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Stars complete eight-game season sweep of Kings with 4-2 victory

Antti Miettinen and Krys Barch scored the tying and go-ahead goals 79 seconds apart early in the third period and the Stars completed an eight-game season sweep of their Pacific Division rivals with a 4-2 victory Wednesday night.

Mike Ribeiro scored a power-play goal and Jeff Halpern had an empty-net goal for the Stars, who outscored Los Angeles 30-14 this season while beating four different goaltenders. Dallas' Mike Smith made 20 saves and finished 3-0 against the Kings. The other five wins went to Marty Turco.

"They're a team that's hard to play against, and you can't take those guys lightly because they work hard," Ribeiro said. "Games like this are hard to play mentally, and the points are hard to get. But we got 16 out of them.

"You cannot lose to the teams below you, and our guys understand that," Ribeiro added. "We know we can beat those guys because we have more talent. And if we play the way we're supposed to and match their work ethic, we have a better chance to win."

This was the second time in the Kings' 40-year history a team swept them in a season series of eight or more games. They're the only NHL team to have that happen to them twice: They lost all eight meetings with St. Louis in 1969-70, while getting outscored 31-9.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, a season sweep of eight or more games has occurred only nine times in NHL history - and four times since the league instituted overtime in 1999 to decide tie games. It's happened three times this season, with Pittsburgh going 8-0 against Philadelphia and Nashville going 8-0 against Columbus.

"It's frustrating and disappointing not to beat them, but the story of the game was the number of power plays they were given," Kings coach Marc Crawford said.

Jamie Lundmark and Dustin Brown scored for Los Angeles. The Kings, coming off victories over Columbus and Anaheim, haven't won three straight since March 7, 2006, when they beat Minnesota for their fifth in a row.

Mattias Norstrom, traded by the Kings on Feb. 27, faced his former teammates for the first time and assisted on Barch's game-winner. The 14-year veteran, whose 780 games with Los Angeles are the most by a defenceman in club history, sat out the Stars' overtime win over the Kings on March 11 at Dallas because of a knee injury.

"You want to beat your friends and kind of have bragging rights, and that's how I felt about tonight's game. It was a game I really wanted to win," Norstrom said.

"I really appreciated the time I had here with the Kings. I have absolutely nothing to complain about. This organization helped me get to the point where I am today. They believed in me from the first day I came here in '96, and I owe them a lot."

During a play stoppage midway through the first period, the scoreboard crew showed a video montage of Norstrom's 11 seasons with the Kings and flashed the words "Thank you Matty."

Kings centre Michael Cammalleri backed away from the faceoff circle so the former Kings captain could soak in the applause and appreciation from the crowd of 17,838, while the theme song from "Welcome Back Kotter" was played on the public address system.

"Cammy is a good friend of mine. We've been playing together for a few years now and he's a class act, so I wasn't surprised about him doing that," Norstrom said. "It was nice to see that they appreciated what I'd done. It was a special moment for me to see that little (highlight) clip, even though I didn't look up too much. Maybe I'll ask them to send me a tape."

Brown put the Kings ahead 2-1 just 11 seconds into the third period, swerving around Norstrom along the left boards and tucking the puck between Smith's pads for his 14th goal and sixth against Dallas.

But Miettinen tied it less than three minutes later on a deflection of Philippe Boucher's one-timer from the right point. Barch put Dallas ahead to stay on a 25-foot wrist shot that beat Sean Burke to the short side.

Aaron Miller received a four-minute penalty at 6:31 of the second period for cutting Miettinen with a high stick. Kings rookie Noah Clarke cleared the puck over the glass moments later, giving Dallas a two-man advantage for 24 seconds, and Ribeiro scored the tying goal just four seconds after Miller returned from the penalty box.

Notes: The Stars were one tie away from sweeping an eight-game season series against Toronto in 1985-86, and one tie from getting swept in an eight-game season set by Detroit in 1986-87. ... Los Angeles was 6-2 against Dallas last season. ... Kings rookie C Anze Kopitar returned to the lineup after missing 10 games with a back injury. ... Dallas has not been blanked in the third period over its last eight games.


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