The Dallas Stars head to California for a meeting with the LA Kings at the Staples Center after dispatching the Detroit Red Wings by a score of 4-2. Dallas will remain in California for a couple more games, with stops in Anaheim and San Jose following tonight. Before heading back home to Texas, the Stars will land in Denver to wrap up their four-game road trip against the Colorado Avalanche.
The Stars enter Wednesday night on a four-game winning streak, including a win over the Nashville Predators at the Cotton Bowl in the NHL Winter Classic on New Year’s Day. They were losers in three of four games prior to this most recent run, so they’ve bounced back nicely. Ben Bishop wasn’t playing with much confidence then, though he’s been able to look like himself of late.
The Stars have already seen a lot happen this season. They started off the year extremely slow, having found no traction at the start of the season with losses in eight of their last nine games. Fans were calling for the firing of Jim Montgomery at that point. Be careful what you wish for, because as soon as the Stars got hot, Montgomery was canned because of reported alcohol abuse. Rick Bowness has since taken over as the head coach of the Stars and has gotten pretty good results.
Dallas won 11 of 12 games shortly after the sluggish start in Dallas. It’s only early January, but the Stars have experienced just about everything thus far, even winning an outdoor game. After all of this, the Stars are a 24-14-4 team with 52 points heading into Wednesday. They’re 2 points behind the Avalanche and 9 points behind the Blues for 1st in the Central Division. The Stars with a hot Bishop are still a very live threat to go deep in the playoffs. Bishop on fire is going to be the key, though.
Their opponent tonight, the LA Kings, are coming off a 4-2 loss against the streaking Blue Jackets on Monday night. It’s their third loss in the last four games, and sixth loss in eight outings. That’s par for the Kings, as they enter Wednesday with a record of 17-23-4 and 38 points for dead last in the Western Conference. We’ll see if they can catch the Stars taking a nap at the Staples Center on Wednesday evening. Head below for our free Stars vs. Kings pick.
Dallas Stars vs. L.A. Kings Betting Odds:
Stars vs. Kings Prediction:
The Stars haven’t just been relying on Bishop of late. While he’s been sharp in the crease after a spotty stretch, the playmakers have come to play for the Stars. Dallas has scored 4 goals in each of their previous three games, and haven’t scored fewer than 3 goals since December 22nd against the Flames.
When Bishop is playing well, along with production from the offence, then the Stars are a tough out for any team. Anton Kdudobin looked sharp against the Red Wings in a 4-1 win in their most recent outing. Between Bishop and Kdudobin, the Stars have allowed 2 or fewer goals in four straight games. That’s more typical of what you expect to find from the Stars.
Dallas are 1st in the NHL with 2.43 goals against per game. They hold an edge on the Bruins in that regard by a hair. In their previous four games, the Stars have yielded only 1.75 goals per game. The defence got walloped for 12 goals in two outings against the Panthers and Flames, though Bowness was able to pull the team in and get them back on track.
They should be able to stay on course against a Kings team who hasn’t easily scored goals this season. The Kings are 29th in the NHL with 2.54 goals scored per game. They’ve garnered slightly better results recently, having notched 2.6 goals per game in their last ten games, so not much of an improvement.
Playing at the Staples Center has helped the Kings’ offence, but their defensive effort seemingly takes a dive. While allowing an average of 3.16 goals a game isn’t ideal to begin with, things take a turn south at home. Overall on the year, the Kings have allowed that much, but at home they’ve gotten torched for 3.52 goals against per game.
Note that the Stars have scored 4 goals in three of their previous four games versus the Kings. They’re also winners in four of their last five meetings, and 5-0 in their last five trips to the Staples Center. Corey Perry will be unavailable because of a suspension for his elbow during the Winter Classic against the Predators, though they shouldn’t be bothered in LA without him. If the Stars come prepared and focused to play, they likely get out of the Staples Center with 2 points on Wednesday.