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Dallas Stars vs. Los Angeles Kings - 12/31/13

Los Angeles Kings (25-10-4) at Dallas Stars (19-12-7)

NHL Hockey: Tuesday, December 31, 2013 at 8:00 pm (American Airlines Center)

The Line: Dallas Stars +100 / Los Angeles Kings -110 --- Over/Under: 5 See the Latest Odds


The Dallas Stars are fresh off of a tough home loss to the St. Louis Blues, but the sledding doesn’t get much easier when the Los Angeles Kings visit American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. 

The Stars look to bounce back from a 3-2 overtime loss to the Central Division rival Blues on Sunday night. In that game, Dallas climbed out of a 2-0 hole to force an extra frame against one of the leagues best teams. However, in the final seconds of overtime rookie defenseman Kevin Connauton drew a penalty that led to the eventual game winner by the Blues power play unit. The Stars played an impressive game against the Blues, especially considering the gaping holes in the defensive lines due to injury. Currently, Dallas is missing Sergei Gonchar, Trevor Daley and Stephane Robidas from the defensive end of the rink, but there is a possibility that Gonchar could return for this game with the Kings.

Dallas Stars vs. Los Angeles Kings - 12/31/13

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

Los Angeles will be playing on the tail end of a back-to-back, the first leg of which saw the Kings fall 1-0 to the Chicago Blackhawks. In a tightly fought game, the Kings failed to score on 26 shots at Hawks goalie Antti Raanta, including a penalty shot. Prior to the last week, the Kings had won nine of ten games thanks to the superb play of rookie goaltender Martin Jones, but the Kings have suddenly dropped three straight contests, one of which was a home game to Dallas. The loss to Dallas precluded Jones from tying Jonathan Quick’s franchise record for consecutive wins among other records, so the Kings players may be looking to get one back on behalf of Martin Jones.

As mentioned, the Kings are playing on a back-to-back, but Los Angeles is 4-1 in the last five games playing on zero days rest. Further, the Kings happen to be playing the third game in four days, but the team is 6-0 in the last six games falling as the third game of a 3-in-4 situation. Los Angeles is also 8-3 in its last 11 road contests. When these two teams meet, Los Angeles is 9-3 in the last 12 meetings in Big D. The Stars have played well against the stacked Pacific Division, going 7-2 in the last nine. All the trends point toward Los Angeles, and the Kings have been the beneficiary of outstanding goaltending, but I think the Stars know that regardless of the opponent every game is a must win to stay in the Western Conference playoff race. There are better games on the NHL card for New Years Eve, but if I had to make a play here I would hold my nose and side with Dallas.

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