It was a night of big saves and some crazy bounces for the Dallas Stars, and it added up to another win. The Stars defeated the Edmonton Oilers, 4-1, at Rexall Place Tuesday night to run their winning streak to four games.
The big saves came from Kari Lehtonen, who stopped 35 shots on the night. Lehtonen has won his last five starts, posting a 1.77 goals against average and .940 save percentage over that stretch.
“Kari’s been great,” said Stars defenseman Brenden Dillon. “He’s been our best player. Night in, night out he’s been really great for us.”
Lehtonen got off to a shaky start, getting handcuffed by a Taylor Hall shot off the rush 12:59 into the game, but after that he was superb.
“That was the only one that went in and I regrouped,” said Lehtonen. “You just try to tell yourself that you are a pretty good goalie, you should be here playing and you’ve got the skills. You just try to not think about it.”
He was especially impressive in the second period when he stopped 16 shots, including one in the final seconds off the stick of Jordan Eberle.
“He’s been tremendous for us. What huge saves for us in the second period, end of the (second) off his toe. That game could have been a lot different,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “We’re blessed to have a goaltender of that caliber.”
The Stars were blessed with bounces Tuesday night as well. Dillon tied the game at 1-1 in the second period when his shot from the left point hit an Oilers defender, ricocheted off the end boards and then bounced in the net off the back of Oilers goaltender Devan Dubnyk.
“I just tried to get it in on net and I got a bounce,” said Dillon.
“It was a weird play,” Dubnyk said. “It happens. Nothing I can do about it.”
The Stars took the lead for good 44 seconds into the third period when an Eric Nystrom shot from beyond the top of the right faceoff circle deflected off the glove of Edmonton center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, off Dubnyk and into the net.
“Those first two goals are two of the more bizarre goals I’ve seen in a long time,” Oilers coach Ralph Krueger said.
Jaromir Jagr and Ryan Garbutt added insurance goals later in the third period for the Stars.
The goals by Dillon, Nystrom and Garbutt provided some much needed depth scoring for the Stars, who had been relying heavily on their top six forwards for scoring so far this season.
“We need that,” said Gulutzan. “Depth is important in this league and not every night your big guys are going to carry your team. They are going to do it most nights, but other teams have those types of players as well. Depth is really important.”
Added Fiddler, who had two assists in the game: “We needed to chip in. (Eric Nystrom) and I have been struggling offensively, but we’ve been trying to keep it simple and get pucks to the net as much as we can. We got rewarded. The guys buried those two and that was really nice.”
The Stars’ penalty kill came up big as well, going 5-5 against a very good Edmonton power play. Lehtonen played a big role there, stopping 10 power play shots in the game.
*The Stars’ penalty kill is now 42-46 (91.3%) on the road this season.
*The Stars were 0-3 on the power play.
*The Stars have won three straight on the road and are 4-4-0 away from home this season.
*Jaromir Jagr’s goal was the 669th of his career, moving him into sole possession of tenth place on the all-time NHL goal scoring list.
*Stars center Derek Roy has points in five straight games (1 goal, 5 assists).
*Stars center Jamie Benn ran his points streak to four games (4 goals, 3 assists).
*Jamie Oleksiak, Antoine Roussel and Tom Wandell were healthy scratches for the Stars.