Dallas Stars: David Moss

The Dallas Stars continue their to rack up the points Sunday night, defeating the Calgary Flames 3-2 in a shootout to run their points streak to seven games (6-0-1).

The two points pushed the Stars, who are 7-1-2 over their last ten games, two points ahead of San Jose and into seventh place in the Western Conference. They also tied Pacific Division leading Phoenix at 75 points, but the Coyotes still hold the division lead due to having played one fewer lead. If, however, the Coyotes lose in regulation Monday night at Pittsburgh, the Stars would move into first in the division and third overall in the West.

“Every point is important,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “You can see the parity out there between the two teams. It’s going to come down to that last week, so you’ve got to gather what you can.”

The Stars got another big game for goaltender Kari Lehtonen, who stopped 36 of 38 shots and was 2-2 in the shootout. Lehtonen is 5-0-1 in his last six starts with a 1.45 goals against average and .948 save percentage.

“I thought that between (Lehtonen) and Loui Eriksson, they were the two best players on the ice for us,” said Gulutzan. “He made a huge save there on (Olli) Jokinen with about five minutes left in front of the net, and I thought that he was big in the shootout. You had two great goaltenders playing against each other.”

Eriksson had a goal, an assist and tallied in the shootout as well for the Stars, who won their fourth straight road game and improved to 5-1-2 in their last eight games away from home.

“We know how big these points are and today we got two more valuable points,” Eriksson said. “We know Calgary is behind us and it we needed a big win today. We got it.”

Special teams were huge for the Stars on this night. After falling behind 1-0, they tied the game with a shorthanded goal by Eriksson, took the lead on a power play goal by Michael Ryder, and the penalty kill was 3-3 in the game.

“That’s been an emphasis for us down the stretch,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “With 16 games left you have to have good specialty teams. Paul Jerrard has done a real good job with our PK.”

After a scoreless first period, the Flames opened the scoring at 7:18 of the second period. Curtis Glencross banged home a centering pass from David Moss.

The Flames had a chance to extend their lead when they went on their third power play later in the period, but the Stars scored to tie the game. Eriksson skated into the Flames zone one-on-one against Flames forward Alex Tanguay, slipped by him and then backhanded the puck past Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff at the 14:59 mark.

“The momentum changer in the second period was the shorthanded goal,” said Flames coach Brent Sutter. “Their shorthanded goal changed momentum and put us on our heels for a bit.”

The Flames came close to taking the lead with just over two minutes left in the period, but the Lehtonen stopped Tim Jackman on a breakaway and then the Flames were called for too many men on the ice, giving the Stars their first power play of the game.

Off the rush, Mike Ribeiro slipped the puck to Eriksson, who set up Ryder in front of the net and Ryder scored on the rebound of his own shot to give Dallas a 2-1 lead with 1:34 left in the second.

Calgary tied the game on a Jarome Iginla goal at the 8:00 mark of the third and Lehtonen came up big again late in the period, stopping a point blank bid by Jokinen to help get the game to overtime.

The Stars couldn’t cash in on an overtime power play, but Jamie Benn and Eriksson scored in the shootout and Lehtonen stopped Jokinen and Alex Tanguay to help the Stars secure the extra point.

“It’s always nice to get the extra point,” said Eriksson. “Benner had a great move and I tried the five-hole thing and it worked today.”

Added Lehtonen: “I had a rough shootout against Pittsburgh, so it was a little redemption for me. It’s going to be a little bit easier going into the next one. I tried to do little tweaks and it seemed to work today. It also helped that both our guys scored.”

The Flames, who are three points behind eighth-seeded San Jose and five points behind the Stars, fell to 1-3-3 over their last seven games. They have lost three shootouts during that seven-game stretch.

"It hasn't been easy losing those shootout games," Iginla said. "I honestly do feel they can go either way. We need to keep going, moving forward and work on getting the next game."


