At least by the numbers, tonight’s game is shaping up to be a low-scoring affair. The Kings came out with a 1-0 victory over the Stars on Saturday. The Stars have allowed two or fewer goals in eight of their first nine games, while the Kings have allowed two or fewer goals in six of their first eight. Jonathan Quick and Kari Lehtonen are ranked first and third, respectively, in goals-against average and save percentage among goalies who have started at least five games. It’s early, but so far the Stars have transformed themselves from a team that averaged 2.84 goals against last season to a 1.89 goals-against average this season, a trend, Terry Murray said, that extends far beyond Dallas.
MURRAY: “We’re seeing it around the league right now. Every team is pulling back and is very structured on the checking part of the game. My goodness. I don’t know what that evolves out of, quite honestly. You literally have four across at the blue line. You see Tampa last year, their defenseman is right back, about five feet in front of their crease. It’s becoming a style of play that we’re seeing, literally, by everybody in the league right now. So that makes it more difficult to score, there’s no question.
“Anything on the rush is almost literally impossible. Your puck recovery now, and puck placement on the forecheck, is critical. You’ve got to have some speed coming to those pucks, because most teams now have that defenseman back and in position to recover the puck before you get there. So it’s very much a timing issue. When you do get puck recovery, you’ve got to take the best advantage of it that you can, through cycling and getting something happening to the net.’’