Dallas Stars: Marc-Andre Fleury

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars played another strong game against a top team Wednesday night, but this time they couldn’t come with two points and had to settle for one, falling 4-3 in a shootout to Pittsburgh at American Airlines Center.

“I thought it was a really good hockey game,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “Both teams played hard and well. Unfortunately we couldn’t get the extra point.”

Wednesday’s game came after the Stars’ 3-2 overtime victory over Western Conference leading Vancouver on Sunday. That’s two straight games against quality opponents where the Stars went toe-to-toe with top teams, played very well and came away with points.

“That’s a good sign for our hockey club,” Gulutzan said. “I think we outshot both opponents here and thought the games were pretty even, both games. It’s an important thing for our psyche moving forward and into this last month of March or our last 18 games now.”

Wednesday’s loss ended the Stars’ winning streak at four games, but the point gave them a one point lead over Los Angeles and Colorado in the race for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

It was a playoff atmosphere Wednesday night as the game saw several momentum shifts over the course of 65 minutes of play plus the shootout.

“The building, the fans were really into it, you could feel it. It was kind of a back-and-forth game with the score and it was a fun game to be a part of there,” said Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski. “We couldn’t pull it out in the end, but we’ll take our point and move on.”

The Stars took a 1-0 lead with 4:35 left in the first period when Steve Ott set up Jamie Benn, who scored in his first game back after missing the previous six contests due to a leg injury.

“It was just hard work by my linemates and Otter made a good pass to find me in the slot and I just tried to get it off and it went good,” Benn said. “It felt good to get back out there with the guys.”

The Penguins tied it 1-1 with 1:07 left in the first. Pascal Dupuis sent a long pass to Steve Sullivan, who scored on a breakaway.

The two teams appeared to be headed to a scoreless second period, but the Stars scored off the rush with 12.2 seconds left in the period to take a 2-1 lead. Loui Eriksson set up Sheldon Souray, who beat Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury with a shot from the slot.

The Stars’ penalty kill came up big in the second period, stopping three Pittsburgh power plays. The Stars were 5-5 on the penalty kill for the game.

“PK was real good, real good. We needed that from that group,” said Gulutzan. “Against one of the better power plays and a real hot player I thought our PK was up to the test.”

The Penguins got goals from Craig Adams and Chris Kunitz 39 seconds apart early in the third to take a 3-2 lead, but the Stars bounced a little more than three minutes later when Eriksson made a pretty cross-crease pass to Michael Ryder, who scored with 12:37 remaining to tie the game at 3-3.

The Stars had 1:46 of power play in the overtime period, but couldn't take advantage. Pittsburgh won the shootout 3-2, getting goals from James Neal, Kunitz and Dupuis, while Eriksson and Benn scored for the Stars.

"I thought we played pretty good," said Benn. "I think we outplayed them 5-on-5, we just took too many penalties and we had our chance to win there in overtime on the power play and didn’t get it done."

The win was the fourth straight for the Penguins, who are in fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

"They’re a tough team. They definitely played a hard game," Penguins center Jordan Staal said of the Stars. "We were down for a while there and our power play wasn’t quite getting us the goals. We got a couple of big even strength goals and found a way to win it.”


*The Stars ended the month of February with an 8-5-3 record.

*The Stars were 5-5 on the penalty kill and 0-4 on the power play.

*Pittsburgh lost defenseman Kris Letang after he was hit high by Stars forward Eric Nystrom, who was given a roughing minor on the play.

*Pittsburgh also lost forward Steve Sullivan to a lower body injury during the game.

*Adam Pardy and Toby Petersen were healthy scratches for Dallas.

*Wednesday night’s attendance was 17,455.

Stars fall to Penguins in shootout, 4-3

February, 29, 2012
The Dallas Stars' four-game winning streak came to an end with a 4-3 shootout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins Wednesday night at American Airlines Center. Jamie Benn, Sheldon Souray and Michael Ryder scored goals for the Stars. Kari Lehtonen stopped 26 of 29 shots and one of four in the shootout. The Stars, who remain in eighth place in the Western Conference, finished February with an 8-5-3 record.

First period

The Stars scored first with 4:35 left in the first when Steve Ott got to the rebound of an Adam Burish shot and set up Jamie Benn, who beat Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury with a shot from the slot.

