Alex Chiasson scored his first NHL goal and Lane MacDermid scored his second goal in as many games as the Dallas Stars snapped a three-game losing streak with a 3-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center Friday night.
The Stars, who wrapped up a three-game series against the Ducks, won the final game of the set after dropping the first two by a combined score of 9-2.
“I don’t think anyone was trying to do anything extraordinary tonight. We all did our jobs and did it the best we can. That’s what makes a good team,” said Stars forward Eric Nystrom, whose shorthanded goal in the first period held up as the game-winner. “Nobody has to go out there and win the game themselves, it just has to be everybody together, pulling on the rope, doing the right things, doing what it takes to win and tonight we had that good effort. We looked like a hockey team out there and we looked like a really good one. We beat a good team tonight and that’s huge.”
“It will get the morale up a little bit,” Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski said about the win. “It was nice to have a day off, rest up and survey the situation we have right now. We came out tonight, we battled hard, we made some mistakes but they didn’t end up in the back of our net. Kari (Lehtonen) was there. We’ve just got to keep taking steps forward here.”
Lehtonen stopped 27 of 28 shots, snapped a personal four-game losing streak and picked up his first win since March 23.
“We’re battling. We’re not done yet. We’re going to keep battling,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “It’s good for our goaltender to get a little confidence, get rewarded for his good play and I thought the guys did a good job of blocking shots and keeping things to the outside.”
All the scoring in the game came in the first period. The Stars struck first when MacDermid finished off a two-on-one rush, backhanding the puck past Ducks goaltender Viktor Fasth 9:03 into the game. It was the second goal in as many games for MacDermid, acquired from Boston in the Jaromir Jagr deal earlier this week.
“I thought he was supposed to be tough, but apparently he’s a goal scorer,” said Gulutzan.
The Ducks quickly answered, scoring just 18 seconds later when a dump in took a strange bounce off the glass and David Steckel set up Andrew Cogliano, who roofed a shot over Lehtonen.
Stars forward Antoine Roussel and Ducks forward Emerson Etem dropped the glove in a spirited fight about four minutes later, and 13 seconds after that Nystrom scored shorthanded to give the Stars a 2-1 lead.
Fasth came out of the net to play the puck, but Nystrom beat him to it and fired it into a wide open net from the left circle at the 13:54 mark of the first.
“They were clearing the puck out of their zone, and obviously I misread the speed of the puck,” said Fasth. “Or maybe I overestimated my skating ability. No, you guys and me know it was a bad decision by me. I’ve got to learn from it and do it a different way next time.”
The Stars extended the lead to 3-1 late in the period with a goal off the rush. Chiasson dished the puck to Vernon Fiddler, drove the net and then scored on Fiddler’s return pass.
“We worked a little bit on this this morning,” said Chiasson. “I saw him going wide. I was trying to hold the puck a little longer, and he’s got great speed, too. I saw him. I didn’t think he was going to give it to me. That was a great play. What a way to score your first goal.”
Lehtonen stopped all 19 shots he faced over the final two periods and the Stars’ penalty kill thwarted a couple of Anaheim power play chances to keep it a 3-1 game.
The loss the snapped a four-game points streak for the Ducks, who played without leading scorer Ryan Getzlaf. He sat out with a lower body injury suffered in Wednesday’s game against Dallas.
The Stars, who improved to 17-17-3 on the season, remain in 13th place in the Western Conference, five points out of the eighth and final playoff spot.
MacDermid leaves game with injury
Stars forward Lane MacDermid left the game early in the second period with an upper body injury and did not return.
“We’re not actually sure yet,” Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said of MacDermid’s status. “We want to wait and see what the doctors say. He went for that big hit there. They’re going to test him out. It was a little bit precautionary. He should be fine.”