Thursday, April 7, 2011
Stars down Avalanche 4-2
By Mark Stepneski
The Dallas Stars ran their winning streak to three games and pulled to within two points of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with a 4-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche at American Airlines Center on Thursday night. Tom Wandell, Loui Eriksson, Brenden Morrow and Brad Richards scored goals. Kari Lehtonen stopped 21 of 23 shots. The Stars have two games left -- Friday at Colorado and Sunday at Minnesota.
“It was a good win. I thought our start really was impressive tonight.” -- Stars coach Marc Crawford
“Teams that don’t have much to play for can scare you. I think we did a good job. We didn’t overlook them and weren’t overconfident. You look around and people are playing for something. There’s jobs, ice time, contracts. There’s a lot for teams that aren’t involved in the playoff pushes and there’s for them to play for. We did a good job of not overlooking them.” -- Stars captain Brenden Morrow.
“Right now we are playing with a lot of confidence. That’s what you need at this time of the year. “ -- Stars forward Adam Burish
*The Stars have won three or more consecutive games seven times this season.
*The Stars ended the season with a 22-11-8 home record. They have won 20 or more games at home for eight straight seasons.
*The Stars were 1-1 on the penalty kill and are 6-6 on the PK over the last four games and 10-11 (90.9%) over the last seven games.
*The Stars have been shorthanded one time or fewer in five of the last nine games.
*Toby Petersen registered seven shots in Thursday’s game, tying a career-high.
*The Stars have not lost a regular season home finale since 1997 and are 12-0-1 in their regular season game at home since then.
The Stars got on the board with 4:43 left in the period when Tom Wandell picked off a clearing pass near the Colorado blue line, skated behind the net and scored on a wraparound with 4:43 remaining.
Just 1:34 later, the Stars made it a 2-0 game when Loui Eriksson scored off a blast from the left faceoff circle with 3:09 left in the period.
Stars forward Adam Burish, who missed the last 11 games with a leg injury, returned to the lineup for the Stars.
Krys Barch, Tomas Vincour and Brad Lukowich were scratches. Nicklas Grossman (knee) and Brian Sutherby (back) remain out.
The Stars had some good chances early in the second period but couldn’t cash in, and Colorado finally got on the scoreboard to cut Dallas’ lead to 2-1.
After keeping the Stars pinned in their own zone for a good time, Brandon Yip was able to score off a shot from the slot with 9:45 left in the period.
The Stars had a couple of chances to extend the lead, but Colorado denied a bid by Tom Wandell and another by Loui Eriksson after a slick move by Jamie Benn to set up the chance.
The Stars went on a power play 44 seconds into the third period and it took them eight seconds to cash in to extend their lead to 3-1. Mike Ribeiro sent a pass from behind the net to Eriksson, who quickly sent it to Brenden Morrow, who popped a shot into the side of the net from close range.
The Avalanche cut the lead to 3-2 with 8:54 remaining. Matt Duchene made a slick move in the corner to get the puck to Ryan Wilson, whose centering pass was redirected into the net by Mark Olver.
The Stars extended the lead to 4-2 a little more than a minute later when Jamie Benn forced a turnover in the Colorado end, put a shot on net and Brad Richards scored on the rebound.
Injured: Grossman (knee), Sutherby (back)
Scratches: Vincour, Lukowich, Barch
Power play units
Penalty kill units