Dallas Stars: Martin Erat

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars headed into the NHL’s Christmas break with two big points, knocking off the Nashville Predators 6-3 at American Airlines Center Friday night.

“We were all talking that if we could two points tonight it would be a nice two days we could have for Christmas where a guy doesn’t have to search for answers,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “It was a nice win here and getting 20 wins at Christmas was a nice way to have a break.”

The win gave the Stars a 2-1-0 record on their three-game homestand, pushed their record to 20-13-1 on the season and took two points away from a key Western Conference rival. With the victory the Stars moved a point ahead of the Predators in the standings.

The Stars started strong Friday, scoring three goals in a 3:05 span of the first period to chase Nashville starter Pekka Rinne from the net.

“We knew they played last night and that was one of our keys, getting on them right away,” said Stars center Vernon Fiddler. “I thought the guys were getting the pucks deep right off the bat and playing a simple game.”

Fiddler opened the scoring at the 9:25 mark. Radek Dvorak tipped the rebound of a Sheldon Souray shot to Fiddler, who beat Rinne with a shot from the right circle.

Just 1:16 later Loui Eriksson scored off the rush from the left circle to put the Stars up 2-0.

The Stars had a 3-0 lead 1:49 later when Steve Ott tipped home a Trevor Daley point shot, ending the night for Rinne, who surrendered three goals on seven shots and was replaced by Anders Lindback.

Gulutzan liked the strong start for the Stars, but he really liked the way the Stars scored their goals.

“We were shooting the puck. We had traffic, a tip in and a couple deflections. Those are the type of goals we need,” he said. “We scored a couple pretty ones and a couple ugly ones. We need to score more ugly goals. We always look for the pretty plays. It was nice. That was our battle cry here at the start of the game and it was nice to see it executed.”

The Predators, who rallied from a 4-1 deficit Thursday night to defeat Columbus, made a game of it in the second, scoring twice in less than three minutes to cut Dallas’ lead to 3-2.

Matt Halischuk scored off a scramble in front of Stars goalie Richard Bachman at the 8:56 mark to make it a 3-1 game. Martin Erat scored off a one-timer with Nashville on a five-on-three power play at 11:45 of the second to pull the Predators within 3-2.

But the Stars extended the lead to 4-2 less than three minutes later when Brenden Morrow sent a pass from the left boards to Mike Ribeiro, who scored from the right circle at 14:10 of the period.

The Predators scored their second power play of the game at 4:38 of the third to make it a 4-3 game. Colin Wilson set up David Legwand, who put the puck into the open side of the net from close range.

But the Stars answered 30 seconds later when Eriksson set up Jamie Benn, who beat Lindback from close range to give the Stars a 5-3 lead.

“Ribby’s goal was real big and then Benny’s line answers in the third,” said Gulutzan. “Those things take a bite out of an attack of a visiting team, especially on that is playing its second game in as many nights. Those response goals by us hurt any team and I am sure they really hurt Nashville.”

Predators coach Barry Trotz agreed, those response goals hurt his team.

"You're battling back, gaining momentum, the next shift is crucial,” Trotz said. “We did that twice, and that's unacceptable if you want to win the game. We've got to firm up.''

The loss was just the second in the last eight games for the Predators (6-2-0). For the Stars it was their fifth win in the last seven games (5-2-0).

“These last seven games we were 5-2, and that was a big push for us,” Gulutzan said. “We exceeded our expectations in these seven.”


*Stars defenseman Sheldon Souray left the game early in the second period with an ankle injury. He will be re-evaluated after the break, but Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said the injury did not appear serious.

*Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas missed his second straight game with a foot injury. Tomas Vincour (knee) and Kari Lehtonen (groin) also missed the game due to injury.

*Stars defenseman Philip Larsen returned to the lineup after missing two games with a charley horse.

*The Stars dressed seven defensemen and eleven forwards in the game. Toby Petersen and Jake Dowell were the healthy scratches for Dallas.

*Stars forward Adam Burish was shaken up after being hit hard into the boards by Nashville’s Blake Geoffrion in the third period. Gulutzan said Burish was fine. Geoffrion received a minor penalty for boarding.

*Friday’s attendance was 15,245

Stars fall to Predators, 4-2

March, 26, 2011

The Dallas Stars’ winless streak hit three games (0-1-2) and they fell to 2-3-3 in their last eight games with a 4-2 loss at Nashville on Saturday night.

The loss left the Stars in ninth place in the Western Conference for the time being. Nashville won its sixth straight game and moved six points ahead of the Stars in the standings. Los Angeles, a winner earlier in the day, also moved six points ahead of Dallas.

Alex Goligoski and Brenden Morrow scored for the Stars. Mike Ribeiro had two assists. Kari Lehtonen stopped 28 shots.


“Our work ethic was there tonight. We had guys battling. We made a couple of mistakes and they capitalized on a couple of those plays. It was a one-goal game. It was exactly what we thought it was going to be, we just ended up on the wrong side of it. We have to keep persevering and we will.” – Stars coach Marc Crawford

“The last few games has been execution. Our battle level is there. We’re trying to do everything for the good of the group, it is just execution, over-trying or whatever it is. I’ve said it before, there’s lots of hockey. Win or lose tonight, we weren’t in the playoffs. We know that this road trip is a huge part of the season and we’re going to keep battling.” – Stars center Brad Richards


*The Stars are 8-11-5 since the All-Star break.

