Dallas Stars: Calgary Flames

The Dallas Stars are on the outside looking in at a playoff spot for the first time in more than a month. Saturday was not a good night for the Stars. Among those Pacific Division teams battling for the third, seventh and eighth spots, they were the only team not to get points.

Their 3-0 loss to the Sharks dropped them down to ninth, one point behind the now eighth place Sharks. Tuesday is basically a must-win game for the Stars. The Sharks need the win, too. It’s not like they are out of the woods because they won Saturday.

The Kings lost in a shootout to Minnesota Saturday, but the point they picked up kept them in first in the Pacific Division. Phoenix, a 4-0 winner over Anaheim Saturday, tied the Kings at 91 points. Both teams have 33 regulation/overtime wins, so it went to the next tiebreaker, which is the head-to-head matchup. Both teams won three games, but the Kings were 3-1-2 and the Coyotes were 3-2-1 and the Kings win the series 8 points to 7 points. And people wonder why I put the records for the season series and not just the wins in game previews.

But the bottom line is the race is still tight. None of those four teams has anything secured yet and none of them is out of the picture yet. The standings have shifted a lot this past week and they can shift a lot over this final week.

Some other notes from Saturday night:

*Chicago clinched a playoff spot with a 5-4 victory over Nashville.

*Vancouver took over the top spot in the West, beating Calgary 3-2 in overtime and getting some help from Columbus, which beat St. Louis 5-2.

*The Flames, by the way, were officially eliminated from the playoff race with the OT loss to the Canucks.

There’s still a pretty good battle for that fourth seed and home ice in the first round. Detroit and Chicago both are one point behind Nashville. Detroit hosts Florida Sunday and Chicago hosts Minnesota.

For the fifth time in the last nine days there’s been a change at the top of the Pacific Division. The new leader is the Los Angeles Kings, who won 4-1 at Edmonton last night to pass the Dallas Stars. The Kings are 8-2-0 over their last 10 games.

The Kings play at Minnesota on Saturday night, so they can hold that division lead with a win -- and move one step closer to securing a playoff spot.

The game of the night in the playoff race is Dallas at San Jose. The Stars dropped to seventh after their loss in Vancouver Friday night. They have a one point lead over the Sharks, who currently sit in ninth place. It’s a huge game for both teams. It’s a chance to gain points and take away points from a team you’re battling for a playoff spot. This is the first of a home-and-home series and both teams need the points, so that makes it all that much more intriguing.

The Coyotes, who are in eighth place in the West, host Anaheim Saturday night. The Coyotes are 2-3-0 against Anaheim this season, so it will be another chance for the Ducks to wreak some havoc in the race. A win for the Coyotes and they pick up points on whoever falls in the Stars-Sharks battle.

Colorado beat Calgary Friday night. That kept the Avalanche’s slim hopes alive and basically buried the Flames’ chances. Colorado has 88 points, but doesn’t play for the next five days and has only two games left. If the Avs win their final two games – home tilts against Columbus and Nashville – they’d hit 92 points. They’d have to hope for a lot of losing among those four Pacific Division teams to get in.

Calgary is at 85 points with three games left. They could max out at 91 points and even if they did, it’s not likely it would be enough to get them in.

Nashville beat Detroit Friday to take over fourth place in the West. The Predators now lead Detroit by one point. That’s a key spot since it brings home ice in the first round. And the Canucks are just one point behind St. Louis for first overall in the West. There’s still a lot of stuff to be decided.

It was another night of movement in the Western Conference standings. The Stars jumped from seventh to third, the Kings went from ninth to seventh, San Jose dropped from third to eighth and Phoenix slipped from eighth to ninth. In the middle of all that, the Kings were first in the Pacific for about five minutes.

The Kings got knocked out of the third spot when the Stars wrapped up their 3-1 win over Edmonton. That was a huge two points for the Stars, who needed to bounce back from the loss in Calgary on Monday. Still a tough road ahead with that back-to-back at Vancouver and at San Jose Friday and Saturday to close out the trip. The Stars need to find a way to get points out of those two games.

The Kings beat Calgary 3-0 Wednesday night. The Kings snapped a two-game losing streak and are now 7-2-0 over their last nine games. They close out their road trip with games at Edmonton and Minnesota.

