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Thursday, November 24, 2011
Stars stick with it, rally by Kings

By Mark Stepneski

DALLAS -- Just when it looked like the Dallas Stars were going to lose to the Los Angeles Kings for third straight time this season, Loui Eriksson scored with 20.3 seconds left in regulation to tie the game and then Steve Ott scored 2:56 into the overtime to give the Stars a 3-2 win at American Airlines Center.

Those two goals capped off a rally that saw the Stars overcome a 2-0 deficit in the third period.

“We stuck with it,” said Ott. “The game plan coming in was pretty well taken care of throughout the whole 60 minutes. The unfortunate part is that we were down 2-0, so we had to come back from a little bit of a hole. But we stuck with it the whole 60. I think we outchanced them a lot tonight and the final result was probably the proper result.”

The Stars were down 2-0 entering the third due in part to some superb goaltending by Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick, but they cut the lead to one when Eric Nystrom set up Jamie Benn, who scored on the rebound of his own shot 2:07 into the period.

The Stars got the equalizer following a timeout with 25 seconds left during which associate coach Willie Desjardins drew up a play. With three players lined up to his right on a neutral zone draw, Ott chipped the puck into the Los Angeles zone, Benn got the puck and set up Eriksson, who scored to tie the game at 2-2.

“You can draw it up 100 times and it never works, but tonight it worked,” said Ott. “That was the plan. We overloaded that side with three guys and I shot the puck over there, it [Michael Ryder], it hit Benny and it turns into a two-on-one and Loui has a tap-in. “

“Sometimes you get lucky. You draw up lots of plays and some work and some don’t,” said Desjardins. “We got a break on it, but our guys executed. If you don’t execute, you don’t get it. Benn made a real good pass and Loui buried it. The play is not a very big part, it’s just executing. Otter had to do what he did on the draw.”

In overtime, the Stars got the winner off an odd-man rush that came when Stars center Mike Ribeiro got nailed by Kings defenseman Jack Johnson at the Dallas blue line, but still managed to get the puck to defenseman Stephane Robidas, who set up Ott’s game-winning goal.

“He took a real good one for the team. They say you’ve got to take a hit to make a play and he did,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “Not only that, but he was great defensively that shift. He took a big hit, I don’t know if he knew that we scored. But he tells me already that he is fine. He’s a tough, tough customer.”

The victory was the second straight for the Stars (13-8-0) following a five-game losing streak.

“I thought we played very good against a very good team,” Gulutzan said. “We made two mistakes that led to two goals, but games are 60 minutes for a reason. That was our message between the second and the third periods. Our guys stuck with it for 60 minutes. It was a good victory for us.”

The Kings scored twice in a 36 second span early in the second period. Both goals came off Dallas turnovers. After a Steve Ott turnover, Dustin Brown set up Mike Richards, who slipped the puck through Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen at the 4:53 mark.

Then Radek Dvorak coughed up the puck and Kevin Westgarth scored from the right circle at the 5:29 mark to make it a 2-0 game. But it was a lead the Kings couldn’t hold.

“We gave them a point, with a good lead. Not to say that they didn’t make plays, but it’s something that we haven’t done here in a few years, is cough up leads in the third period,” said Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi. Certainly we might look back on it, later in the season, and say, `Should of, would of, could of,’ but the bottom line is, we had a two-game trip and we got three out of four points. It’s not the worst, but this certainly isn’t the way we wanted to do it.’’


*Stars captain Brenden Morrow missed Wednesday’s game with an upper body injury.

*Adam Pardy and Krys Barch were healthy scratches for the Stars.

*Wednesday night’s attendance was 11,779