In the second game on a two-game road trip, the Los Angeles Kings defeated the Dallas Stars with a 5-2 victory in a back-to-back situation. The Kings defeated the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks at the United Centers by a score of 5-0 the night before.
The Kings are league-high 9-1-1 record in the second games of these back-to-back sets having outscored opponents 36-20. The only two losses the Kings have in these types of games are an overtime loss against the Buffalo Sabres on Feb. 12 and a regulation loss to the Anaheim Ducks in late February. In the nine victories, the Kings have been able to rely on balanced scoring and team defense in order to earn two points.
Multiple Goal-Scorers for Balanced Scoring
In the second games of back-to-back sets in 2015-16 so far, there have been 14 players that have scored goals and eight of those 14 getting on the scoreboard multiple times.
On Tuesday night against Dallas, the Kings had five different goal-scorers including trade deadline acquisition Kris Versteeg who scored his second goal on the road trip and thirteenth of the season. Vincent Lecavalier also has two goals in these back-to-back situations since being acquired on Jan. 6.
The Kings’ leading goal-scorer Tyler Toffoli scored goal No. 26 on the season last night against Dallas and has scored six times in these eleven games. Kings’ leading point-scorer Anze Kopitar also has had six goals and scored in last night’s win against the Stars. The guys who are counted on to score have lead the team, but six of the other twelve have scored multiple goals. Tanner Pearson, Trevor Lewis and Marian Gaborik all have three goals and Dustin Brown and defenseman Alec Martinez have both contributed with two goals each coming off back-to-back situations.
The Kings have a plus-16 goal differential in the second games of back-to-backs and have been able to do so with the work of goaltenders Jhonas Enroth, Jonathan Quick and recently extended Peter Budaj during a mid-season recall.
Strong Team Goaltending
Quick has played in six of the eleven games on the back-end of two-night sets allowing 10 goals against in those games posting a 1.67 goals against average and an average 0.947 save percentage. Enroth has played in four of these games posting a 0.949 save percentage and a 1.50 GAA. Peter Budaj appeared in one game for the Kings after being recalled on Feb. 11. Budaj played the next night relieving Enroth and stopped 24 of 28 shots getting the win in overtime in a 5-4 victory in his sole NHL appearance this season.
The Kings head back home to face the New York Rangers at the Staples Center on Thursday Mar. 17. The last time the two teams played was on the second night of a back-to-back set on Feb. 12 in which Kopitar scored three goals and Pearson scored the game-winner in overtime. The Kings currently sit first in the Pacific Division and are ahead of the second-place Anaheim Ducks by four points.
Cole R. Querry resides in Southern California. Having played hockey through college and a background in science and math, he promises to bring an objective analysis to the team and sport he loves.