(SportsNetwork.com) – The Dallas Stars may not be reaching expectations this
season, but the offseason addition of Jason Spezza hasn’t been to blame.
Spezza will hit the ice for the Stars just one day after inking a four-year
extension with the club as the Los Angeles Kings come to American Airlines
The Stars acquired Spezza from the Ottawa Senators on July 1 for three players
and a 2015 second-round draft pick. The 31-year-old left the Sens ranking
second on the club’s all-time list in goals (251), assists (436) and points
(687) over 686 games.
The center hasn’t slowed down with the Stars, recording four goals and 14
assists in 20 games, and Dallas prevented him from reaching free agency this
summer by handing Spezza a reported $30 million over the four years on Friday.
“Jason is a world-class player and his commitment to the organization is a
reflection of what we are building in Dallas,” said general manager Jim Nill.
“The professionalism and production he brings to our group is key for our
success moving forward and we value the leadership he brings to our team.”
Spezza had a late goal in Thursday’s 3-1 victory over Arizona, one that
snapped Dallas’ seven-game home losing streak (0-5-2). The Stars’ last victory
at home had come on Oct. 21 versus Vancouver.
Defenseman John Klingberg and forward Cody Eakin got the rally started.
Klingberg, a 22-year-old defenseman, scored his first career goal 19 seconds
into the third period and Eakin followed 33 seconds later to give Dallas a 2-1
Kari Lehtonen turned aside 25 shots in a much-needed result for the slumping
Stars, who had dropped three straight and won for only the third time in their
last 13 outings.
“All I could try to do is stay sane and keep moving forward,” said Lehtonen.
“It was nice we are able to get one of these come-from-behind wins. We have to
be happy about this and keep going.”
Dallas will play the third contest of a five-game homestand tonight, while the
Kings are set to play three straight and nine of their next 12 on the road.
Los Angeles finished off a four-game homestand with a third straight victory,
following up a 2-0 loss to Dallas on Nov. 13 with wins over Anaheim, Florida
Tanner Pearson scored the go-ahead goal early in the second period in
Thursday’s 3-2 win over the Hurricanes.
“It feels good,” said Pearson, who scored his first goal in 11 games.
“Whenever you are kind of in a drought, and I obviously haven’t been playing
my best hockey lately, this game definitely helped a lot.”
Jarret Stoll scored a power-play goal, making the Kings 6-for-12 on the man
advantage over the past three games, Trevor Lewis scored and Jonathan Quick
ended with 25 saves.
Quick is 5-0-2 with a 1.94 goals against average and .935 save percentage in
his last seven appearances.
The Kings moved to 10-2-1 at home this season, but are just 1-3-3 on the road.
However, that lone victory as the guest came in Dallas on Nov. 4, a 3-1
Los Angeles and Dallas are meeting for the third and final time this regular
season as Lehtonen made 27 saves and Spezza scored to hand the Kings a loss in
the opener of the recently-completed homestand.
Lehtonen is 11-8-1 with a 2.45 GAA and .916 save percentage in his career
versus the Kings.
Though the Stars have won nine of their last 14 versus the Kings overall, L.A.
has picked up a victory in 12 of its last 17 trips to Dallas.
Quick is 16-6-2 with a 2.32 GAA and .918 save percentage lifetime versus the