Saturday, November 5, 2011
Stars win a wild one
By Mark Stepneski
DALLAS – It was no surprise that the Dallas Stars-Colorado Avalanche game was decided by one goal. The number of goals was a different matter. Loui Eriksson’s second goal of the night was the 13th scored in the game and it gave the Stars a 7-6 overtime victory at American Airlines Center Friday night.
With Jamie Benn crashing the net, Eriksson sent the puck towards the goal and in bounced in off Colorado defenseman Erik Johnson with 1:05 left in overtime.
“I saw [Benn] at the side of the net. I don't know if it hit someone, but it went in,” Eriksson said. “There were a lot of goals out there today. We stuck with it and got the two points.”
Eriksson’s goal capped off what was an entertaining game for fans and a somewhat unsettling for the guys coaching the teams.
"It was one of those nights you don't like as a coach, but if you came to the game tonight and watched it from your seat, you got your money's worth,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan.
Seven different Stars had multi-point nights on Friday with Eriksson (two goals, one assist), Stephane Robidas (one goal, two assists), Benn (three assists) and Michael Ryder (three assists) leading the point parade. Colorado’s Matt Duchene had a four-point night (three goals, one assist).
"Who says goal scoring is down, right? You get a game like this every once in a while,” said Stars defenseman Sheldon Souray, who had one goal and one assist in the game. “It's probably going to be a long night for the coaches, looking at video.”
The Stars fell behind 2-0, then led 4-2, then trailed 5-4 and 6-5 before tying the game with 4:10 remaining and forcing the overtime.
“We were resilient, we stuck with it tonight, we played right until the very end and we were fortunate to get the win in overtime,” said Souray. “We'll take the points, but we'll regroup and get ready for our next game on Sunday."
The Stars, who hadn’t played since Saturday, got off to a sluggish start, getting outscored 2-0 and outshot 13-3 in the first 20 minutes. Goals by Jay McClement and Duchene gave Colorado the early lead.
"I think we're going to chalk this one up to a little bit of rust,” said Stars captain Brenden Morrow. “We had a little bit of a break, we practiced with pace, we think we did all the right things but it was pretty sloppy out there.”
The Stars dodged another bullet early in the second when Colorado had some good chances on a power play to open the period, but the Stars were able to kill it off. The Stars tied it at 2-2 on power play goals by Loui Eriksson and Sheldon Souray.
Colorado had a chance to take the lead after a Dallas turnover, but Kari Lehtonen made consecutive big stops on Gabriel Landeskog and Daniel Winnik to keep the scored tied. Moments later Michael Ryder set up Vernon Fiddler, who scored from the left circle to put the Stars up 3-2 with 4:39 left in the second. Less than two minutes later the Stars were up 4-2 when Alex Goligoski scored from the left point for the Stars’ third power play goal of the period.
"The power play was good. It was shots with somebody in front. It was a pretty simple thing,” Gulutzan said of the power play, which ended the night 3-6. “I think once we watch that maybe we can learn from it a little, just getting shots with net presence.”
But the Avalanche scored just 43 seconds later when Duchene picked off a clearing attempt to the corner and beat Lehtonen with a shot from the bottom of the right circle. Just 43 seconds after that Paul Stastny banked a shot in off Lehtonen from behind the goal line and the game was tied with 1:32 left in the second.
Colorado took the lead back early in the third when Winnik banged home a rebound at the 1:57 mark to give the Avalanche a 5-4 lead.
The Stars tied it again, scoring just as their fifth power play chance of the game expired. Eric Nystrom scored on a rebound at the 6:01 mark to make it a 5-5 game.
Colorado answered with a power play goal when Duchene made a great move to slip by Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas and beat Lehtonen from close range to make it a 6-5 game with 11:28 remaining.
The Stars knotted the game at 6-6 with 4:10 remaining when Stephane Robidas scored on a shot from the right point with Jamie Benn setting a screen in front of Varlamov.
*The Stars improved to 9-3-0 overall and to 6-1-0 at home.
*Stars defenseman Sheldon Souray scored his 100th career goal in the game.
*Texas Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler dropped the puck prior to the game.
*Defenseman Mark Fistric and forward Tom Wandell were healthy scratches for the Stars. Steve Ott missed the game with a hip injury.
*Friday’s attendance at the AAC was 11,981