Stars keep rolling with shootout win over Flames
March, 4, 2012
By Mark Stepneski | ESPNDallas.com
The Dallas Stars continue their to rack up the points Sunday night, defeating the Calgary Flames 3-2 in a shootout to run their points streak to seven games (6-0-1).
The two points pushed the Stars, who are 7-1-2 over their last ten games, two points ahead of San Jose and into seventh place in the Western Conference. They also tied Pacific Division leading Phoenix at 75 points, but the Coyotes still hold the division lead due to having played one fewer lead. If, however, the Coyotes lose in regulation Monday night at Pittsburgh, the Stars would move into first in the division and third overall in the West.
“Every point is important,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “You can see the parity out there between the two teams. It’s going to come down to that last week, so you’ve got to gather what you can.”
The Stars got another big game for goaltender Kari Lehtonen, who stopped 36 of 38 shots and was 2-2 in the shootout. Lehtonen is 5-0-1 in his last six starts with a 1.45 goals against average and .948 save percentage.
“I thought that between (Lehtonen) and Loui Eriksson, they were the two best players on the ice for us,” said Gulutzan. “He made a huge save there on (Olli) Jokinen with about five minutes left in front of the net, and I thought that he was big in the shootout. You had two great goaltenders playing against each other.”
Eriksson had a goal, an assist and tallied in the shootout as well for the Stars, who won their fourth straight road game and improved to 5-1-2 in their last eight games away from home.
“We know how big these points are and today we got two more valuable points,” Eriksson said. “We know Calgary is behind us and it we needed a big win today. We got it.”
Special teams were huge for the Stars on this night. After falling behind 1-0, they tied the game with a shorthanded goal by Eriksson, took the lead on a power play goal by Michael Ryder, and the penalty kill was 3-3 in the game.
“That’s been an emphasis for us down the stretch,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “With 16 games left you have to have good specialty teams. Paul Jerrard has done a real good job with our PK.”
After a scoreless first period, the Flames opened the scoring at 7:18 of the second period. Curtis Glencross banged home a centering pass from David Moss.
The Flames had a chance to extend their lead when they went on their third power play later in the period, but the Stars scored to tie the game. Eriksson skated into the Flames zone one-on-one against Flames forward Alex Tanguay, slipped by him and then backhanded the puck past Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff at the 14:59 mark.
“The momentum changer in the second period was the shorthanded goal,” said Flames coach Brent Sutter. “Their shorthanded goal changed momentum and put us on our heels for a bit.”
The Flames came close to taking the lead with just over two minutes left in the period, but the Lehtonen stopped Tim Jackman on a breakaway and then the Flames were called for too many men on the ice, giving the Stars their first power play of the game.
Off the rush, Mike Ribeiro slipped the puck to Eriksson, who set up Ryder in front of the net and Ryder scored on the rebound of his own shot to give Dallas a 2-1 lead with 1:34 left in the second.
Calgary tied the game on a Jarome Iginla goal at the 8:00 mark of the third and Lehtonen came up big again late in the period, stopping a point blank bid by Jokinen to help get the game to overtime.
The Stars couldn’t cash in on an overtime power play, but Jamie Benn and Eriksson scored in the shootout and Lehtonen stopped Jokinen and Alex Tanguay to help the Stars secure the extra point.
“It’s always nice to get the extra point,” said Eriksson. “Benner had a great move and I tried the five-hole thing and it worked today.”
Added Lehtonen: “I had a rough shootout against Pittsburgh, so it was a little redemption for me. It’s going to be a little bit easier going into the next one. I tried to do little tweaks and it seemed to work today. It also helped that both our guys scored.”
The Flames, who are three points behind eighth-seeded San Jose and five points behind the Stars, fell to 1-3-3 over their last seven games. They have lost three shootouts during that seven-game stretch.
"It hasn't been easy losing those shootout games," Iginla said. "I honestly do feel they can go either way. We need to keep going, moving forward and work on getting the next game."
*The Stars are 5-4 in shootouts this season and 9-5 in games that have gone beyond regulation.
*Calgary is 3-7 in shootouts and 4-12 in games that have gone beyond regulation.
*The Stars were 3-3 on the penalty kill and are 20-21 (95.2%) over the last seven games.
*The Stars registered a season-high 40 shots on goal Sunday.
*Stars forward Michael Ryder has scored a goal in four straight games and has 10 in his last 15 games.
*Stars forward Loui Eriksson has 14 points (5 goals, 9 assists) in his last 13 games.
*Defenseman Adam Pardy was a healthy scratch for the Stars.
*Stars forward Toby Petersen missed the game due to his wife giving birth to the couple’s third child on Saturday.