Dallas Stars: Matt Hackett

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.”

Notes

*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
3/13/12
7:46
PM CT


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

Eriksson-Ribeiro-Ryder
Morrow-Benn-Ott
Nystrom-Fiddler-Burish
Garbutt-Wandell-Vincour

Fistric-Robidas
Goligoski-Larsen
Pardy-Daley

Lehtonen (starter)
Bachman

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


DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars finally won the second game of a back-to-back Friday night, and they also put together a winning streak longer than two games for the first time in more than two months. The Stars won their third straight game, defeating the Minnesota Wild 4-1 at American Airlines Center.

The three-game winning streak was the first for the Stars since December 10-15, when they won consecutive games against the Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers and New York Islanders.

“We’ve been talking about that for a month, get some wins put together and we’re finally doing it,” said Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen, who stopped 28 of 29 shots. “It’s an interesting time of the year. Every game of the year is so important and we’re having fun.”

The Stars finally won the second game of a back-to-back, something they had failed to do in their first 11 tries this season. They are now 1-9-2 in those games.

“That was a long time coming, we were due to get it eventually and there’s no excuses tonight,” said Stars forward Eric Nystrom. “It’s huge.”

Most important, the Stars picked up two key points as they battle for a playoff spot. The Stars pulled two points ahead of Calgary and Los Angeles in the battle for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

“It’s game-by-game here and it’s going to go that way right until April,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “We’ve got to approach every day like this and get points.”

The Stars, coming off a win in Chicago the previous night, got off to a strong start Friday night, scoring two first period goals to take the lead on the Wild, who had played at Florida on Thursday night.

Tom Wandell opened the scoring 8:48 into the game, digging out a puck behind the Minnesota goal, taking it to the net and then scoring off a rebound.

The Stars added a second goal at the 17:40 mark when Michael Ryder made a pretty cross-ice pass to Loui Eriksson, who scored into the open side of the net for his 20th goal of the season.

“Ryder gave me a real good pass there in front and I had some time to do something there. I walked on the left side and put it in,” Eriksson said. “It was a nice goal and it was nice to have the lead.”

Nystrom made it a 3-0 game early in the second period, finishing off a centering pass from Radek Dvorak for his 16th goal of the season.

“Devo made a great pass and I just tried to shoot it quick and when you do that, sometimes you beat the goalie, it snuck through his legs,” said Nystrom.

That goal chased Wild starter Niklas Backstrom, who was replaced by Matt Hackett.

Minnesota finally broke through on Lehtonen in the third period when they got 40 seconds of five-on-three power play time after Steve Ott took an unsportsmanlike conduct minor and then the Stars’ bench was given a minor for abuse of officials.

Devin Setoguchi scored on the five-on-three, beating Lehtonen with a one-timer from the left circle with 7:17 remaining in the game.

“Too bad (Lehtonen) didn’t get his shutout. It was a really weak five-on-three call,” Gulutzan said. “The explanation we got (on the abuse of officials call against the bench) was not the truth. It should have never been a five-on-three. I really wish it wasn’t because he was going for back-to-back shutouts. The explanation we got for the penalty wasn’t the truth.”

A cross checking minor on Sheldon Souray gave the Wild another brief five-on-three, but the Stars were able to kill that one off.

“I don’t think it’s a Stars game if we don’t make it a little hairy,” Lehtonen said with a smile. “That’s what we do.”

Wandell scored into the empty net for his second goal of the night to make it a 4-1 final.

Notes

*Stars center Jamie Benn (leg) missed his fifth straight game.

*Minnesota captain Mikko Koivu (undisclosed) missed his fourth straight game.

*Adam Pardy was a healthy scratch for the Stars.

*The Stars have now won 16 straight games against Minnesota in Dallas. The Wild last won a game in Dallas in 2003.

*The Stars were 3-4 on the penalty kill in the game and are 17-19 over their last 6 games.

*The Stars were 0-2 on the power play.

*Tom Wandell scored two goals in a game for the first time since October 2010 (at Florida).

*Friday’s attendance was 13,144.

SPONSORED HEADLINES