The Sharks lost 2-1 at Anaheim. The Ducks won five of six against the Sharks this season. The Sharks are back at it Thursday night. They play at Phoenix. This kicks off a stretch that will see the Sharks play the rest of their games against teams battling for the Pacific Division title.

The Coyotes have been off the last three days and they ended up being one point behind both San Jose and Los Angeles and two points behind the Stars. It could have been worse from their perspective.

Colorado lost 1-0 at Vancouver. Huge loss for the Avalanche. They are two points out of a playoff spot and only have three games left to play. The teams they are chasing all have five. Their chances are very slim right now. Ditto for Calgary. The Flames are three back with four games left on their schedule.

It’s looking more and more like the four Pacific Division teams – Dallas, Los Angeles, San Jose and Phoenix – are going to be fighting it out for those three playoff spots.

How tight is the Western Conference playoff race? It’s so tight that the Stars could be anywhere from third place to ninth after tonight’s games.

All the teams the Stars are battling are in action tonight, except for Phoenix.

The Stars, of course, are at Edmonton. The Oilers have been playing well lately. They are coming off a 3-0-1 road trip and have points and are 5-0-2 in their last seven games overall. They are relatively healthy, except for no Taylor Hall, who is going to have season-ending shoulder surgery.

Pacific Division-leading San Jose is at Anaheim. The Ducks haven’t been kind to the Sharks this season, winning four of the first five meetings. The Sharks are coming off a 3-0-0 homestand and are 5-2-0 in their last seven games.

On a side note, after tonight the Sharks' final five games look like this: at Phoenix; vs. Dallas; at Dallas; at Los Angeles; vs. Los Angeles. Five head-to-head games against teams they are battling for that Pacific Division title and a spot in the playoffs.

The Kings, who are two points behind San Jose and point behind the Stars and Coyotes, continue their four-game road trip with a stop in Calgary tonight. The Kings, who have lost two straight, are 1-1-1 against Calgary this season. The Flames are one point behind Los Angeles and two points out of a playoff spot. It’s a huge game for both teams.

Colorado, winless in its last three, plays at Vancouver. The Avalanche have just four games left and they have little margin for error. They need a win tonight.
The San Jose Sharks are on top of the Pacific Division for the first time since February 25. The Sharks beat Colorado last 5-1. The Sharks went 3-0-0 on their just concluded homestand that also included wins over Phoenix and Boston.

The Stars slipped to seventh place after their regulation loss in Calgary. The Stars are 2-4-0 in their last six games. Wednesday’s game against Edmonton is big because looming on the horizon is that big back-to-back with games at Vancouver and San Jose.

The Kings lost 1-0 at Vancouver as they opened a three-game road trip through Western Canada. After stringing together six straight wins, the Kings have now dropped two straight in regulation.

The Kings’ loss and the Stars’ loss in Calgary last night were good news for Phoenix. The Coyotes don’t play again until Thursday, so neither one of those teams will get too far ahead by the time Phoenix has its next chance to get points.

Colorado, is now winless in its last three games (0-2-1) with the two regulation losses coming against San Jose and Phoenix. The Avalanche have only four games left and it’s starting to look like they’ll have to run the table to have a chance.

Calgary’s in the same boat. Last night’s win over the Stars was a start for the Flames, who host the Kings on Wednesday.

There are no games tonight that will have an impact on the Stars, but Wednesday will be another pivotal night.

Mistakes costly in Stars' loss to Flames

March, 27, 2012

Needing wins or at least points in a tight playoff race, the Dallas Stars found a way to get neither Monday night in Calgary. Penalties and turnovers proved costly as the Stars fell 5-4 to the Flames.

The Stars, who had 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the game, gave up four goals in the second period, one off a turnover and two off Calgary power plays.

“We gave them what happened tonight. We had the game, we were in a good spot at 2-1, then we make an error and then we take penalty after penalty until they get a two goal lead. Dumb, dumb penalties,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “You’ve got to learn how to win and the way we went about it doesn’t look like we want to win. It really doesn’t. They’ve got to figure that out for themselves.”

The Stars’ penalty kill, which has been stellar as of late, gave up three power play goals on six shorthanded opportunities. Calgary scored twice on the power play late in the second to turn a 3-3 game into a 5-3 Calgary lead.

