The Dallas Stars picked up a point Thursday night, and they’ll put it in the category of a point stolen by their goaltender.
Kari Lehtonen stopped 38 shots as the Stars squandered a 2-0 lead and fell 3-2 in overtime to the Chicago Blackhawks at American Airlines Center.
“If Kari isn’t there, there is no game tonight,” said Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas. “There’s no chance we get a point, we just got lucky that we hung in there for that long.”
“We really didn¹t deserve to be in the game, probably from the puck drop, other than short spurts,” said Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski. “We basically got a point because of [Lehtonen} tonight.”
This was Lehtonen’s third start of the season and each time he’s seen 40 or more shots. Thursday night it was 41, and he faced two quality chances within the first 30 seconds of the game.
Stars coach Glen Gulutzan pinned the high shot total on two factors.
“If you lose one-on-one battles all night then you are going to be on the wrong end of things,” Gulutzan said. “And if you turn the puck over all night you are going to be on the wrong end of things. That’s what we did.”
Penalties were a problem as well. The Stars were shorthanded seven times in the game, and Chicago scored all three of its goals on the power play.
“Those are a byproduct of lost battles and turnovers,” Gulutzan said of the penalty problems.
Things looked good for the Stars early, at least on the scoreboard. Despite being outshot 12-6 in the first period, the Stars had a 1-0 lead. Loui Eriksson scored on a shorthanded breakaway with 1.4 seconds left in the period to put the Stars ahead.
Dallas extended the lead to 2-0 at 10:41 of the second when Cody Eakin set up Ray Whitney, who beat Chicago goalie Corey Crawford from close range.
But the Blackhawks started to chip away with their power play. Patrick Sharp scored with 4:03 left in the second when his cross-ice pass hit the stick of Stars defenseman Trevor Daley and bounced past Lehtonen.
Jonathan Toews tied the game with 4:53 remaining in regulation when he scored off a blast from the left circle.
In overtime, Patrick Kane set up Marian Hossa, who scored off a shot from the right circle at the 1:41 mark to give Chicago the win.
“It was a bad penalty at the end and they have some good players that can capitalize,” said Gulutzan. “And they did.”
Chicago improved to 4-0-0 on the season, while the Stars dropped to 2-1-1.
Notes: Jagr leaves game with undisclosed injury
*Stars forward Jaromir Jagr left the game late in the third period and did not return. Stars coach Glen Gulutzan did not have much of an update after the game.
“I don’t think it is anything big, but I haven’t spoken to our training staff,” Gulutzan said.
*Stars defenseman Aaron Rome (groin) missed his fourth game of the season. He could return Saturday.