What we learned from the Kings' 3-0 victory over the Stars

Tuesday was the Kings' only trip to American Airlines Center this regular season, and they left no stone unturned and no puck in their net.

A supreme defense shut out the Dallas Stars 3-0 and it was more impressive because Dallas had eight minutes of power play time and did not lose the faceoff matchup by a wide margin.


The teams will march their separate ways, with the Kings in a much happier disposition as they head to Nashville.

Here's what we learned:

There is chemistry on the top line. Kings coach John Stevens broke up Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown just before the All-Star break for a better attack, and it looked good Tuesday with Tyler Toffoli and Alex Iafallo as Kopitar's wings.

It was evident on the first goal. Iafallo chips the puck free at the wall and goes to the net. Kopitar carries it into the zone and sets up Paul LaDue for a goal.

Toffoli broke free for a chance early but fanned on the puck. Brown registered 11 shots on goal playing with Adrian Kempe and Tanner Pearson, who also had a prime chance. That's the effect Stevens intended with Kopitar and Brown on separate lines.

"We need their influence on other guys and I think it balances out a little bit in terms of veteran leadership on different lines," Stevens said.

Paul LaDue gets pucks through. That's one of the better parts of his game and it showed with his snap shot through traffic that finally produced his first NHL goal, in his 24th game.

The Kings need more of that from the back end and LaDue is the type that can bring that aspect that is so important in today's game, where shooting lanes are clogged by the Brent Burns-types of the hockey world. LaDue is one of the more offensive-type defensemen in their system but he hasn't received much opportunity until Derek Forbort went down with injury. As long he takes care of the defensive end, he will gain the trust of the coaches, but his offense can make statements as well.

What a difference the first goal makes. Not since Jan. 4 did the Kings score first in a game. That's a span of nine games where they've had to chase the game from the early stages. That's a lot of energy spent trying to get a score back on the board.

First periods have killed the Kings lately. Going into Tuesday, they were outscored 47-32 in the first period collectively. But a good, boring road period set the tone against Dallas, which never really swung the game its way, not even after it killed a double-minor high-sticking penalty.

The Kings will need to re-produce that kind of start Thursday in one of the toughest buildings in the NHL with the Nashville Predators.

Follow Curtis Zupke on Twitter @curtiszupke