“We got into penalty trouble and their power play beat us tonight,” said Stars defenseman Sheldon Souray. “We weren’t as disciplined as we have been. We talked about that and we just got a little bit away from that. We just let them get on the power play way too much tonight.”

The loss, their fourth in the last six games, dropped the Stars to seventh place in the Western Conference standings. They are one point out of the first in the Pacific Division and the third seed in the West, but still just one point ahead of ninth place.

“It’s a tough game to lose. We definitely needed these two points,” said Stars forward Jamie Benn. “We had too many turnovers and too many costly penalties. We shoot ourselves in the foot tonight.”

Benn gave the Stars a 1-0 lead 24 seconds into the game, beating Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff with a shot from beyond the left circle off the rush. Calgary tied with an Olli Jokinen power play goal at 6:53 of the first.

Benn scored 44 seconds into the second period on a shot from the slot off the rush to put the Stars up 2-1, and after the next shift, with his team looking out of sync, Flames coach Brent Sutter called a timeout.

“Do you really want to know,” Sutter said when asked what he said during the timeout. “It was just get back to settling down and playing our game.”

Midway through the period, the Flames scored two goals in 45 seconds apart to take a 3-2 lead. The first one came at the 9:16 mark when Stars forward Mike Ribeiro’s pass into the slot in the Dallas zone went right onto the stick of Calgary’s Blake Comeau, who ripped the puck past Kari Lehtonen to tie the game.

At the 10:01 mark Mike Cammalleri scored on the rebound of Anton Babchuk shot after the Flames had won an offensive zone draw.

Ribeiro scored off a rebound with 5:31 left in the second to tie the game at 3-3, but Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas was called for tripping 30 seconds later and Calgary scored just before Robidas came out of the penalty box. Mark Giordano scored off a blast form the point with 3:02 left in the period.

Ninety seconds later, Stars forward Steve Ott was called for tripping and the Flames struck again on the power play to make it a 5-3 game. Cammalleri set up Alex Tanguay, who scored from the slot.

Philip Larsen scored on the power play for the Stars early in the third, but Dallas could never get the equalizer.

The Flames snapped a five-game winless streak and pulled to within two points of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

“If you look at the standings we are definitely not out of it,” said Giordano. “We got a big win tonight, and we’ll go game-by-game here.”


*The Stars lost left wing Eric Nystrom in the first period after he was cut on the leg. He is day-to-day, according to Stars coach Glen Gulutzan.

*Stars right wing Radek Dvorak missed Monday’s game due to a sore ankle.

*Tom Wandell, Toby Petersen, Jordie Benn and Reilly Smith were scratched for Dallas.

*The Stars allowed three power play goals in a game for the second time this season. They allowed three in a 5-4 shootout win at Los Angeles on January 12.

*Stars forward Jamie Benn has eight goals in the last ten games.

Stars fall to Flames, 5-4

March, 26, 2012
The Dallas Stars lost for the fourth time in the last six games, falling 5-4 to the Flames in Calgary Monday night.

The Flames took control of the game in the second period, outscoring the Stars 4- 2 to take a 5-3 lead into the third period. Calgary scored three times on six power play chances, including two late in the second period to turn a 3-3 game into a 5-3 game. The Stars were 1-4 on the power play.

Where the Stars end up in the standings will depend on games still being played Monday night.

Jamie Benn scored two goals for the Stars. Mike Ribeiro and Philip Larsen also scored. Kari Lehtonen made 30 saves.

The Stars lost forward Eric Nystrom in the first period of the game.

First period

The Stars scored just 26 seconds into the game when Jamie Benn’s wrist shot from beyond the left faceoff circle eluded Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, giving Dallas the early 1-0 lead.

But the Flames drew even, cashing in on their first power play chance of the game. Lee Stempniak set up Olli Jokinen, who roofed a shot from the slot to tie the game at the 6:53 mark.

The Stars got the next two power plays of the period, but couldn’t take advantage. Mike Ribeiro had a great chance on the first one, but Kiprusoff denied his close range backhand shot.

On the second one, Calgary’s Alex Tanguay shot high on a shorthanded breakaway.

The Flames had a second power play late in the period, but weren’t able to generate much.

The Stars lost Eric Nystrom in the period to a lower body injury. The Stars said he would be out for the rest of the game. Nystrom was injured when he was pushed into the Calgary net by Flames defenseman Mark Giordano.