*The Predators are 14-8-4 since the All-Star break.

*The Stars had a five-game points streak on the road snapped.

*The Stars and Predators split the season series with each team picking up four points.

*Alex Goligoski has scored a goal in three straight games.

*Goligoski played 31:54 in the game.

*Mike Ribeiro had two assists in the game and now has 13 points (4 goals, 9 assists) in the last nine games.

*The Stars won 25 of 58 faceoffs (43%).

First period

The Stars opened the scoring at the 8:49 mark by cashing in on their first power play chance of the game. After some good work along the boards by Brenden Morrow and Mike Ribeiro, Loui Eriksson sent a cross-ice pass to Alex Goligoski, who scored from the bottom of the right faceoff circle.

The Predators countered with an even strength goal at the 14:26 mark. After the Stars couldn’t clear their zone, Martin Erat centered the puck from behind the net and David Legwand banged it past Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen to make it a 1-1 game.

Krys Barch was a healthy scratch for Dallas. Adam Burish (leg), Nicklas Grossman (knee), Karlis Skrastins (leg laceration) and Brian Sutherby (back) remained out with injuries.

Second period

The Predators pushed hard early in the second, the Stars were a mess in their own zone and Nashville took a 2-1 lead at the 2:33 mark when Mike Fisher scored off a blast from the right faceoff circle.

The Stars pulled even when Brenden Morrow’s centering pass from behind the goal line hit a Nashville stick, Predators goalie Pekka Rinne’s head and then dropped into the net to make it a 2-2 game at the 4:07 mark.

A few minutes later Rinne made a nice save a Brandon Segal point blank to keep it a 2-2 game.

Nashville took the lead again at the 9:57 mark when the Stars turned over the puck in their own end, Ryan Suter put a shot on net and Fisher backhanded the rebound into the net.

Third period

Both teams had power play chances in the first half of the period, but neither could take advantage.

The Stars got their big chance to tie with 2:00 left when Suter took hooking penalty, but the Stars could cash in on the chance. They pulled Kari Lehtonen for the extra attacker and Legwand scored into the empty net with four seconds remaining to make it a 4-2 final.

Stars lineup



Raycroft (backup)

Injured: Grossman (knee), Skrastins (leg), Burish (leg), Sutherby (back)

Scratches: Barch

Power play units


Penalty kill units


A night of scoreboard watching

March, 20, 2011
The Dallas Stars started Sunday in sixth place, but by the time the night was over they had fallen into ninth place.

But while the Stars are in ninth place, they are only one point out of fifth place. That’s how tight it is right now.

And the Stars have games this week against two of the teams that moved ahead of them Sunday night. They play Anaheim Wednesday at American Airlines Center and then they play at Nashville on Saturday. They still have a game at Anaheim and games at Los Angeles and Phoenix as well.

“We don’t control what other teams do,” Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas said after Saturday’s 3-2 shootout loss to Philadelphia. “All we control is how we prepare and how we play. If you look at all the upcoming games it’s all teams that if we win those games, they don’t get points and we get points that we’ve got to have. I think we have control over the situation. It’s not like we have to win and hope the other teams lose.”

The Stars didn’t have control over what happened Sunday and it didn’t go their way as far as where they ended up in the standings at the end of the day, but it was a pretty exciting day of hockey with late game-tying goals and overtime victories.

Here’s how it went.

6:34 p.m.: Martin Erat caps off a spectacular Nashville rally, scoring on one-timer 27 seconds into overtime to give the Predators a 4-3 victory at Buffalo. Nashville’s Blake Geoffrion, who registered his first career hat trick, scored two goals in the final 2:27 to tie the game. The two points moved the Predators ahead of the Stars, who fell from sixth to seventh place at that point in the evening.

9:29 p.m.: Chicago holds off Phoenix 2-1 in regulation. Chris Campoli’s power play goal with 6:34 remaining snapped a 1-1 tie and held up as the game-winner. Chicago, which was 2-2 on the power play in the game, moved from eighth place in the West to fifth place, and dropped the Stars into eighth. All the news was not good for Chicago. Forward Patrick Sharp left the game in the first period with what appeared to be a knee injury and did not return.

9:52 p.m.: Just seconds after Bobby Ryan failed to convert on a penalty shot, a Toni Lydman shot from the point deflects off Corey Perry and into the net to give Anaheim a 5-4 overtime win over Calgary. It was Perry’s second OT winner in two nights. The Ducks, who blew a 3-0 lead in the game, forced overtime when Teemu Selanne score a power play goal with 2:01 remaining. The two points gave the Ducks 85, tying them with the Stars, but Anaheim took over eighth and the Stars dropped to ninth because the Ducks hold the advantage in regulation/overtime wins, 36-33. Calgary now sits in tenth place with 84 points, but has played two more games than several of the teams in the race.

The playoff race

There is one key game Monday night. Calgary is at Los Angeles. This will be Calgary’s 75th game of the season and they really need two points in this game. This is the third game of five straight at Staples Center for the Kings, who are 0-1-1 on the homestand so far.