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Kings Get Clinks, Not Clicks

Three of their shots hit the crossbars in a frustrating 3-1 loss to the Stars, who had been winless in their last seven games.

November 22, 2003|Mike Bresnahan | Times Staff Writer

DALLAS — Jere Lehtinen, Mike Modano and Marty Turco were voted the three stars of the game.

Apparently, crossbars don't merit consideration.

The Kings lost to the Dallas Stars, 3-1, hitting the pipes behind Turco three times and failing to capitalize on an otherwise acceptable evening in which they outshot the Stars in their own building, 26-17.

But Joe Corvo, Eric Belanger and Trent Klatt were half an inch off on three separate occasions, allowing Star fans among the crowd of 18,225 to go home happy Friday from American Airlines Center.

Brenden Morrow scored two goals, including an empty-netter with 10.2 seconds left, and a couple of streaks were halted: The Kings had been on a 5-1-1-1 roll while the Stars were mired in their first seven-game winless streak since January 1996.

The latter had irked the locals, spreading a thick coating of blame around the town like Texas-style barbecue sauce.

Modano and Sergei Zubov were each minus-14 going into Friday, and Turco had been allowing softies such as Wednesday's gaffe against the Mighty Ducks -- a third-period dump-in from center ice that trickled through his pads -- but there were no meltdowns against the Kings.

Modano set up the game's first goal and looked more like his spry self. Turco had 25 saves and the Stars' defense was reasonably robust.

Unfortunately for the Kings, so was the crossbar.

Corvo drew iron six minutes into the second period and Belanger and Klatt followed suit in the first eight minutes of the third period.

"If those hit the post and go in, it's a different game," Klatt said.

Belanger was especially frustrated with his attempt, a snap shot as he cruised through the slot that ricocheted off the right side of the crossbar a minute into the third period.

"I've been struggling points-wise lately," Belanger said. "I hit a crossbar, Klatter got a crossbar, there's nothing we can do. Hopefully the pucks that hit the crossbar tonight go in" today against the Colorado Avalanche.

Dallas avoided the posts, settling for the back of the net.

Modano fed Lehtinen 1:09 into the game for a quick lead, and Morrow's wraparound deflected off Tim Gleason's stick, slipping through a tiny space between the post and Roman Cechmanek's leg for a 2-0 lead in the second period.

The Kings scored their lone goal on a 5-on-3 advantage, Alexander Frolov knocking in a rebound at 17:14 of the second period.

But the Kings came no closer, despite outshooting the Stars in the third period, 12-4.

"They had four shots in the second period, four in the third," King Coach Andy Murray said. "They got the first goal because one of our players didn't pick up his guy. They got a fortunate second goal. I'll take this kind of effort."

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