The Penguins tied it 1:07 before the first intermission when Pascal Dupuis set up Steve Sullivan on a breakaway and Sullivan beat Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen with a backhand shot.

Pittsburgh lost defenseman Kris Letang midway through the first period when he was hit high by Stars forward Eric Nystrom. The Penguins announced that Letang would not return with an upper body injury. Nystrom was given a minor for roughing.

The Stars’ penalty kill came up big in the period, going 2-2 against the Pittsburgh power play. The Stars had one power play chance, but couldn’t cash in.

Second period

The Penguins got their third power play early in the second period, and Fleury made a sharp glove save on Vernon Fiddler’s shorthanded breakaway. The Penguins came close to score on the power play, but an Evgeni Malkin backhand from a sharp angle hit the crossbar.

The Penguins got a fourth power play at the 4:32 mark of the second period, but the Stars were able to kill that one off and it remained a 1-1 game.

Pittsburgh got a fifth power play 8:40 into the second period, but again the Stars killed it off.

The Stars put together an impressive couple of shifts to keep Pittsburgh pinned in its own end and ended up drawing its second power play of the night, but the Stars couldn’t take advantage.

Fleury came up with another big save late in the period, stopping Adam Burish on a two-on-one with 1:08 left in the period.

But the Stars took a 2-1 lead with 12.2 seconds remaining with a goal off the rush. Loui Eriksson set up Sheldon Souray, who beat Fleury with a shot from the slot.

The Penguins announced in the second intermission that forward Steve Sullivan was out for the rest of the game with a lower body injury

Third period

The Penguins tied the game 3:33 into the third period. Jordan Staal got the puck along the right boards, skated into the slot and his shot was tipped past Lehtonen by Craig Adams.

The Penguins took the lead 39 seconds later when Paul Martin’s shot from the right point was deflected into the net by Chris Kunitz.

Less than a minute later the Stars had a chance to tie, but Fleury stopped Loui Eriksson’s breakaway bid.

The Stars did get the equalizer at the 7:23 mark when Eriksson drove the net and lifted a pass over the crease to Michael Ryder, who tapped it into the net to tie the game at 3-3.

The Stars went on their third power play with 11:36 after Malkin and Nystrom got in a scrum and Malkin picked up an extra roughing minor. The Stars had a great chance, but Fleury, while on down in the crease, stopped a close range bid by Ribeiro.

The Stars went on their fourth power play with 14 seconds remaining in regulation. The Stars didn’t score and the power play carried over into overtime.


The Stars couldn’t take advantage of the 1:46 of four-on-three power play time to open overtime.

During the four-on-four play, Fleury made a big stop on a point blank bid by Stephane Robidas and a Souray blast hit the crossbar with 44 seconds remaining.

In the shootout, Kunitz, James Neal and Dupuis scored for Pittsburgh. Eriksson and Benn scored for the Stars. Pittsburgh took the shootout 3-2 and the game 4-3.

Stars lineup



Lehtonen (starter)

Scratched: Pardy, Petersen
Injured: Dowell (finger), Morrow (neck/shoulder)
DALLAS -- The Pittsburgh Penguins are in town tonight to take on the Dallas Stars. It's another big game for the Stars, who are battling for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Jamie Benn will return to the Stars lineup after missing the last six games with a leg injury.

"I’m excited. You want to get back in there and help your team out to try and make a strong push for the playoffs," Benn said. "There’s two big points on the line tonight and we need them.”

Kari Lehtonen is in goal for the Stars and Marc-Andre Fleury will get the start for the Penguins.

Sidney Crosby, who is on injured reserve with concussion and neck issues, skated with the Penguins this morning at American Airlines Center.

Jake Dowell (broken finger) skated at the AAC this morning. Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said Dowell is one week away. Stars captain Brenden Morrow is expected to start skating later this week and could be ready after the Stars return from their upcoming road trip.

Here's the Stars projected lineup:




Postgame notes

November, 12, 2011
Some notes on Friday’s game that saw the Dallas Stars fall 3-1 at Pittsburgh.

