Dallas Stars: Kyle Brodziak

The Dallas Stars continue to roll along and so does goaltender Kari Lehtonen. The Dallas netminder stopped 25 shots for his second straight shutout and his third in his last nine starts as the Stars ran their winning streak to six games and their points streak to 11 games (10-0-1).

“The last month he’s brought his game to a new level,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “Yeah, the shutout, but just how clean he was with the rebound control I think is what was most impressive. He’s given the guys the belief that he’s not going to let any in.”

Over his last nine starts Lehtonen is 8-0-1 with a 1.29 goals against average, .955 save percentage and three shutouts.

“He stops every puck pretty much,” said Stars forward Jamie Benn, who scored the game’s only goal. “The guy is a workhorse. He is unbelievable back there and, once again, he showed it tonight.”

Lehtonen wasn’t tested often, but he came up with some key stops, making saves on Erik Christensen and Kyle Brodziak’s rebound attempt in the second period. And then with 3.2 seconds left in the game he denied Brodziak’s bid to tie the game with a point blank shot.

“One heck of a save,” said Gulutzan. “The only thing I didn’t like about it was he looked behind him, but he had it squeezed in there tight. But that gives a coach a heart attack. That’s just the kind of goaltending we’ve been getting from Kari.”

Lehtonen is currently on a 128:32 shutout streak.

“We played really solid, especially five-on-five,” said Lehtonen. ”They got a couple of chances on the power play. It was just good to get the win and just enough goals for us.”

The lone goal of the game at 3:46 of the third period and just after the Stars killed off Minnesota’s fourth power play of the game. With Dallas on the rush, a Brenden Morrow pass deflected off a Minnesota stick and right onto the stick of Benn, who roofed a shot over Wild goalie Matt Hackett.

“It deflected off something there and I tried to get it to the net as fast as I could,” Benn said. “It came off my stick pretty hot there.”

And the goal kept the Stars hot. The six-game winning streak is one short of the franchise mark of seven. It also was their sixth straight win on the road. They upped their lead in the Pacific Division to four points and increased their lead over ninth place in the Western Conference to five points.

The win wasn’t a Picasso, as the saying goes, but it was two points and in the West, where teams chasing the Stars keep picking up points, they were two key points.

“In the end we got two points and that’s what we came here for,” said Benn. “We’re not trying to make it pretty out there. We’re just trying to keep it ugly, play a simple game and that’s why we are successful right now.”


*The Stars were 4-4 on the penalty kill in the game. They are 34-35 (97.1%) on the PK over their last 11 games.

*Stars defenseman Sheldon Souray (lower body) and right wing Radek Dvorak (ankle) missed Tuesday’s game.

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

*Stars forward Michael Ryder had his nine-game points streak snapped.

*The back-to-back shutouts by Kari Lehtonen were the first for the Stars since December 2006, when Marty Turco shutout San Jose and Phoenix in consecutive games.

Stars top Wild for sixth straight win

March, 13, 2012

The Dallas Stars ran their winning streak to six games and their points streak to 11 (10-0-1) with a 1-0 victory at Minnesota on Tuesday night. Kari Lehtonen stopped 25 shots for his second consecutive shutout and fourth of the season. Jamie Benn scored the lone goal for the Stars, who won their sixth straight game on the road.

First period

The Stars outshot the Wild 10-8 in the first period, but there weren’t a lot of quality chances. Wild goalie Matt Hackett had nice stops on a close-range bid by Adam Pardy and stopped a close-in rebound attempt by Michael Ryder.

The Wild had the period’s only power play, and Lehtonen made a great save on a Dany Heatley shot from the top of the crease.

Second period

Both teams had nine shots in the second period, but again no scoring. Both goaltenders had sharp saves in the second.

Lehtonen made a nice stop on Erik Christensen and then Kyle Brodziak’s rebound attempt.

Hackett had key saves on Tom Wandell, Mike Ribeiro and Loui Eriksson.

Both teams were 0-2 on the power play, and there was a lot of four-on-four play in the period, as well.

Third period

The Stars killed off a 1:18 Wild power play early in the second and then scored the game’s only goal at even strength.

Off the rush, Brenden Morrow set up Jamie Benn, who roofed a shot over Hackett at the 3:46 mark of the second period.

Lehtonen stopped eight shots in the third, none bigger than a save on a point blank shot Brodziak with 3.2 seconds remaining in the game.

