DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars’ first game back from their long road trip was an adventure at times, but when all was said and done they picked two points, beating the Anaheim Ducks 5-3 at American Airlines Center Monday night.
The Stars started slow, getting outshot 7-1 in the first six minutes of the game. By the 1:43 mark of the second period they had built 3-0 lead. But by the end of the period they had blown that lead and were tied 3-3. In the third period the Stars took control of the game, scoring twice to send the Ducks to the 12th straight road loss (0-9-3).
"People talk about that hangover that first game back from the road. We were a little slow out of the gates but we stuck with it,” said Stars forward Michael Ryder, whose goal in the third period snapped a 3-3 tie. “I think we had a great third period and came up with two points, which is huge.”
The win was the fourth in the last fifth game for the Stars, who improved to 19-12-1 on the season and moved back into the first place in the Pacific Division.
“We knew if we just stuck to our game plan we could eventually wear them down,” said Stars forward Eric Nystrom. “That’s what happened. We stuck to it, played our game, eventually wore them down and got our breaks.
Ryder’s game-winning goal came at the 6:42 mark of the third. Loui Eriksson sent a centering pass from behind the net to an open Ryder, who ripped a shot past Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller from the slot to give Dallas a 4-3 lead.
“I was just trying to find the open are in front and Loui made a great pass,” said Ryder. “I managed to beat Hiller high glove.”
Nystrom sealed the win, scoring with 5:41 left to make it a 5-3 game.
The Stars extended the lead to 3-0 early in the second period with a pair of power play goals. The first one came on the Stars’ second five-on-three of the game. Alex Goligoski’s shot from the point made its way through traffic and past Hiller at the 1:19 mark of the second.
Just 24 seconds later Ribeiro beat Hiller with a shot from the circle to give the Stars a 3-0 lead.
It was the first time the Stars had scored multiple power play goals in a game since November4, when they scored three in a 7-6 win over Colorado.
"It was real good,” Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said of the power play. “We had shots and net presence and on the other one we were putting pucks towards the net and you get bounces when you do that. Rather than holding onto it, which we do a little too long, we put stuff towards the net and we got rewarded."
But the Ducks started to chip away at the lead and tied the game before the second period was over. Teemu Selanne scored from the left circle with the Ducks on the power play at the 4:30 mark. Lubomir Visnovsky scored from the point at 14:49 and then at the 18:27 mark Nick Bonino deflected a Cam Fowler shot from the point into the net.
But the Stars bounced back in the third and improved to 9-3-1 in games that are tied through the first periods.
“If you aren't mentally tough enough to come back from that then you are in the wrong league,” Morrow said of the Stars of regrouping after losing that 3-0 lead. “We've been on the other side of it and we've been able to grind it out and pull it out. We've been in that position before. You just keep plugging away and believing in what you are doing is going to pay off. There are 60 minutes for a reason and the third period has usually been our best. We knew that and we're confident in it."
*Stars forward Eric Nystrom scored his 11th goal of the season, tying his career-high.
*Brenden Morrow has scored a goal in three straight games.
*Richard Bachman stopped 25 of 28 shots to improve to 4-1-0 since being called up from the AHL.
*The Stars had their first five-on-three power play of the season late in the first period. They went on their second five-on-three early in the second period.
*Adam Pardy was a healthy scratch for the Stars.
*Monday’s attendance was 13,720