Brett Hull scored his league-leading 10th game-winning goal midway through the second period Thursday night as the Dallas Stars put a serious crimp in the Los Angeles Kings' post-season plans with a 2-1 victory.
Benoit Hogue also scored for the Stars, who won all five games against the Kings this season by one-goal margins and are 11-0-6 against them since their previous loss on April 6, 1995.
Luc Robitaille scored for the Kings, who were the 27th consecutive Dallas opponent to be held to fewer than four goals. The streak is the longest since 1952-53, when Detroit went 30 consecutive games.
Roman Turek made 31 saves, improving his record as Ed Belfour's backup to 13-2-3. Three of those victories have come against the Kings, the other two by identical 3-2 scores. But he got two huge breaks when Rob Blake's shot hit the left post with 15:45 remaining and Sandy Moger hit the right post less than four minutes later.
Less than six minutes after Robitaille pulled the Kings even, Hull regained the lead for Dallas at 10:34 of the second. Defenseman Philippe Boucher coughed up the puck to Mike Modano inside the Kings' blue line and compounded the mistake by screening Fiset on Hull's 15-foot wrist shot into the top right corner of the net. Hull's goal was the 582nd of his career and 28th of the season, one more than he had in 66 games last season with St. Louis.
The desperate Kings, who have only 11 games left to erase an eight-point deficit to Calgary in the Western Conference standings and earn their second consecutive playoff berth, outshot Dallas 12-5 over the first 6@1/2 minutes before falling behind 1-0 on Hogue's 12th goal. They managed only one moe shot on net the rest of the period.
Hogue, who scored 32 goals in 160 games with Dallas from 1995 through 1998 and returned to the organization in last Sunday's trade from Tampa Bay, got the puck in the left circle from Joe Nieuwendyk and beat Stephane Fiset to the stick side with a 30-footer along the ice that just found room inside the left post.
The Kings got the equalizer five minutes after the first intermission with Robitaille's 33rd goal and fourth in five games this season against Dallas. He put a 20-foot wrist shot between Turek's pads from the inner edge of the right circle after Ray Ferraro stripped defenseman Sergei Zubov of the puck near the boards.
The Stars, playing their first season in the Pacific Division, are 15-2-2 against division opponents. Last season, when they won their first Presidents' Trophy with a club-record 109 points, they were 14-10-4 within the Central Division.
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