*The Stars are 5-4 in shootouts this season and 9-5 in games that have gone beyond regulation.

*Calgary is 3-7 in shootouts and 4-12 in games that have gone beyond regulation.

*The Stars were 3-3 on the penalty kill and are 20-21 (95.2%) over the last seven games.

*The Stars registered a season-high 40 shots on goal Sunday.

*Stars forward Michael Ryder has scored a goal in four straight games and has 10 in his last 15 games.

*Stars forward Loui Eriksson has 14 points (5 goals, 9 assists) in his last 13 games.

*Defenseman Adam Pardy was a healthy scratch for the Stars.

*Stars forward Toby Petersen missed the game due to his wife giving birth to the couple’s third child on Saturday.
The Dallas Stars ran their points streak to seven games (6-0-1) with a 3-2 shootout win in Calgary Sunday. The two points moved the Stars into seventh place in the Western Conference and tied them in points with the Phoenix Coyotes, who still hold the Pacific Division lead based on having played one fewer game.

Kari Lehtonen stopped 36 shots and was 2-2 in the shootout. Loui Eriksson and one goal, one assist and scored in the shootout. Michael Ryder also scored for the Stars and Jamie Benn tallied in the shootout.

With the point, the Flames pulled to within three points of eighth-seeded San Jose, but the Sharks have two games in hand.

First period

The Flames outshot the Stars 13-9 in the period. Both goaltenders had big saves. Kari Lehtonen had a series of stops during a scramble in front of this net. Miikka Kiprusoff made a nice save on a point blank chance by Mike Ribeiro.

Calgary had the only two power plays of the periods, had three shots but couldn’t cash in.

Stars forward Steve Ott and Calgary’s Curtis Glencross dropped the gloves in the period.

Second period

The Flames opened the scoring at 7:18 of the second period. David Moss centered the puck from behind the goal line and Curtis Glencross slipped it past Kari Lehtonen to give Calgary a 1-0 lead.

Calgary went on its third power play of the game at the 13:19 mark, but the Stars struck shorthanded to tie the game. Loui Eriksson made a slick move to slip by Flames forward Alex Tanguay and then beat Miikka Kiprusoff with a backhand shot to tie the game 1-1 at 14:59 of the second.

Just moments after Lehtonen stopped Tim Jackman on a breakaway to keep it a tie game, the Stars went on their first power play of the evening and cashed in to take a 2-1 lead. Mike Ribeiro carried the puck into the Calgary zone, dished it off to Eriksson and he sent it to the front of the net, where Michael Ryder scored off the rebound of his own shot with 1:34 left in the period.

Third period

The Stars went on their second power play five minutes into the third, but couldn’t take advantage and extend their lead.

Just after killing off the power play, the Flames tied the game at 2-2. After a Stars turnover in their own end, Tanguay put a shot on net and Mike Cammalleri slipped the rebound to Jarome Iginla, who put the puck into the open side of the net at the 8:00 minute mark of the period.

Both goalies came up with big saves to keep it tied and send it into overtime. Lehtonen stopped Olli Jokinen’s point blank bid and Kiprusoff made a nice pad stop on Alex Goligoski blast from the slot late in the game.


The Stars went on a power play 2:11 into overtime when Cammalleri hooked Ryder as he tried to put a rebound into the open side of the net. The Stars had some good chances, but Kiprusoff made a glove save on a blast from Sheldon Souray and then stopped a shot by Ryder from the left circle just as the power play was expiring.

In the shootout, Jamie Benn and Eriksson scored for the Stars. Lehtonen stopped Jokinen and Tanguay.

Stars lineup



Lehtonen (starter)

Scratched: Pardy
Injured: Petersen (personal), Dowell (finger), Morrow (neck/back)

Push for the playoffs

January, 30, 2012
FRISCO -- The Dallas Stars kick off the stretch drive when they head to California later this week for games against Anaheim and San Jose, and it will begin what they hope is a push to a place where they haven’t been the last three years – the Stanley Cup playoffs.