Stars lineup



Lehtonen (starter)

Injured: Souray (lower body), Dvorak (ankle)
Scratched: Petersen, Dowell, Jordie Benn

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars honored former goaltender Ed Belfour for his Hall of Fame induction Saturday night, and then current Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen put on a show of his own in leading Dallas to a 2-1 shootout victory over the Minnesota Wild at American Airlines Center.

Lehtonen stopped 33 of 34 shots in regulation and overtime and then two of three in the shootout for the Stars, who have won three of their last four games.

"(Belfour) was one of those goalies that I used to look up to when I was a little kid and I was fortunate enough to play against him a couple of times," Lehtonen said. "He's one of my heroes and it was nice to see him out there and get recognition. It was a good way to start the game.”

Lehtonen has won his last three starts, allowing just three goals and stopping 93 of 96 shots.

“It was a nice, tight game. They got a few chances, I made some saves and was lucky a couple times,” Lehtonen said. “I think our penalty kill was really good, too. That helped us. Overall, it was a fun game for me, lots of shots and two points at the end.”

The shootout victory, in which the eighth place Wild received one point, pulled the Stars to within two points of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

“We would have liked to picked up two points on them, but we closed the gap and that’s what we’re trying to do,” said Stars forward Eric Nystrom. “There’s a lot of hockey left.”

Mike Ribeiro scored on the power play in regulation and Loui Eriksson and Jamie Benn tallied in the shootout for the Stars.

The Stars got a big performance from their special teams. The penalty kill was 4-4, including a stop on Minnesota power play that started late in regulation and carried over into the overtime.

“Our PK was really big,” said Gulutzan. “I thought we did a really good job.”

The power play scored for the third straight game and provided the Stars’ only goal. That came when Mike Ribeiro scored off a rebound in the second period.

“We’ve just simplified a little bit. We’re not trying to make those nice plays,” said Ribeiro. “We just simplified. Bring the puck to the point, get shots through and converge to the net and get those rebounds.”

The Stars had some issues early in the game as turnovers led to some quality chances for the Wild. Lehtonen came up with two big stops on Minnesota’s Dany Heatley in the first period.

It was a turnover in the third period that led to Minnesota’s only goal. After an errant pass by Stars forward Jake Dowell, Minnesota’s Kyle Brodziak cashed in on a point blank chance to tie the game at 1-1.

In the shootout, Eriksson scored off a backhand shot against Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom and Benn scored off a wrist shot. Lehtonen stopped Erik Christensen, surrendered a goal to Matt Cullen and then stopped Jared Spurgeon to secure the victory.

While it was a big win for the Stars, Gulutzan saw a need for an improvement as the Stars move forward down the stretch drive.

“We relied on our goalie a lot. We have to be better,” Gulutzan said. “I’m ecstatic about the two points and it’s going to help us, but we have a different level we need to get to.”


*The Stars improved to 4-2 in shootouts this season.

*The Stars are now 15-0-0 when leading after two periods this season.

*The Stars are 3-7 (42.9%) on the power play since the All-Star break.

*Mark Fistric, Adam Pardy and Toby Petersen were healthy scratches for the Stars.

*Saturday’s attendance was 18.532, which is a sellout.

The Dallas Stars got the start they wanted Saturday night, but it was a one minute stretch of the second period that doomed then in a 5-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild at Excel Energy Center.

The Stars, who had a 2-1 lead in the game, surrendered three goals in a 59-second span, found themselves down 4-2 and could never recover.

“It’s tough. You want to respond after a team scores a goal, but when they bang a few back-to-back, it's definitely demoralizing,” Stars forward Eric Nystrom. “It gets in your psyche and momentum is huge in this game. They got on a roll and we couldn't stop it.”

The loss pushed the Stars’ winless streak to five games (0-4-1) and dropped them to 11th place in the Western Conference standings, four points out of the final playoff spot. The Stars trail ninth place Minnesota by three points.

“We are fighting for the playoffs and this is one of teams we wanted to leapfrog them with a win tonight,” said Stars captain Brenden Morrow. “Now we are three points back. We’ve got them again in a couple of weeks. Hopefully this sits in and we have some motivation.”

The Stars were excellent in the first period, outshooting the Wild 11-5 and getting the period’s only goal when Nystrom tipped a Stephane Robidas shot into the net with 1:22 left in the first to give the Stars a 1-0 lead.

But in the second period, things started to unravel for the Stars. Minnesota, which has been struggling to score recently, cashed in on its first power play to tie the game when Devin Setoguchi scored from the right circle. The Stars got the lead back on a Philip Larsen goal, but after that things completely fell apart for Dallas.