Second period

Jamie Benn scored 44 seconds into the second period to put the Stars up 2-1. Benn took a pass from Adam Burish off the rush and scored off a snap shot from the slot for his second tally of the night and fourth goal in the last two games.

About 20 seconds after the goal, Flames coach Brent Sutter called a timeout to address his tea, which was out of sorts on the shift after the next goal. The Flames outscored the Stars 4-1 in the rest of the period.

The Flames bounced back to the take a 3-2 lead midway through the second, scoring twice in 45 seconds. They tied the game at the 9:16 mark when Mike Ribeiro through the puck into the slot in his own end, Flames forward Blake Comeau picked it off an blasted the puck past Kari Lehtonen.

At the 10:01 mark the Flames wAt the 10:01 mark the Flames went up 3-2 when Mike Cammalleri scored off the rebound of an Anton Babchuk shot off a Calgary faceoff win in the Stars zone.

The Flames had a couple of great chances to extend the lead, but Lehtonen stopped Scott Hannan on a breakaway and Brenden Morrow blocked a Lee Stempniak redirection attempt that was heading towards an open net.

Just 26 seconds after an apparent Stars goal was waved off because Adam Burish kicked the puck into the net, the Stars scored to tie the game. Michael Ryder put a shot on net off the rush, and off the ensuing scramble Ribeiro backhanded the puck into the net to tie the game 3-3 at 14:29 of the second.

The Flames went on their fifth power play of the game a short time later and Mark Giordano scored on a blast from the point just before it expired to give Calgary a 4-3 lead with 3:02 left in the second.

The Flames went on their sixth power play with 1:33 left in the period and struck again to take a 5-3 lead. After a rim around the boards attempt by the Flames bounced off Stars defenseman Trevor Daley, Cammalleri set up Alex Tanguay, who scored from the slot with 28 seconds left in the period.

Third period

The Stars went on their fourth power play of the night early in the third and scored to make it a 5-4 game. After Sheldon Souray put a shot on net from the point, Philip Larsen got the rebound roofed a backhand shot from close range at the 5:24 mark.

The Stars had some chances to tie, including a Loui Eriksson breakaway, but couldn’t get the equalizer.

Stars lineup




Injured: Dvorak (ankle), Fistric (abdominal strain)
Scratched: Wandell, Petersen, Jordie Benn, R. Smith

Radek Dvorak out for Stars tonight

March, 26, 2012
Stars forward Radek Dvorak will miss tonight's game in Calgary with an ankle injury that forced him to miss three games earlier this month.

"What a warrior, 17 years in the league and getting shot up in the ankle to get through," said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. "He had a little aggravation from the last game, we sit him here and that’s four days, close to five, and maybe he can be ready for Edmonton. If not, we can go two more and a get a little more healthier player."

Tomas Vincour is expected to take Dvorak's place on a line with Eric Nystrom and Vernon Fiddler.

Ryan Garbutt, who has been a healthy scratch the last four games, is also expected to be in the lineup tonight as well.

Kari Lehtonen gets the start in goal.

Reilly Smith, signed yesterday to an entry-level contract, skated with the team but is still working on getting a work visa so that he can be eligible to play.

Here's the Stars projected lineup.



Phoenix lost 4-0 to St. Louis last night. That’s a big loss for the Coyotes. They are still second in the Pacific and seventh in the West with 87 points, but they have played two more games than the Stars, Kings and Sharks.

Phoenix is off the next three days and their Pacific Division rivals all play twice. In a race where everyone is within one point of each other, the Coyotes are going to have to hope those other teams don’t pull too far ahead of them.

On a side note, the Coyotes went 1-1-1 without Shane Doan during this three-game suspension for elbowing Stars forward Jamie Benn.

Plenty of opportunity for the standings to shift around tonight. The Stars, of course, are at Calgary. It’s basically do or die these days for the Flames right now, and the Stars need points, too. It is still a tight race.

Los Angeles opens its three-game Western Canada road trip tonight with a game at Vancouver.

The Sharks and Avalanche play in San Jose. The Avs are tied with the Sharks and Kings at 86 points, but they have played two more games than both those teams.

The Avalanche are getting to a point to where the math starts looking a little tough if they don’t get points tonight because the points pace for that final spot is about 94 points and they’d have to win out just to reach that.