Special teams key: The Stars won the five-on-five battle, at least on the scoreboard, 1-0, but the game turned on special teams. All three Pittsburgh goals came as the result of penalties on Dallas. Pittsburgh was 2-5 on the power play and scored on a penalty shot as well. Whether the calls were good ones or bad ones, the Penguins executed better on special teams. The Stars have now allowed seven power play goals over the last four games and are 16-23 (69.6%) on the PK during that stretch. The Stars were 0-2 on the power play. It’s only the second time in the last seven games the Stars have failed to score on the PP. Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has not allowed a power play goal this season in 40 shorthanded situations.

Turning point: No goal, no problem for Penguins: Both Pittsburgh power play goals by James Neal came just moments after the Penguins had apparent power play goals waved off. The first one was nullified because the puck was deflected in by a Chris Kunitz high stick. The second one was waved off because Kunitz interfered with Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen. In each case the Penguins persevered and scored. The first one tied the game and the second one ended up being the game-winner.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a better response from a team and the guys, both in preparing themselves to go back out when it was a no-goal call and then going out and executing with the rest of the power play,” Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. “That’s pretty impressive to get back out there and not put your head down, get ready to execute and take advantage of what was left. They were both very big goals for us.”

Video review explanation: Here was the NHL’s explanation (provided by Stars PR) on the video review of the Pittsburgh goal that was waved off late in the second period due to being deflected into the net by a high stick:
“At 17:32 of the second period in the Penguins/Stars game, video review proved inconclusive. Therefore referee Furlatt's call on the ice -- that Penguins forward Chris Kunitz deflected the puck into the net with his stick above the crossbar -- stands. No goal Pittsburgh.”
Nystrom continues to roll: Stars forward Eric Nystrom continues his goal scoring roll. He ran his goal scoring streak to four games and now has five in the last six games. With his five goals this season, Nystrom has surpassed his total for all of last season, which was four in 82 games with Minnesota.

Benn line Staaled: The Jamie Benn line, which has been tearing it up lately, was held off the score sheet Friday night. Benn, who had no shots on goal in the game, had a six-game points streak snapped. Loui Eriksson had four shots on goal, but his five-game points streak ended. Michael Ryder, who had seven points over the last three games, had no shots on goal. Give some credit to Pittsburgh’s Jordan Staal line(Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis on the wings), which went head-to-head with Benn’s line most of the night. The defense pairings of Paul Martin-Kris Letang and Brooks Orpik-Deryk Engelland played a big role, too.

Statistical tidbits: The Stars fell to 7-3-0 when scoring first. … The Stars are now 6-3-0 when tied after two periods. … The Stars suffered their first loss of the season against the Eastern Conference and are now 3-1-0 against the East.

Sluggish Stars fall in Pittburgh

November, 11, 2011
Friday night’s game in Pittsburgh was another measuring stick for the Dallas Stars, and this time they came up short. Former Star James Neal scored two power play goals to lead the Penguins past the Stars 3-1, snapping Dallas’ winning streak at four games.

“We were stale in the first ten minutes. We weren’t skating, we weren’t moving our feet. I thought our D were stagnant. It took us a while to get going,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “I think that was the key, we just didn’t come out and establish our game. Give them credit, they came out and played the way they wanted to play.”

Although the Stars came out slow, they were able to grab a lead 16 minutes into the game and held that lead until about the 38 minute mark, but three penalties over a 12 minute span led to two power play goals by Neal and a penalty shot goal by Matt Cooke that turned a 1-0 Dallas lead into a 3-1 edge for the Penguins that they would make stand for the rest of the night.

“We knew we had to stay away from that penalty kill tonight, but every time we turned around we were in the box,” said Gulutzan. “If you are going against a 22 or 23 percent power play, our plan was to keep our penalties to under three or four. We didn’t.”

It was a rough night on the blue line for the Stars, who lost Alex Goligoski after the first period and then Mark Fistric late in the second. Goligoski did not return after taking a puck off the hand. He is returning to Dallas for X-rays and could be out “a bit,” according to Gulutzan. Fistric was hit in the throat by a puck, but did return for the third period.

Pittsburgh had the territorial advantage and a 13-5 edge in shots over the first period, but the Stars scored the only goal. Off the rush, Radek Dvorak made a slick backhand center pass from the left wing that Eric Nystrom chipped over Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury at the 16:02 mark.