“This is our playoff push now,” said captain Brenden Morrow. “We’re going to be pushing from the get-go and we’ve got a pretty big hill to climb, but we’re all committed to do that in here. We’ve had meeting after meeting about what it is going to take and what you are willing to do. We feel like we are up to the challenge.”

The Stars come out of the break in 10th place in the Western Conference, three points out of the final playoff spot. If you go based on points percentage, they are in ninth place and a little closer to that final playoff spot. They sit in the middle of a group of six teams ranked 7th through 12th and separated by a total of six points.

“We still have our own fate in our own hands. We don’t need teams to beat them or teams to beat so and so. We can do it ourselves,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “We play all the teams that are ahead of us. We can catch every one of them, we play head-to-head. That’s where you want to be. You want to have that in your hands. We have no excuses moving forward. We’re healthy, we’ve had a break and we got to regroup. We have to do a few things better – our power play and some D zone stuff – but I think our best hockey is coming.”

The Stars will need to play well to climb into a playoff position. History – at least history since the lockout – says that it will take anywhere from 91 to 97 points to get into the playoffs in the Western Conference. Since the lockout the 8th and final playoff spot in the West has gone to teams with point totals of 95, 96, 91, 91, 95 and 97.

At the All-Star break, the points pace for 8th in the West this season is 92 points. Time will tell if that stays steady or moves up or down, but Gulutzan doesn’t want to focus on some numerical goal for April.

“It’s a slippery slope if you get too focused on the amount of points. If you are not achieving them then you are falling off. You’ve got to live day-to-day in this game,” Gulutzan said. “We don’t want to start staring at the big picture, it can get overwhelming.

“Everybody is predicting how many points it will take, but who knows how many points it will take. Certainly it is going to be in the 90’s but where, I don’t know.”

Instead, he and his staff are looking at shorter-term objectives. The Stars want to make sure they are right in the thick of things when a grueling month of February comes to a close.

“We broke February into two segments within the 15 games before the trade deadline (Feb. 27),” Gulutzan said. “We have to be in striking distance at the end of this month. If not, then we’re going to be in trouble, but we feel we should be right in striking distance.”

During February the Stars also will play six games against the teams ranked 7th through 12th in the standings. Over their final 34 games, the Stars have three games against 9th place Minnesota and four games against 11th place Calgary, two teams right around them in the standings.

“Those are the teams were trying to catch,” Gulutzan said, “so more importantly we have to do well in those games.”

A look at the race for the final playoff spots

As teams come out of the break, it appears that the teams ranked 1-6 (Detroit, Vancouver, San Jose, St. Louis, Nashville and Chicago) have created some pretty good separation from the rest of the West. Those teams have anywhere from 64 to 67 points, except for San Jose. The Sharks have 60, but have played fewer games than anyone in the conference and are in a solid spot.

For now, it appears, that would leave six teams – Los Angeles, Minnesota, Colorado, Dallas, Calgary, Phoenix – battling it out for those final two spots in the West.

There’s a long way to go and things can change. One of the teams in the top six could slip back, one of the teams currently fighting for those final two spots could go on a roll and create some separation from the others, or somebody could fade away.

Here’s a look at the team’s currently ranked 7th through 12th that appear to be battling for the final two spots for the time being.

7. Los Angeles Kings

Record: 24-16-10 (58 points)
Regulation/OT Wins: 20
Games Remaining: 32 (12 home, 20 road)
Back-to-backs: 7
Head-to-head with 7th-12th: 8 games – Minnesota (2), Colorado (1), Dallas (1), Calgary (2), Phoenix (2)
Completed season series with 7th-12th: None
Key injuries: F Simon Gagne (concussion) out indefinitely

Outlook: The Kings host Columbus in their first game out of the break and then head out on a six-game road trip (St. Louis, Carolina, Tampa Bay, Florida, NY Islanders, Dallas). The Kings play 10 of their 14 games in February and 20 of their final 32 games on the road, where they have posted a solid 11-5-6 mark so far this season.

