Lucic, Lecavalier get big goals in Kings' 3-2 win over Stars
Jan. 20, 2016
LOS ANGELES (AP) — For a guy who plans to retire this summer, Vincent Lecavalier looks far from finished with hockey.
He moved from Philadelphia to Los Angeles for one more shot at the Stanley Cup, and he's already playing a major role in the Kings' pursuit with a string of power-play goals.
Milan Lucic had the tiebreaking goal early in the third period and Lecavalier scored on the power play for the third straight game in the Kings' 3-2 victory over the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night.
With a vintage one-timer from the faceoff circle during the first period, Lecavalier scored his third goal in six games since joining the Kings. The veteran forward is riding a wave of momentum generated by getting away from the Flyers, who made him a healthy scratch for most of this season.
"You can tell he's having fun again," Lucic said of Lecavalier, whose three-game goal streak is his longest since Jan. 27 to Feb. 1, 2013. "The coaches have put him in position to succeed, and that's something he's earned. He's playing with some great players and making the most of his time on the power play."
Anze Kopitar added two assists to his recent scoring tear, and Drew Doughty also scored in Los Angeles' ninth win in 12 games since Christmas. Jonathan Quick made 27 saves for the Kings, who opened a 12-point lead atop the Pacific Division despite playing in their third game in four days.
Los Angeles has thrived during a rough stretch of its season, earning points in all but two games since the holiday break.
"We put in a lot of work, and there was a lot of structure in our game," Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter said. "It was a good challenge for the team and a good character test."
Ales Hemsky and Cody Eakin scored first-period goals for the Stars, who have lost a season-worst four straight and seven of eight. Kari Lehtonen stopped 26 shots in the playoff contenders' first meeting of the season.
The Stars lamented their missed offensive chances, particularly for two of the NHL's top three scorers. Tyler Seguin was held scoreless for the sixth time in Dallas' last eight games, and captain Jamie Benn was shut out for the fifth time in eight games.
"The biggest thing is our big boys haven't been converting," Dallas coach Lindy Ruff said. "It's tough on the rest of the lineup when they're not on the scoresheet. I thought there was opportunities to finish. We just didn't get it done."
After spending most of the season in first place in the Central Division, Dallas has drifted five points behind streaking Chicago and within two points of third-place St. Louis.
"We've got to regroup, get things in order and focus on the rest of the season," forward Antoine Roussel said. "It's going to come hard. Teams in the league are getting better, and they're aiming at us. They look at the Stars and say, 'We've got to beat those guys.' It's not like the start of the season when we were the surprising team."
Lucic got his 12th goal of the season with 13:43 to play after a masterful sequence of puck possession — a specialty of the Kings.
"It definitely felt like a five-man cycle," Lucic said. "Everyone was touching the puck and moving it around. Right now when we're on the ice, we're feeling pretty good and pretty confident."
Kopitar, who had the primary assist on the goal, has a five-game point streak and 20 points in 12 games since Christmas. The Slovenian center also signed an $80 million contract extension during a profitable stretch for the Kings' leading scorer in each of the previous eight seasons.
NOTES: Dallas D Jordie Benn sat out with a lower-body injury, and C Colton Sceviour was scratched for the second time in three games. ... Kings D Jake Muzzin extended his point streak to eight games, the longest for a Los Angeles defenseman since Lubomir Visnovsky scored in nine straight in December 2005. ... The Kings scratched forward Jordan Nolan for just the third time this season.