The Penguins tied the game in the second period with their first power play tally of the night. Seconds after a goal was waved off for Chris Kunitz tipping it in with a high stick, Neal scored off a blast from the left circle to make it a 1-1 game with 2:04 left in the second.

Pittsburgh took the lead with a power play goal at 7:19 of the third. Again, it happened a short time after an apparently power play goal by Kunitz was waved off, this one for goalie interference. The Penguins scored the actual goal when Neal’s pass for Kunitz deflected off the stick of Fistric and into the net. The goal was credited to Neal, his second of the night and 11th of the season.

“It’s always nice to get it against your former team,” Neal said. “The main thing is us playing a top team and beating them. They came in here to play us hard and we came back and played a great game ourselves.”

Just 2:09 later the Penguins went up 3-1 when Matt Cooke scored on a penalty shot, showing backhand and then beating Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen with a wrist shot on his first career penalty shot.

“He (Lehtonen) has never seen me. Neither has any other goalie, except for our two,” Cooke joked.

The Stars pulled Lehtonen late in the game for the extra attacker, but couldn’t cut into the Pittsburgh lead and suffered just their second loss in the last seven games and just their fourth in 15 to start the season.

“We just had a tough time getting our legs going tonight,” said Nystrom. “Those nights happen and it’s disappointing because you’re on a stage like that with a chance to show your best and play your best. That’s the most disappointing thing because we know we are a lot better team than that. It’s just one of those nights.”

And now it's on to Detroit, where they'll play the Red Wings Saturday night.

"Tonight, I thought we got outworked,"Gulutzan said. "I don't want to see that happen tomorrow night."


*Stars forward Steve Ott missed his fourth straight game with a hip pointer.

*Adam Pardy and Jake Dowell were healthy scratches for the Stars.

Friday update: Stars vs. Penguins

November, 11, 2011

The Dallas Stars take on the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight in a matchup of the conference leaders.

Stars coach Glen Gulutzan talked about the matchup and the formula for success.

“For me personally, I am not only really excited to play this team, but to watch them," he said. "A team that has had this much success for a long time , it’s going to be a good measuring stick for us. This is one of the three games we talked about -- Washington, this one and Detroit. It’s a good way to measure yourself.”

Gulutzan continued: “We don’t want to play and east-west game. We want to play north-south. It’s a pretty simple game. We want to get pucks deep, slashing and getting pucks to the net. And we need to work back real hard to the other end.”

Brenden Morrow, who missed yesterday’s practice with an elbow injury, is fine and will play tonight.

“Brenden’s a go,” Gulutzan said. “He fell on his elbow and got some stitches. You know that is not going to hold him out.”

Mark Fistric stays in the lineup and Adam Pardy is the scratch on defense. Jake Dowell will be the scratch at forward and Krys Barch will be in the lineup.

“Barch has played with lots of energy and been physical for us,” said Gulutzan.

Steve Ott (hip pointer) will miss his fourth straight game and will be out for Saturday’s game in Detroit as well.

Kari Lehtonen starts in goal for the Stars and it will be Marc-Andre Fleury for the Penguins.

Niskanen set to face Stars

Pittsburgh defenseman Matt Niskanen, who was along with James Neal was part of the deal that brought Alex Goligoski to Dallas, will be facing his former team for the first time Friday night.

“It’s a new experience for me. I’ve never played against a former NHL team,” Niskanen said. “I have lots of good friends over there, lots of old friends. I’m excited to play against them and play my best so we can beat them.”

Niskanen was asked if he knows how much things have changed under Gulutzan.

“From what I have heard, it’s a big change over there,” Niskanen said. “The way they are on the bench, the way they play in practice and their attitude around the rink. It’s been a dramatic change with the coaching change and the results of how they’ve been playing. It’s been a good one for that group and they are responding really well.”

Quotable: Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma on the Stars

“We’re playing a team we don’t see very much, but the team that is leading the league in points. They’ve been playing very well. Their forward lines of Ryder-Eriksson-Benn have been outstanding and deserving of the All-Star bids that they’ve gotten. Benn with his speed, shot and ability has been dominant. Their defense has been playing very well. Souray has come back and playing with a vengeance. You see how good his shot can be, but he’s also playing well defensively. Their goaltender (Lehtonen) has found his groove and playing very well. It’s a tough task tonight. The two top teams in each conference. I’m looking forward to that matchup.”