8. Minnesota Wild

Record: 24-18-7 (55 points)
Regulation/OT wins: 19
Games remaining: 33 (19 home, 14 road)
Back-to-backs: 4
Head-to-head with 7th-12th: 12 games – Los Angeles (2), Colorado (3), Dallas (3), Calgary (2), Phoenix (2)
Completed season series with 7th-12th: None
Key injuries: F Mikko Koivu (shoulder) has resumed skating. F Guillaume Latendresse (concussion) is skating. F Pierre-Marc Bouchard (concussion) out indefinitely.

Outlook: The Wild hit the break on a positive note, winning two straight following a dismal 17-game stretch where they went 2-11-4. The Wild play 19 of their final 33 games at home, where they have posted a solid 13-6-3 record so far this season. Mikko Koivu and Guillaume Latendresse are skating and will be a boost to the Wild’s offense when they return.

9. Colorado Avalanche

Record: 26-23-2 (54 points)
Regulation/OT Wins: 19
Games Remaining: 31 (15 home, 16 road)
Back-to-backs: 3
Head-to-head with 7th-12th: 7 games – Los Angeles (1), Minnesota (3), Calgary (2), Phoenix (1)
Completed season series with 7th-12th: Dallas (Won five points to four points)
Key injuries: F Matt Duchene (knee) is out indefinitely.

Outlook: The Avalanche have 15 home games to 16 road games and only three back-to-backs the rest of the way, but 12 of their final 31 games are within the Northwest Division, against which they are 2-10-0 so far this season. Forward Matt Duchene may be at least a couple weeks away from returning from his knee injury.

10. Dallas Stars

Record: 25-21-2 (52 points)
Regulation/OT Wins: 22
Games Remaining: 34 (16 home, 18 road)
Back-to-backs: 6
Head-to-head with 7th-12th: 11 games – Los Angeles (1), Minnesota (3), Calgary (4), Phoenix (3)
Completed season series with 7th-12th: Colorado (Lost four points to five points)
Key injuries: F Brenden Morrow (neck) will return after break.

Outlook: The Stars will be as healthy as a team can be at this time of the season and will have a full lineup for the first time in a long time. February will be a key month for the Stars. They play 16 games in 29 days, including four back-to-backs. They are 0-7-1 in the second game of back-to-backs this season.

11. Calgary Flames

Record: 23-21-6 (52 points)
Regulation/OT Wins: 21
Games Remaining: 32 (19 home, 13 road)
Back-to-backs: 4
Head-to-head with 7th-12th: 14 games – Los Angeles (2), Minnesota (2), Colorado (2), Dallas (4), Phoenix (4)
Completed season series with 7th-12th: None
Key injuries: F Matt Stajan (ankle) and G Henrik Karlsson (knee) are day-to-day. F Curtis Glencross (MCL) expected to return late February/ early March. F David Moss (ankle) is out indefinitely.

Outlook: The Flames play 19 of their final 32 games at home, where they are 13-7-2 this season and 14 of their 32 games left come against teams ranked 7th through 12th in the Western Conference.

12. Phoenix Coyotes

Record: 22-20-8 (52 points)
Regulation/OT Wins: 20
Games Remaining: 32 (18 home, 14 road)
Back-to-backs: 3
Head-to-head with 7th-12th: 12 games – Los Angeles (2), Minnesota (2), Colorado (1), Dallas (3), Calgary (4)
Completed season series with 7th-12th: None
Key injuries: D Derek Morris (lower body) is day-to-day.

Outlook: Five of the Coyote’s first six games out of the break and 18 of their final 32 games are at home, but they have been a lackluster 10-9-4 at Jobing.com Arena this season. They are in pretty good shape on the injury-front coming out of the break.