Visnovsky scores first hat trick of his career

DALLAS (AP) -- The NHL's new rules allow defensemen to be more
involved on the offensive end, and Lubomir Visnovsky is taking full

Visnovsky scored three goals for his first career hat trick, and
rookie Jason LaBarbera made 29 saves to lead the Los Angeles Kings
past the Dallas Stars 6-3 Wednesday night.

Sean Avery, Jeff Cowan and Pavol Demitra also scored for the
Kings, 6-2 in their last eight games. Visnovsky leads NHL
defensemen with 18 points on six goals and 12 assists.

"It's more of an open game," he said. "It's better for
offensive (defensemen). I'm getting more chances."

Visnovsky had six shots on goal, and while he contended that he
was "lucky" to score three times, his teammates said there's also
a lot of skill involved.

"He's in the zone where he's really feeling it," Kings center
Craig Conroy said. "He shoots it and it goes in the net. He could
probably close his eyes and score. It's pretty to watch."

LaBarbera improved his record to 7-1-0, beating Dallas for the
second time this season.

The Pacific Division rivals met for the third time this season,
all in Dallas. The Kings have won the last two, outscoring the
Stars 13-5.

"Sometimes teams have your number and they're winning a lot of
games against you," Stars defenseman Philippe Boucher said.
"They're clearly outplaying us right now. We see them five more
times this year. It's something that needs to be addressed."

Jussi Jokinen, Mike Modano and Martin Skoula scored for Dallas,
3-4-1 at home.

Stars coach Dave Tippett went with backup goalie Johan Hedberg
over Marty Turco, who has been struggling with a 3.64 goals-against
average and .872 save percentage. Turco allowed eight goals on 27
shots in two games against the Kings this season for a 7.05 GAA.

Hedberg also had problems with the speedy Kings, stopping only
20 of 26 shots.

"Obviously, I've got to play better than this," Hedberg said.
"They are an opportunistic team and tonight they took advantage of
their opportunities. Whenever we made mistakes, they were there to
take care of it."

Jokinen got Dallas off to a fast start, scoring his fifth goal
on a breakaway at 3:51 of the first period.

The Kings drew even when Avery scored from the slot, beating an
out-of-position Hedberg at 6:21. Hedberg and Boucher had a
communication problem on the play, and Hedberg was just getting
back into the net when Avery scored.

"We thought we played a pretty decent first period and that
goal was deflating," Tippett said. "There's no way to sugarcoat
it. It's deflating for the team. It's a goal that you're giving up
that the other team hasn't earned. Those are tough ones to give

Cowan's deflection at 16:33 put the Kings in front for good,

Los Angeles capitalized on a two-man advantage at 8:17 of the
second period when Visnovsky stretched the lead to 3-1.

The Kings made it 4-1 at 9:52 of the second on Visnovsky's
second goal, but Modano got Dallas within two at 19:28.

Visnovsky completed his hat trick at 5:50 of the third period on
a power play, and Demitra added his eighth at 7:14 to extend the
Kings' advantage to 6-2.

Skoula's power-play goal at 15:17 pulled Dallas to 6-3.

Game notes
The Stars were playing their 500th home game (including
playoffs) since moving to Dallas in 1993. ... Stars RW Bill Guerin
was out due to back spasms. ... The Kings were without LW Luc
Robitaille (leg fracture). ... Dallas had three power plays in the
first seven minutes, including almost two minutes of a 5-on-3, but
couldn't get a shot on goal.