LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kari Lehtonen didn’t give an inch against the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, making saves that were routine, difficult — and a couple of highlight-reel gems that left Jarret Stoll and Dwight Kings shaking their heads in frustration.
Lehtonen posted his first shutout of the season with 27 saves, and the Dallas Stars got goals from Ryan Garbutt and Jason Spezza in a 2-0 victory over Los Angeles on Thursday night.
“It was a tight game, and it was nice to see that we played really solid after the second period,” Lehtonen said. “We’re still learning how to play with a lead, and tonight we played the way you really need to play when you’re up a couple of goals.”
The Stars won for only the third time in six attempts when leading after two periods.
“It’s important to play a good defensive game like that, especially on the road against a team like that,” Dallas defenseman Alex Goligoski said. “We just made it hard on them and limited their opportunities.”
The highlight of Lehtonen’s 28th career shutout was an acrobatic glove save the 11-year veteran made while diving across the crease to rob Stoll at the edge of the crease at 13:16 of the second period.
“That was a special save, and it showed his athleticism,” Spezza said.
Kings goalie Martin Jones, making his third start of the season, had 25 saves against the team that dealt him his first loss in the NHL last year after he had won his first eight decisions while filling in for an injured Jonathan Quick.
The Kings, coming off a frustrating 6-5, shootout loss at Anaheim in which they twice blew two-goal leads, tightened things up considerably in their own end.
Garbutt opened the scoring at 13:13 of the first, following a frenetic end-to-end sequence that began with John Klingberg hitting the left post with a 50-foot slapshot while Los Angeles defenseman Brayden McNabb was serving a delay-of-game penalty.
The Kings stormed back the other way, and Lehtonen robbed King with a spectacular leg save on a backhander at the edge of the crease while flat on his stomach. Seconds later, Garbutt converted his own rebound after defenseman Drew Doughty skated past the loose puck.
“I saw that (King) was coming, and I thought he was more of a shooter type of guy,” Lehtonen said. “So I was out of my net a little more than usual. But he made a nice move, and I was surprised that my leg reached back that far and I was able to make the save.”
A Dallas goal was disallowed at 7:20 of the second period after a replay review determined that Curtis McKenzie’s 35-foot wrist shot was deflected by Jones into the mesh above the glass and bounced back onto the ice before play was allowed to continue.
“It was out of play, but the whistle wasn’t blown,” Spezza said. “There’s a little bit of gray area. We don’t know what’s reviewable and what’s not right now. So our opinion was that because play went on, it’s a live puck. They got it right, but we would have liked to see the goal, though.”
The Kings were 0 for 3 on the power play, extending their drought to 17 straight.
“We chased them from the first period on. On a back-to-back that’s tough, but it simply wasn’t good enough,” Justin Williams said. “There wasn’t enough fight, and our power play wasn’t great.”
NOTES: Center Cody Eakin returned to the Dallas lineup after missing three games because of an upper body injury. … Struggling right wing Ales Hemsky, who signed a three-year, $12 million contract with Dallas after spending last season with Ottawa, was a healthy scratch for the first time. The 12-year veteran has no goals in his first 15 games — his longest drought from the start of a season since his 2002-03 rookie campaign with Edmonton, when he came up empty in his first 25.
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