Tyler Toffoli scored again, a night after ending a long goal drought, and the Los Angeles Kings capped an impressive road back-to-back with a 5-2 victory against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night.
Anze Kopitar had a goal and an assist for the Kings, who scored 23 seconds in and had a 4-1 lead early in the second period a night after dominating another top Western Conference team in a 5-0 win at Chicago. Los Angeles improved to 9-1-1 on the second night of back-to-backs.
The Kings won for the fourth time in five games and are up to 89 points, two behind Dallas and St. Louis atop the West and four points clear of Anaheim in the Pacific Division.
Los Angeles has 13 games remaining to 11 for the Stars and Blues. Chicago has 88 points with 12 games to play.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Toffoli’s team-leading 26th goal came when he took the puck from Kris Russell after the Dallas defenseman slipped and fell just inside his blue line. Toffoli, who snapped a 10-game goal drought against the Blackhawks, passed backward to Nick Shore and got the puck back for an easy shot past Kari Lehtonen’s glove and a 2-0 lead.
Lehtonen was pulled after Dustin Brown’s shot trickled through his pads to give Los Angeles a 4-1 lead just 1:02 into the second period. Lehtonen gave up four goals on 11 shots.
Jhonas Enroth, making his 12th start in place of No. 1 goalie Jonathan Quick, stopped 24 shots for his sixth win.
Most of the LA goals came on shoddy defensive plays from the Stars. Vincent Lecavalier, playing in his 1,200th career game, stole a blind pass from Alex Goligoski and fed Trevor Lewis, who beat Antti Niemi for a 5-2 lead.
Goligoski scored Dallas’ first goal when his shot ricocheted off the skate of LA’s Dwight King and past Enroth to cut the deficit to 2-1, but he was on the ice for all five LA goals. He finished minus-4 with had three giveaways.
Kris Versteeg also scored for the second straight night for the Kings, getting the quick early goal when he redirected a slapshot from Rob Scuderi past a screened Lehtonen. Versteeg’s goal came after a turnover by Russell deep in his end.
Kopitar beat Lehtonen on the glove side by dragging the puck through the crease and sending the goalie sprawling when Russell couldn’t slow him down. Kopitar assisted on Versteeg’s goal.
Each team scored on its first shot of the game. … Top Dallas scorers Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin were held without a point for the 16th time, and the Stars fell to 3-8-5 in those games. … Lindy Ruff of the Stars coached his 1,400th career game. One of only four in the NHL to coach at least 1,300 games and play at least 600, Ruff is now 693-515 with 78 ties and 114 losses in extra time. … Lecavalier now has 946 points (419 goals, 527 assists) in 17 seasons.
First Period—1, LA, Versteeg 13 (Scuderi, Kopitar), :23. 2, LA, Toffoli 26 (N.Shore), 5:25. 3, Dal, Goligoski 5, 8:47. 4, LA, Kopitar 22 (Lucic, Scuderi), 17:40. Penalties—Martinez, LA (hooking), 9:05.
Second Period—5, LA, Brown 10 (Clifford, Carter), 1:07. 6, Dal, Eakin 14, 6:42 (pp). 7, LA, Lewis 7 (Lecavalier), 14:48. Penalties—McNabb, LA (hooking), 5:10; Johns, Dal (illegal check to head minor), 9:50.
Third Period—None. Penalties—Lucic, LA (roughing), 1:07.
Shots on Goal—LA 10-7-5—22. Dal 5-13-8—26. Power-plays —LA 0 of 1; Dal 1 of 3. Goalies—LA, Enroth 6-5-1 (26 shots-24 saves). Dal, Lehtonen 19-9-2 (11-7), Niemi (1:07 second, 11-10). A—18,532 (18,532). T—2:27.