LOS ANGELES — Milan Lucic scored the tiebreaking goal early in the third period and Anze Kopitar added two assists to his recent scoring tear during the Los Angeles Kings‘ 3-2 victory over the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night.
Vincent Lecavalier scored a power-play goal for the third straight game, and Drew Doughty also scored in Los Angeles’ ninth win in 12 games since Christmas. Jonathan Quick made 27 saves for the Kings, who opened a 12-point lead atop the Pacific Division despite playing in their third game in four days.
Ales Hemsky and Cody Eakin scored first-period goals for the Stars, who have lost a season-worst four straight and seven of eight. Kari Lehtonen stopped 26 shots in the playoff contenders’ first meeting of the season.
Dallas had won four of its last five meetings with the Kings, but Lucic got his 12th goal of the season with 13:43 to play after a masterful sequence of puck possession — a specialty of the Kings.
Quick stopped a second-period breakaway by John Klingberg, and the All-Star goalie made several canny saves in the final minutes of his 26th victory.
Kopitar got the primary assist on two goals, giving him a five-game point streak and 20 points in 12 games since Christmas. The Slovenian centre also signed an $80 million contract extension during a profitable stretch for the Kings’ leading scorer in each of the previous eight seasons.
Los Angeles has thrived in a rough stretch of its season, earning points in all but two games since the holiday break.
Hemsky scored in the opening minutes, but Lecavalier evened it with his third goal in six games since joining the Kings.
The veteran forward plans to retire after the season, but he has been rejuvenated since getting traded to Los Angeles by the Philadelphia Flyers, who made him a healthy scratch for most of this season. His three-game goal streak is his longest since Jan. 27 to Feb. 1, 2013.
Doughty got his eighth goal on a slap shot late in the period, and Eakin tied it 33 seconds later.
NOTES: Dallas D Jordie Benn sat out with a lower-body injury, and C Colton Sceviour was scratched for the second time in three games. … Kings D Jake Muzzin extended his point streak to eight games, the longest for a Los Angeles defenceman since Lubomir Visnovsky scored in nine straight in December 2005. … The Kings scratched forward Jordan Nolan for just the third time this season.