Hudler scores tiebreaker, Stars beat Kings in 6-4 thriller
LOS ANGELES (AP) — After the Stars and Kings exchanged seven goals in a frenetic 13-minute span, both coaches felt compelled to yank their starting goalies in the third period of a one-goal game.
Dallas hung on to put a solid finish on a wacky Monday night at Staples Center.
Jiri Hudler scored the tiebreaking goal with 12:16 to play, and the Stars blew a late two-goal lead before hanging on for a 6-4 victory over Los Angeles.
Patrick Sharp had an empty-net goal and two assists, while Hudler, Tyler Seguin and Devin Shore had a goal and an assist apiece against the Kings, usually one of the Western Conference’s best defensive teams.
“Nobody would have anticipated 10 goals between these two teams right now,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. ”(But) I was frustrated we didn’t score more goals with the opportunities we had. I think we deserved to win.”
The Stars snapped a three-game skid despite giving up four goals to the Kings in just more than 10 minutes spanning the final two periods. Drew Doughty scored the tying goal on a power play early in the third, chasing Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen.
But Hudler capitalized on a turnover behind the Kings’ net and scored the first goal of his first season with the Stars. Sharp wrapped up a victory that sent Dallas into the second half of its mildly disappointing season with hope for better things.
“You don’t expect to score six against LA,” Sharp said. “I thought we had a good second period and a wild finish. You never expect to win a game on the road like that against a team like that.”
Kings goalie Peter Budaj also was pulled in the third period after giving up five goals on 22 shots. Dallas’ Antti Niemi and Los Angeles’ Jeff Zatkoff finished the game in net.
The Stars also got goals from Brett Ritchie and Jamie Oleksiak, along with the first big contribution from Hudler. The Czech veteran missed most of the season’s first two months with an illness after signing with the Stars as a free agent, and didn’t score a goal in his first 15 games with Dallas.
Nick Shore scored a short-handed goal for the Kings, while captain Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown both broke long goal-scoring droughts during the Los Angeles rally.
Doughty and Kopitar had a goal and an assist each for the Kings, who have lost two of three to open their seven-game homestand, giving up 13 goals in the process.
“It’s not very characteristic of us,” Kopitar said. “We’ve got to clean it up and try again. It’s a lost draw. It’s a missed coverage (or) a mishandle. Too many unforced errors on our part that led to goals.”
Los Angeles still got two particularly encouraging goals for one of the NHL’s lowest-scoring offenses. Brown scored on an excellent wrist shot during a power play in the third period to snap his 15-game drought since Nov. 30, and Kopitar followed him two minutes later with his first goal since Dec. 13, ending his 12-game skid.
“We’ve got to put together a string of wins here,” Kopitar said. “We’ve got to make sure we take care of business at home. We weren’t nearly as consistent as we need to be.”
NOTES: Dallas captain Jamie Benn missed his third straight game with a foot injury. ... Kopitar played his 800th NHL game, all with the Kings. He is just the sixth player to reach the mark in the Second Six franchise’s 50 years of existence. ... Brett Ritchie’s goal was his eighth of the season. He is narrowly being outscored by his younger brother, Nick Ritchie, who has nine goals heading into their meeting Tuesday in Anaheim.
Stars: At the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday.
Kings: Host the St. Louis Blues on Thursday.