Stars-Flames Preview

March, 25, 2012
Dallas Stars at Calgary Flames
Monday, March 26
8:00 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: KTCK-1310 (AM)

About the Stars

With Saturday’s 4-1 win over the Flames on Saturday, the Stars (41-29-5) moved back into first place in the Pacific Division and took over the third seed in the Western Conference. But the Stars still hold only a point lead in the division and a one point lead over ninth place.

So, it will be another crucial game for both the Stars and Flames when the two teams meet again Monday night.

“The emotions and the playoff atmosphere is going to carry over. There’s two big points on the line,” Stars forward Jamie Benn said. “We’re both pushing for a playoff spot and trying to get in. I think it’s going to be a hard-fought game.”

Monday’s game in Calgary will kick off a four-game road trip for the Stars that will also include games in Edmonton, Vancouver and San Jose.

“I think it’s a good time to go on the road to be honest with you,” Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said. “There’s a lot of pressure at home. There’s a lot of pressure at this time of year. The media and the coaching staff and everyone is you’ve got to win your home games. The players feel it and the players know it. … Sometimes it’s easier to get on the road this time of the year and just kind of let loose for a road swing and just kind of put pressure on other teams in their buildings that have to win games.”

The Stars signed forward Reilly Smith, a third round pick from 2009, to an entry-level contract on Sunday. He’s been added to the roster, but is not expected to play Monday.

Injuries: D Mark Fistric (abdominal strain) is out.

About the Flames

With Saturday’s loss in Dallas, the Flames (34-27-15) are down to six games left in the season and they are three points out of a playoff spot.

“We play these guys again in two days and we want to play the same way. Except for the start, I thought we had a really good game. That’s all we can do right now,” Flames captain Jarome Iginla said after Saturday’s loss. “Our chances are slim. We have to run the table but nobody will give up and we’ll just work on the next one, take the same chances and if we do they’ll go in.”

Monday’s game opens a three-game homestand for the Flames, who play five of their final six games at home.

“You’ve got to take one at a time. We got to pick away here and not give up any points. We’ve got to get every point we can get and see what happens,” said Flames coach Brent Sutter. “We’re not out of it by any means yet but obviously every game that goes by, you lose games and pretty soon you’re going to get to the 82nd game of the season. You’ve got to find ways to get wins and you can’t give up points.”

Injuries: D Derek Smith (upper body) is questionable. C Mikael Backlund (upper body), D Cory Sarich (upper body) and D T.J. Brodie (upper body) are out.

Series notes

*This is the fourth and final meeting between the two teams.

*The Stars are 3-0-0 in the series.

*The Flames are 0-1-2 in the series.

*February 16, at Dallas: Stars 3, Flames 2 (OT)
March 4, at Calgary: Stars 3, Flames 2 (SO)
March 24, at Dallas; Stars 4, Flames 1

Stars-Flames photos

March, 25, 2012
Here's a link to some photos from yesterday's Dallas Stars-Calgary Flames game. You can see all the photos by Shannon Byrne here or by clicking below on the image of the pre-game tribute to former Stars defenseman Karlis Skrastins, who died last September when the plane carrying his KHL team crashed in Russia.

Dallas Stars pay tribute to Karlis Skrastins memory and honor his family. Karlis died in a plane crash, along with his entire team, September 7, 2011.Dallas Stars vs. Calgary Flames, March 24, 2012.

Playoff watch: Stars in first in Pacific

March, 25, 2012
When the Stars won over Calgary on Saturday afternoon they moved into first place in the Pacific Division and third in the Western Conference, and when play wrapped up Saturday night they were still in that position.

It’s still tight though. Just one point separates the Pacific Division leading Stars and San Jose, which is currently fourth in the division race and ninth in the Western Conference.

Los Angeles, which had been in the first in the Pacific, had its six-game winning streak snapped with a 4-2 loss to Boston. The Kings dropped to eighth place in the West.

Phoenix, which could have taken over first in the division with a win, lost 4-3 in a shootout to San Jose. The Coyotes, who are in seventh place, and Stars are tied at 87 points, but Phoenix has played one more game and the Stars hold the division lead based on a better points percentage.

The Sharks are tied with the Kings 86 points, but the Sharks are ninth in the West. Both teams have played the same number of games, but the Kings hold the regulation/overtime wins tiebreaker, 31-30.

