the goal was waved off.

“Well, obviously he either blew the whistle – no, we didn’t (get an explanation),” said Kings coach Darryl Sutter. “He didn’t do much explaining to us.”

Just 33 seconds later the Stars had a 3-2 lead when Goligoski went to the front of the net and scored off the rebound of a Reilly Smith shot.

But less than two minutes later the Kings were on their sixth power play of the night and cashed in to tie the game. Brown banged home the rebound of a Carter shot at the 2:59 mark.

Brown was involved in another controversial play late in the game when he hit Roussel in the head at the Los Angeles blue line, sending the Stars forward to the locker room. Roussel was on the bench for overtime, but did not play. Gulutzan did not have an update on his status after the game.

“I haven’t checked,” Gulutzan said.

In overtime, the Kings dominated play, had several good chances and finally scored when Richards put a shot on net from the left circle and it bounced off Carter and into the net. Lehtonen immediately went to the referee to question whether it was a good goal, and a video review determined the puck bounced off Carter’s shoulder and was indeed good.

Despite the overtime loss, getting to overtime was big for the Stars because of the one point they picked up in the game.

“Points are huge right now. We battled back a little bit to get one point and we kind of let it slip away there,” said Goligoski. “We’ve just got to move on. If we win these next three we feel like we have a pretty good shot in here.”

Notes

*Stars defenseman Trevor Daley, who missed Friday’s game with an upper body injury, was back in the lineup on Sunday.

*Stars forward Lane MacDermid, who had missed the last seven games with a chest injury, played Sunday.

*Forward Matt Fraser and defenseman Jordie Benn were healthy scratches. Forward Alex Chiasson missed his third game with a shoulder injury.

*The Stars were 0-4 on the power play Sunday and are 4-38 (10.5%) on the PP over the last 11 games.

*Loui Eriksson’s goal Sunday was his second in the last 17 games.

*The Stars are now 4-4 in games that have gone beyond regulation. They are 2-3 in four-on-four overtime and 2-1 in shootouts.

*The Stars won the season series against the Kings, posting a 3-1-1 mark for seven points. The Kings had a 2-3-0 mark for four points.

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