LOS ANGELES – Brendan Morrison knows the Stars’ playoff hopes are slim. That doesn’t mean he won’t try to change their fortune with only five games left.
Morrison scored two power-play goals, Marty Turco stopped 26 shots, and the Dallas snapped a seven-game losing streak by beating the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 on Tuesday night.
The Stars are 12th in the Western Conference, and are a long shot to make the playoffs. They are six points out of eighth place and the post-season cutoff.
“I think we pretty much have to win out if we want a chance. But who knows what can happen,” Morrison said. “We just want to play solid hockey right until the end.”
Jack Johnson and Anze Kopitar scored for the Kings, who are far out of the playoff picture.
Dallas’ skid was three games short of the franchise record. The Stars haven’t lost eight in a row since Nov. 11-29, 1978, when the franchise was in Minnesota.
Mike Ribeiro also scored for Dallas, which has qualified for the playoffs in five straight seasons.
“It’s nice to get a win,” Morrison said. “It’s been frustrating the last couple of weeks. It’s been a tough year.
“You don’t want to ever mail anything in. Respect your teammates and go out and work hard and see what happens. I think this group has been taxed for a while. We’ve had to deal with a lot of adversity this year with injury, etc. I’m not pointing the finger at exactly that’s why we haven’t had the outcomes we’ve wanted lately. We’ve played good enough in games to get wins, but at crucial times we have made errors that have cost us.”
They didn’t make many against the Kings.
Turco returned to the net after sitting out Monday’s overtime loss to Phoenix and held off the Kings, who have lost 14 of 20 and went 0-for-2 on the power play.
“I thought both goals were soft, but I thought our team played really well,” Stars coach Dave Tippett said. “He made a couple of key saves at key times – that penalty kill in the second period. We didn’t do it all, but we did enough to win. That was one of our better puck play games in a while and we defended better.”
Morrison helped Dallas regain the lead at 1:55 of the second period with his first goal. With Kyle Calder off for holding, Morrison scored on a one-timer to give the Stars the 2-1 lead.
He struck again at 14:41 when Matt Niskanen found him just above the left faceoff dot. Morrison’s shot went in off the post, and goalie Jonathan Quick barely moved before realizing that the puck was past him.
The Kings looked sluggish after returning home following a 2-3-1 road trip.
“When you come off a long road trip, it always seems that you have a tough time getting into it in the first game at home,” Kings forward Justin Williams said. “But at this level of the game, it’s unacceptable for us to have a performance like that. It’s ugly, it stinks, and it won’t happen again.”
Johnson scored with a wrist shot toward the end of the first, making it 1-1. Brad Richardson won a faceoff back to Johnson, who beat Turco to the upper right corner of the net with 2:02 left.
Ribeiro had given Dallas a 1-0 lead with his 21st goal of the season three minutes earlier.
Kopitar’s goal came at 18:29 of the third period, but it was too late.
“We didn’t do enough in the offensive zone at all,” Kings coach Terry Murray said. “We turned the puck over too often in the early part of the game, and we were not getting any kind of forecheck established whatsoever. The traffic in front of the net was minimal at best. We didn’t play the right way.”
The Kings, 26th in the league in scoring, were without Alexander Frolov (lower body), who missed his fourth straight game, and Jarret Stoll and Kyle Quincey who are out for the season.
Notes: The Kings honoured Sean O’Donnell before the game for playing in his 1,000th NHL game on March 14. … Evan Lysacek, this year’s World Figure Skating champion, was in attendance. … Ribeiro has a three-game point streak. … Los Angeles D Denis Gauthier returned to the lineup after missing five games (upper body). … Dallas’ franchise-worst losing streak was a 10-game skid in 1976.