Colorado dropped from ninth to 10th after its 3-2 shootout loss to Vancouver. The Avalanche also have 86 points, but they have played two more games than both San Jose and Los Angeles. Vancouver clinched the Northwest Division title with the win over Colorado.

The Flames, who are still in eleventh place, are three points out of the final playoff spot and they have six games left on their schedule.

The only team in the Pacific Division race playing Sunday night is Phoenix, which hosts St. Louis.

DALLAS -- With a big two points on the line Saturday afternoon goaltender Kari Lehtonen came up big for the Dallas Stars, leading the way in a 4-1 victory over the Calgary Flames at American Airlines Center.

“Tonight our start got us a 2-0 lead and our goalie did the rest,” Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said.

Jamie Benn and Michael Ryder scored goals in the first 7:17 and Lehtonen made sure the Flames could never catch up, stopping 35 of 36 shots.

“I can’t say much more (about Lehtonen). We keep talking about elite,” Gulutzan said.” Just hope it keeps going."

The win pushed the Stars into first place in the Pacific Division and third place in the Western Conference, but whether they’ll be there at the end of the night depends on the rest of Saturday’s games.

It was a huge loss for the 11th place Flames, who fell four points behind the Stars and saw their winless streak hit five games (0-2-3) despite outshooting Dallas, 36-20.

“Well, the first five minutes or so we were standing and watching. We weren’t moving our feet. Then we got going and we played a pretty darn good hockey game after that,” Flames coach Brent Sutter said. “We didn’t give them much, hardly any shots at all. Their goaltender definitely was first star tonight, no question about that.”

Lehtonen, who picked up an assist in the game as well, was particularly impressive in the second and third periods, stopping all 29 shots he faced as the Stars held onto a 2-1 lead until the final minutes when they were finally able to add a couple of goals.

“That was fun. I felt I haven’t been my best the last three games, so it was nice to be able to help out and get some good saves,” Lehtonen said. “It’s just great to get two points.”

Lehtonen got all the goal support he would need early in the game. Benn scored on a wrap-around 1:37 into the game to put the Stars up 1-0. Michael Ryder made it a 2-0, taking a pass from Mike Ribeiro and firing a shot from the right circle past Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff.

“[The strong start] was huge,” Benn said. “That’s something we want to do, we want to see if teams are ready. We learned our lesson against Chicago when they came out and gave it to us in the first couple minutes. That’s what we want to do to teams.”

The Flames’ Mike Cammalleri scored off a one-timer from the right circle at 12:27 of the first to make it a 2-1 game.

After that it was the Kari Lehtonen Show. At one point the shots over the final two periods were 26-9 in favor of Calgary, but the Flames couldn’t get another puck past Lehtonen.

“His level is rising in important games,” Gulutzan said of Lehtonen. “They threw a lot of bodies at him, but he’s a big guy and he fights through it.”

Benn sealed the win for the Stars, scoring his second of the night with 3:33 left in regulation. Steve Ott sent a cross-ice pass to Benn, who beat Kiprusoff with a blast from the right circle.

Stars captain Brenden Morrow round scored into an empty net with 1:28 remaining to make it a 4-1 final.

The two teams will meet again Monday night in Calgary.


*The Stars honored former defenseman Karlis Skrastins prior to Saturday’s game. Skrastins was killed when the plane carrying his KHL team crashed in Russia last September. A framed set that included an autographed Skrastins jersey, photo and puck raised $2,750 at silent auction held during the game.

*The Stars were 4-4 on the penalty kill in the game and are now 51-54 (94.4 percent) on the PK over their last 16 games.

*Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen has a two-game points streak, picking up assists in each of the last two games. The last Dallas goalie to pick up assists in consecutive games was Marty Turco in November 2007.

*Jake Dowell, Toby Petersen, Ryan Garbutt and Jordie Benn were healthy scratches for Dallas.

*Stars defenseman Mark Fistric missed his second straight game with an abdominal strain.

*Saturday’s attendance was 17,238.

Postgame quotes

March, 24, 2012
Here are some postgame quotes following the Dallas Stars 4-1 victory over the Calgary Flames at American Airlines Center Saturday afternoon.

Stars coach Glen Gulutzan on the win

“Tonight our start got us a 2-0 lead and our goalie did the rest.”

