The Dallas Stars are on a bit of a roll as they hit the quarter-mark of the shortened 2013 season. The Stars made it three straight wins with a 3-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks at American Airlines Center Friday night.
The Stars used a strong first period to build an early 2-0 lead, held off the Ducks in the second thanks to some stellar netminding from Kari Lehtonen and then put the clamps on defensively in the third, limiting the Ducks to just one shot on goal.
“I thought we played a pretty good team game tonight,” said Stars forward Jamie Benn. “We knew they were a good team and we were going to have some tough shifts, and we fought through it and got a big two points.”
The Stars came out flying in the game, outshooting the Ducks 8-1 over the first seven minutes of the game. But it was a couple penalties on Ducks forward Brad Staubitz that put the Stars on the power play, and allowed them to grab the early lead.
Staubitz picked up a roughing minor in the offensive zone at 8:11 of the first, and the Stars were on the scoreboard 37 seconds later when Trevor Daley scored off a blast from the point. It was Daley’s first goal and point of the season.
“Obviously, it felt good to get on the score sheet,” said Daley. “It was a power play one, which were looking for a power play to set up for this game. Thought tonight getting two was a big plus.”
The second power play goal came after Staubitz was given a major penalty and a game misconduct for spearing Stars defenseman Brenden Dillon. The Stars scored 25 seconds into that power play when Jamie Benn roofed a shot from the right circle to make it a 2-0 game at the 12:59 mark.
The Ducks didn’t like the call on Staubitz and were upset that Dallas defenseman Stephane Robidas wasn’t penalized for a spear on Corey Perry earlier in the period.
“It wasn’t a penalty,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said of Staubitz’s hit. “What do you want me to say? Good refs have bad games. Like good hockey players have bad games, good refs have bad games. Everybody saw it [Robidas spear Perry]. I mean they were squared off as if they were going to fight from the thing. All four refs were looking at it.”
Robidas said Perry didn’t want to drop his gloves and then embellished on the alleged spear.
“He asked me to go and I said, ‘Let’s go.’ He didn’t want to drop it,” said Robidas. “I gave him a shot and he went down like …. and they are all like, ‘Oh my gosh, that is unbelievable.’ I didn’t do anything. He’s the one that came after me.”
Perry and Robidas fought shortly after the incident. There was another major scrum at the end of the first period in which five roughing minors were handed out. But when the horn sounded, the Stars were up 2-0 and had a 16-7 shots advantage.
“We wanted to get on them early,” said Benn. “They’re obviously a good team and they’re on a bit of a hot streak so we wanted to go right after them and not give them any confidence. We used our home building to an advantage.”
The second period was a different story. The Ducks outshot the Stars 13-5, had them pinned down in their own end much of the period and finally scored late when Nick Bonino tipped a Luca Sbisa shot into the net.
It could have been worse, but Lehtonen came up with some big saves and had a great glove save on Daniel Winnik late in the second with the Ducks on a three-on-one rush.
“Huge save there,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “That save I thought was a turning point for us.”
Added Daley, “We took on a lot of water in that second. Kari, like every other night, came up big once again. That guy doesn’t get enough credit for how good he really is. It’s incredible. That’s why he’s back there, to stop the puck.”
The Stars limited the Ducks to just one shot in the third period, and Loui Eriksson scored with 7:14 remaining to put the Stars up 3-1.
The Stars, who are 4-1-0 over their last five games, improved to 6-5-1 on the season. The Ducks had a four-game winning streak snapped and fell to 7-2-1 on the season.
“You know how important points are and that has to become our mindset to get points in every game,” said Gulutzan. And to get two against a team that hasn’t lost on the road yet, I think that’s an important step for our guys and especially coming off the road. Sometimes when you come off a long road trip, you can be a little stale at home. But we had a good crowd tonight and our boys were ready from the start, so to get those points was a confidence booster.”
*The Stars improved to 3-1-1 at home this season.
*Dallas’ penalty kill unit was 3-3 in the game. The Stars have killed nine straight penalties at home.
*The Stars were 2-5 on the power play and are 3-8 over the last two games. They are 5-17 (29.4%) on the power play at home this season.
*Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller left the game after the first period with a lower body injury. Viktor Fasth played the final two periods.
*Stars center Jamie Benn has 6 points (4 goals, 2 assists) over the last three games.
*Stars center Derek Roy has points in four straight games (1 goal, 3 assists).
*Tom Wandell, Ryan Garbutt and Philip Larsen were healthy scratches for the Stars. Ray Whitney remains out with a foot injury.
*Attendance at Friday night’s game was 18,112