The Wild scored three quick goals to build a 4-2 lead. Cal Clutterbuck scored off a backhand shot from close range to tie the game 2-2, Chad Rau put a wrap-around shot in off Morrow’s stick to make it 3-2 and wide open Kyle Brodziak scored on a one-timer to give the Wild a 4-2 lead.

“I guess if I could get a rewind on that, after they got that 3-2 goal I maybe should have called a timeout. But I thought we could handle it as a group. That’s probably the rewind for me,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “Otherwise, we had a good 28 minutes going there, playing the way we wanted to play and we gave them life. A couple little sloppy plays, one on the penalty kill cost us a goal. Just around the net. That’s it. That’s the ballgame.”

Gulutzan pulled goaltender Kari Lehtonen, who stopped 15 of 19 shots, after two period and brought in backup Richard Bachman in hopes of changing momentum.

“[Lehtonen] made some big saves for us and we hung him to dry,” Gulutzan said. “I wasn’t going to change Kari with four minutes left in the second, he’s been too good for us to do that. That was a message to our guys that we need to be better. Then on the first shift or second shift we give up a two-on-one. I guess we did it to both guys.”

The Wild extended the lead to 5-2 early in the third period when Warren Peters set up Dany Heatley on a two-on-one rush.

The victory snapped a four-game winless streak for the Wild, who won for just the third time in their last 18 games.

For the Stars, they’ve followed up solid efforts against St. Louis and Detroit earlier in the week with rocky outings against Tampa Bay and Minnesota.

“That’s called inconsistency. You’re not going to be where you want to be if you are playing inconsistent hockey,” said Nystrom. “We had a good first 20 minutes and then we just drift away from our game plan. It eats you up. We’ve got to find a way to be more consistent in our game night in, night out, every shift. It’s not easy. That’s why some teams are where they are and why some teams aren’t where they want to be. It’s little inconsistencies.”


*The Stars are now 0-7-1 in second game of back-to-backs this season.

*D Philip Larsen was back in the lineup after sitting out the last nine games due to a concussion. He scored his first NHL goal in the game.

*Eric Nystrom’s goal was his 14th of the season.

*Mike Ribeiro (knee) missed his sixth straight game for the Stars and Jamie Benn (appendectomy) missed his fourth straight.

*Mark Fistric and Adam Pardy were healthy scratches for the Stars.

*The last time Minnesota scored four goals in a period was January 2010.
The Dallas Stars’ winless streak hit five games (0-4-1) with a 5-2 loss at Minnesota Saturday. The Stars held a 2-1 lead in the second period, but the Wild scored three goals in a 59 second span to take a 4-2 lead. Kari Lehtonen played the first two periods and stopped 15 of 19 shots. Richard Bachman played the third period and stopped 6 of 7 shots. Eric Nystrom and Philip Larsen scored for the Stars. Larsen’s goal was the first of his NHL career. The Wild, who won for just the third time in the last 18 games, snapped a four-game winless streak and moved three points ahead of the Stars in the Western Conference standings.

First period

The Stars outshot the Wild 11-5 in the period and scored the only goal with 1:22 left before the first intermission.

Stephane Robidas put a shot on net from the right point and Eric Nystrom, acquired from the Wild earlier in the season, tipped it past Minnesota goaltender Josh Harding.

Second period

The Wild tied the game by cashing in on their first power play chance of the game. Devin Setoguchi scored from the right circle at 9:06 of the second period to make it a 1-1 game.

Less than two minutes later the Stars were back on top. Alex Goligoski’s shot from the left point was blocked by Kyle Brodziak and went right to Philip Larsen, who rifled the puck into the net from just inside the blue line at the 11:03 mark.

The Wild then rattled off three goals in 59 seconds to build a 4-2 lead. Matt Cullen tipped a loose puck in the slot to Cal Clutterbuck, who scored from close range to tie the game at the 13:37 mark.

Just 14 seconds later, Chad Rau to got a loose puck behind the Dallas net and his wrap-around shot went off the stick of Brenden Morrow and into the net to give the Wild their first lead of the night.

Forty-five seconds later, Dany Heatley sent a cross-ice pass to Brodziak, who one-timed the puck into the open side of the net to give Minnesota a 4-2 lead.

Third period

Richard Bachman took over in goal for Kari Lehtonen in goal for the Stars to start the third period, and Minnesota scored 1:29 into the period to make it a 5-2 game.

With the Wild on a two-on-one, Warren Peters set up Heatley, who put the puck into the open side of the net.

Stars lineup



Lehtonen (starter)

Scratched: Fistric, Pardy
Injured: Benn (appendectomy), Ribeiro (knee)