Gulutzan on the play of goalie Kari Lehtonen

“I can’t say much more. We keep talking about elite. Just hope it keeps going. He just does the right things every day. He’s a great pro for us.”

Gulutzan on moving captain Brenden Morrow down the lineup

“Brenden has to do a lot to get game ready. The right thing to do is probably scale a couple of his minutes back just because of what he has to put himself through to be game ready. I talked to our captain a couple days ago about it, and he agreed. That’s why he’s our captain, what a professional guy he is.”

Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen, who stopped 35 of 36 shots

“That was fun. I felt I haven’t been my best the last three games, so it was nice to be able to help out and get some good saves. It’s just great to get two points.”

Lehtonen on the emotions of the team following the pre-game tribute to Karlis Skrastins

“That was hard, but it was also very nice. It was nice to see his family and it was pretty emotional. It was tough to start playing right away, but guys came out flying and got two goals. That was real nice.”

Stars forward Jamie Benn on the team’s quick start

“That was huge. That’s something we want to do, we want to see if teams are ready. We learned our lesson against Chicago when they came out and gave it to us in the first couple minutes. That’s what we want to do to teams.”

Flames captain Jarome Iginla

“We’re getting one goal a game and we had great scoring chances to get a lot more than that. Lehtonen played very well but we had great chances and they just didn’t go in for us. Guys played hard. Guys were physical. They obviously came out and had a good start. I thought we were able to get back into it and I thought we were going to find that tie. Then you have to take a few more chances the last five minutes and they capitalize and get an empty netter. It definitely stings. It’s a tough loss. Guys are all committed. It’s just been a real tough stretch as far as producing goals in front of Kipper (Miikka Kiprusoff) lately.”

Stars beat Flames, 4-1

March, 24, 2012

The Dallas Stars picked up two big points Saturday afternoon, beating the Calgary Flames 4-1 at American Airlines Center.

The win pushed the Stars back into first place in the Pacific Division and into the third seed in the Western Conference. Whether they’ll be there Sunday morning will depend on the results of games later tonight.

Kari Lehtonen stopped 35 shots, including all 29 he faced over the final two periods.

Jamie Benn scored twice for Dallas, which also got goals from Michael Ryder and Brenden Morrow.

The Stars and Flames meet again Monday in Calgary.

First period

The Stars took a 1-0 lead 1:37 into the game when Jamie Benn scored off a wrap-around.

The Flames came close to a tying the game three minutes in, but a Blake Comeau shot from the slot hit the post.

Calgary went on the game’s first power play a the 4:39 mark, couldn’t take advantage and a short time later the Stars extended their lead to 2-0.

Off the rush, Mike Ribeiro set up Michael Ryder, who beat Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff with a shot from the right circle at the 7:17 mark.

The Flames got on the scoreboard at the 12:27 mark of the first. After Stars forward Radek Dvorak’s stick broke, the Flames pinned the Stars in their own zone and Mike Cammalleri scored off a one-timer from the right circle.

The Stars were 0-2 on the power play in the period and the Flames were 0-1.

Second period

Kari Lehtonen was sharp in net stopping all 14 shots in the period to help the Stars hold their 2-1 lead despite beating outshot 14-6.

Calgary had the only power play of the period, but failed to generate much.

There was a big scrum with 10.8 seconds left in the period involving Calgary’s Jarome Iginla and Dallas’ Sheldon Souray and Calgary’s Giordano and Dallas’ Mike Ribeiro. The Stars ended up with one extra roughing minor and Calgary had 1:50 of power play time when the period ended.

Third period

The Flames were unable to cash in on their 1:50 of power play to open the third period, and the Stars remained up 2-1.

Lehtonen came up with a big save with the two teams playing at even strength, stopping a Cammalleri backhand shot 4:33 into the period.

The Flames had a power play, their fourth of the game, but couldn’t get the equalizer.

The Stars made it a 3-1 game with 3:33 left in the game when Steve Ott got to a loose puck in the corner and set up Benn, who beat Kiprusoff with a blast from the right circle.

Brenden Morrow scored into an empty let with 1:28 remaining to make it a 4-1 game.

Stars lineup



Lehtonen (starter)

Injured: Fistric (abdominal strain)
Scratched: Dowell, Petersen, Garbutt, Jordie Benn