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Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Stars make it six straight road wins

By Mark Stepneski

The Dallas Stars made it six straight wins on the road, beating the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2 at the United Center on Wednesday night.

Mike Ribeiro scored two power-play goals, including the game-winner with 9:46 remaining. The Stars were 3-3 on the power play in the game and were 4-4 on the penalty kill against the top ranked Chicago power play.

Brenden Morrow also scored on the power play, and Steve Ott scored an empty net shorthanded goal to seal the win. Brad Richards and Loui Eriksson each had two assists. Kari Lehtonen made 35 saves for the Stars, who hit the halfway point of the season with a 24-13-4 record for 52 points.

First period

Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen came up with a big save early, stopping a wide open Marian Hossa from the bottom of the right faceoff circle just 1:19 into the game.

The Stars struck early in the game, cashing in on their first two power plays -- both drawn by Tom Wandell -- to build their lead.

The Stars went on the first power play at the 2:00 mark and it took them 40 seconds to take advantage. After a Matt Niskanen blast from the point, Loui Eriksson’s rebound attempt bounced off Brenden Morrow and Morrow gathered up the puck and it put past Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford.

The Stars went on power play number two at the 6:34 mark and they scored when Brad Richards’ shot from the point bounced off Mike Ribeiro and into the net at the 7:26 mark.

Lehtonen, who had 12 saves in the period, had another big stop on Jonathan Toews later in the period to keep it a 2-0 game.

Toby Petersen was out for the Stars due to lower body soreness. Mark Fistric was a healthy scratch on defense.

Second period

The second period belonged to the Chicago Blackhawks, who outshot the Stars 15-5 and scored twice to tie the game at 2-2.

After the Stars killed off a Chicago power play early in the period and Kari Lehtonen made a big stop on Jonathan Toews, the Blackhawks finally broke through at the 9:35 mark. Fernando Pisani scored off the rush, firing a shot from the high slot that bounced off Lehtonen’s glove and into the net.

Chicago tied the game just 2:08 later when Tomas Kopecky took a pass from Patrick Kane, put a shot on net and then scored off his own rebound.

The Blackhawks had a chance to take the lead when Viktor Stalberg was awarded a penalty shot 1:10 after the Kopecky goal, but Stalberg’s backhand shot rang off all three posts.

Third period

The Stars killed off two Chicago power plays in the third period before going on their third of the game and scoring for the third time to take a 3-2 lead.

Mike Ribeiro’s attempted centering pass hit Chicago defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson and went past Corey Crawford at the 10:46 mark.

Chicago had some chances late in the game. A Patrick Sharp shot trickled near the goal line, but Kari Lehtonen swatted it away.

The Blackhawks got a power play with 2:02 remaining, pulled Crawford to make it a 6-4 advantage. Lehtonen made a big glove stop on Patrick Kane and then with just over one minute left Steve Ott scored a shorthanded empty net goal to make it a 4-2 game and seal the win.

The Stars played the third period without defensemen Matt Niskanen and Karlis Skrastins, who both left the game after colliding during warmups for the third period.