Kari Lehtonen stopped 39 of 40 shots and Michael Ryder scored two goals as the Dallas Stars defeated the Detroit Red Wings, 2-1, at Joe Louis Arena Tuesday night. Center Cody Eakin, bumped up to the second line, chipped in two assists for the Stars, who improved to 2-1-0 on the season. The Red Wings, who were playing their home opener, fell to 1-2-0.
Line juggling pays off
Stars coach Glen Gulutzan juggled his lines to open the game, moving Cody Eakin up the lineup to center the second line with Ray Whitney and Michael Ryder. It paid dividends early as Eakin and Ryder won a puck battle along the boards and Ryder scored the game’s first goal, beating Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard with a wrist shot from the slot 5:41 into the game. It paid off again in the third as Ryder scored again with Whitney and Eakin picking up assists. Whitney sent a cross-ice pass to Ryder, who scored off a one-timer at the 5:41 mark to give the Stars a 2-0 lead.
Of Kari Lehtonen’s 39 saves in the game, 19 came in the third period as the Stars protected a 1-0 and then a 2-0 lead. He stopped a sharp angle shot by Henrik Zetterberg and then made a great save on Damien Brunner’s close range rebound bid early in the third as the Stars held a 1-0 lead. He had great stops in the third on Zetterberg again, Niklas Kronwall on the power play and Pavel Datsyuk. He made several more saves in the final minute before Brunner scored from close range with 3.4 seconds left to spoil Lehtonen’s shutout bid.
Stars dominate second period, but Howard stands tall
There was no scoring in the second period but there were a lot of chances, especially for the Stars. Howard was outstanding for the Wings, stopping all 17 shots he faced. He had big saves on Loui Eriksson, Jaromir Jagr, Derek Roy, Tom Wandell and Trevor Daley. Detroit’s Valtteri Filppula came close to tying the game for the Red Wings, but his shorthanded bid hit the post.
Special teams watch
There was no special teams scoring in the game, but the Stars penalty kill came up big, killing off all four Detroit power plays and limiting the Red Wings to just four shots on the power play. The Stars are 10-12 (83.3%) on the penalty kill through the first three games.
The Red Wings are 0-15 on the power play through their first three games of the season.
The Stars were 0-2 on the power play in the game, but created several chances and ended up with six power play shots. The Stars are 2-10 (20.0%) on the power play through the first three games.
The Stars return home for a two-game homestand, taking on Chicago Thursday and St. Louis Saturday.
Injured: Rome (groin)