The Texas Stars are back on the road this weekend and they came up with a big win against one of the top teams in the league. The Stars ran their points streak to five games (4-0-1-0), defeating Western Conference leading Abbotsford 3-1 Friday night.
Reilly Smith and Cody Eakin each had a goal and an assist for the Stars, who are now 7-1-1-0 in their last nine games overall and 7-1-0-0 in their last eight on the road. Taylor Vause also scored for the Stars. Cristopher Nilstorp stopped 20 of 21 shots to win for the fifth time in his last six decisions.
The Stars, now 13-8-2-1 on the season, are currently fifth in the AHL’s Western Conference and third in the South Division.
The first period was tightly played with a combined nine shots on goal, five for the Stars and four for the Heat. Abbotsford had a pair of power plays, but were unable to take advantage and the two teams headed to the first intermission tied, 0-0.
The Stars got three power plays early in the second period, and cashed in on the third one to take a 1-0 lead. After Eakin won an offensive zone draw, Tomas Vincour put a shot on net from the left point and Smith scored during a scramble in front of Heat goaltender Danny Taylor at the 5:00 mark.
The Stars kept up the pressure and had a 14-1 shots advantage at one point in the period, but the Heat scored on their second shot of the period to tie the game. Heat defenseman T.J. Brodie drove the net and then sent the puck to Brady Lamb, who scored from the point at the 12:52 mark.
The Stars scored two goals in a 1:59 span late in the second to take a 3-1 lead. Vause scored his first goal of the season at the 16:21 mark, scoring off the rebound of an Antoine Roussel scoring attempt to make it a 2-1 game.
The Stars made it 3-1 when Alex Chiasson skated it into the right circle, put a backhand shot on net and Eakin tipped it past Taylor with 1:40 left in the second. The Stars ended up with a 17-5 shots advantage in the second.
The Heat went on a 28-second five-on-three power play with 4:03 left in the game, pulled Taylor for an extra attacker to make it a six-on-three advantage but couldn’t cash in. Taylor stayed out of the net after the power plays expired, but Nilstorp and the Stars held the fort to seal the 3-1 victory.
*Cristopher Nilstorp is 8-3-0 in his last 12 appearances with a 1.71 goals against average and a .934 save percentage.
*Nilstorp has allowed just five goals in the last four games, stopping 85 of 90 shots (.944 save percentage).
*Reilly Smith has scored six goals in his last eight games.
*Cody Eakin has five points (2 goals, 3 assists) over the last five games.
*The Stars were 5-5 on the penalty kill Friday night and are 14-14 on the PK over the last four games.
*The Stars were 1-7 on the power play.
*The Stars scored the first goal for only the fifth time in 24 games this season. They are 5-0-0-0 when they score the first goal.
Scratched: Sloan, Gazdic