Dallas Stars: Kyle Wellwood

Stars get it done in San Jose

March, 6, 2011
3/06/11
1:36
AM CT

After giving up late game-tying goals the last two games, the Dallas Stars made sure it didn’t happen a third straight time Saturday night.

The Stars rallied to take lead in the final period and then protected that lead over the final seven minutes to defeat the San Jose Sharks 3-2.

“I thought the way we played at the end to protect the lead was much better,” said Stars coach Marc Crawford. “We did a lot of good things tonight.”

The Stars improved to 2-0-1 on their current road trip, which wraps up Monday in Los Angeles. They also ran their points streak to five games (4-0-1). The two points they picked up in San Jose pushed them into sixth place in the Western Conference and ended the Sharks' winning streak at eight games.

The Stars, playing the second game of a back-to-back, trailed 2-1 going into the third period, but Loui Eriksson scored a goal off a rebound to tie the game with 12:23 remaining and then Jason Williams scored his first goal as a Star, coming out from behind the goal line and firing a shot on net that bounced off traffic and through the legs of Sharks goalie Antti Niemi.

“It was a big win for the team,” Williams said. “I feel that when I can use my shot it makes it difficult for the goaltender. It’s just going out there and making the most of your opportunity.”

After that the Stars found themselves in a situation that hasn't been kind to them lately -- protecting a lead late in the game. In each of the last two games they've given up a late game-tying goal.

But the Stars didn’t buckle on this night. Goaltender Kari Lehtonen came up with some big saves and the Stars’ penalty kill, which was 3-for-3 in the game, thwarted a late San Jose power play and then with Niemi pulled for the extra attacker kept the Sharks from getting the equalizer.

“It starts and ends with your goaltender making the saves that he has to make, and he had to make a few tonight,” Crawford said of Lehtonen, who made 29 saves in the game.

“We lost leads the last couple of games, so it was nice to show that we could do it,” Lehtonen said. “It was a good team effort and a nice win.”

The Stars took an early lead in the game when Jamie Benn scored a shorthanded goal, his third of the season and the team’s eighth. Benn knocked down a long Stephane Robidas pass out of midair, broke in all alone on net and scored off a backhand shot at the 1:19 mark of the game.

The Sharks tied the game on Kyle Wellwood goal midway through the first and then took the lead on a Patrick Marleau goal early in the second period.

“Anytime you’re behind a goal in an opposition building and you find a way to win, you are doing something special,” said Crawford. “We were tired tonight. It was the back end of a back-to-back and the back end of three in four nights. Again, it was a real gutsy, gritty effort by our group.”

Langenbrunner misses game

Stars forward Jamie Langenbrunner missed the game with an upper body injury he sustained in Friday night’s game against Anaheim.

Center Brad Richards (concussion-like symptoms) and defenseman Nicklas Grossman (hip) both missed Saturday’s game as well. Richards and Grossman have missed the last nine games.

Brian Sutherby was back in the lineup Saturday after sitting out the last four games.

Stars rally to down Sharks, 3-2

March, 5, 2011
3/05/11
10:20
PM CT
The Dallas Stars improved to 2-0-1 on their current road trip and ran their points streak to five games, rallying to beat the San Jose Sharks 3-2 Saturday night. Jamie Benn, Loui Eriksson and Jason Williams scored for the Stars, who moved into sixth place in the Western Conference with the two points. Kari Lehtonen made 29 saves. San Jose had an eight-game winning streak come to an end.

Quotable

“It was a gritty effort. Anytime you’re behind a goal in an opposition building and you find a way to win you are doing something special. We were tired tonight. It was the back end of a back-to-back and the back end of three in four nights. Again, it was a real gutsy, gritty effort by our group.” – Stars coach Marc Crawford

“We lost leads the last couple of games, so it was nice to show that we could do it. … It was a good team effort and a nice win.” – Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen.

“I thought the way we played at the end to protect the lead was much better. We did a lot of good things tonight.” – Stars coach Marc Crawford

“I didn’t’ think we were sharp enough especially early, the first period, it took us too long to get in and we wasted some valuable minutes when we thought we could maybe establish some momentum.” – Sharks coach Todd McLellan

*The Stars improved to 20-5-7 in games decided by one goal.

*The Stars are 8-18-2 when trailing after two periods. The eight wins lead the league.

*The Stars have won 11 of the last 16 games in San Jose.

*Alex Goligoski led the Stars with 27:41 of ice time, his second straight game of playing more than 27 minutes.

*Stars forward Jamie Benn has points in 10 of his last 13 games (7 goals, 7 assists).

*Benn's shorthanded goal was his third of the season and the team's eighth.

*Stars forward Loui Eriksson extended his points streak to five games (4 goals, 2 assists).

First period

The Stars went shorthanded 1:00 into the game, but scored shorthanded to take the early lead. Jamie Benn made a great play to snag a long pass from Stephane Robidas, broke in on net all alone and beat Sharks goalie Antti Niemi for his third shorthanded goal of the season at the 1:19 mark.

But the Sharks bounced make to tie midway through the period. Torrey Mitchell got to a rebound off the end boards, centered it and Kyle Wellwood tipped it past Kari Lehtonen to make it a 1-1 game.

The Stars were without Jamie Langenbrunner (upper body), Brad Richards (concussion-like symptoms) and Nicklas Grossman (hip).

The Sharks were without defensemen Dan Boyle (upper) body and Kent Huskins (upper body) and center Scott Nichol (upper body).

Second period

The Sharks took the lead at the 1:22 mark of the second period when Patrick Marleau finished off a two-on-one break to make it a 2-1 game.

The Stars got their first power play chance of the game two minutes later and created some good chances, but couldn’t cash in. Sharks goalie Antti Niemi made a nice glove save on Alex Goligoski and Jeff Woywitka hit a post.

Third period

The Stars killed off a San Jose power play to open the third period and then tied the game at the 7:37 mark when Loui Eriksson scored off the rebound of a Mark Fistric shot from the right point.

The Stars took the lead with 7:12 remaining in game when Jason Williams came out from behind the net and his centering pass bounced off traffic and through the legs of Niemi to give the Stars a 3-2 lead.

Dallas’ penalty kill, which was 3-3 in the game, came up big in the final minutes of the game, killing off a San Jose power play chance to preserve the lead.

Stars lineup

Morrow-Ribeiro-Burish/Petersen/Eriksson
Eriksson-Benn-Vincour
Eriksson-Wandell-Williams
Sutherby-Petersen-Barch

Goligoski-Robidas
Woywitka-Daley
Skrastins-Fistric

Lehtonen
Raycroft (backup)

Scratched: Injured: Langenbrunner (upper body), Richards (concussion-like symptoms), Grossman (hip)

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