The Dallas Stars pulled to within one point of eighth place in the Western Conference with a 5-3 win over the Minnesota Wild at American Airlines Center Friday night. Ray Whitney, Tomas Vincour, Erik Cole, Jamie Benn and Cody Eakin scored goals for the Stars. Jaromir Jagr picked up his 1,000th NHL assist. The Stars improved to 16-14-3 with the victory.
Stars start strong, finish strong
The Dallas stars got off to a strong start Friday night, dominating the first period. The Stars outshot the Wild 17-7 and outscored them 2-0 in the first 20 minutes. After the Wild bounced back to tie the game in the second, the Stars scored two goals 1:08 apart early in the third to take a 4-2 lead and control of the game.
Power play clicks
The power play came up big for the Stars, scoring three times on six chances against the Wild’s penalty kill, which came into the game ranked fourth in the league. Ray Whitney, Jamie Benn and Cody Eakin tallied the power play
Jagr notches 1,000th assist
Jaromir Jagr picked up an assist on a Jamie Benn power play goal early in the third period, making him the 12th player in NHL history to register 1,000 assists. Jagr also became the first European-born player to hit that milestone.
Stars center Vernon Fiddler left the game early in the first period with a lower body injury and did not return. Fiddler was injured when he was hooked by Wild center Mikko Koivu and then crashed into the Minnesota goal. There was no immediate update on Fiddler’s status.
The Stars went on the game’s first power play and cashed in to take a 1-0 lead. Ray Whitney beat Wild goaltender Matt Hackett with a shot from the slot at the 4:14 mark.
The Stars made it a 2-0 game a little more than three minutes later when Reilly Smith’s deflection of an Aaron Rome shot from the left point went wide, and Tomas Vincour knocked home the rebound.
The Wild cut the Stars’ lead to 2-1 with 1:12 left in the period when Matt Cullen circled behind the Dallas net and backhanded the puck to Devin Setoguchi, who scored from the left circle.
The Stars came close to extending it to 3-1 with just over 40 seconds left in the period, but Hackett made a spectacular glove save as Loui Eriksson tried to tuck the puck in the net.
The Stars outshot the Wild 17-7 in the first period.
The Stars lost center Vernon Fiddler early in the first period. Fiddler crashed into the Minnesota net after being hooked by Wild center Mikko Koivu.
There was no scoring late in the second until late in the period when Minnesota went on its first power play of the night. The Wild cashed in when Jared Spurgeon scored off a rebound with 4:44 left in the period.
The Stars had three good chances in the final minute, but Hackett was came with back-to-back stops on Jamie Benn and then a spectacular save on a point blank bid by Eric Nystrom.
The Stars got their lead back 1:02 into the third period with a goal off the rush. Erik Cole banged home a rebound from the slot to put the Stars ahead 3-2.
The Stars went on two-minute five-on-three power play a little more than a minute later and quickly cashed when Jamie Benn scored from the right circle to make it a 4-2 game at the 2:10 mark. Jaromir Jagr picked up an assist on the goal, making him the 12th player in NHL history to reach 1,000 career assists.
The Stars scored on another power play chance with 7:20 remaining to increase their lead to 5-2. Cody Eakin got a to a loose puck in the crease and slipped into the net.
The game got chippy at the end. There was big scrum after Wild forward Mike Rupp tried to put Stars forward Reilly Smith into the Minnesota bench. Nystrom and Wild defenseman Justin Falk dropped the gloves with just over five minutes left in the game.
Torrey Mitchell scored for the Wild with just under a minute left to make it a 5-3 game.
Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen left the game briefly in the third period, but returned and finished the game.