Dallas Stars: Minnesota Wild

There’s only one game in the Western Conference playoff race tonight, and that has the Los Angeles Kings hosting the Edmonton Oilers.

It’s a big chance for the Kings to put some heat on the teams chasing them in the race. A win and they go two points up on Phoenix, three on San Jose and four on Dallas. That would put them in a pretty good spot. Get one point or none, then they have to watch Tuesday and see where they stand heading into the final two games of the season.

It’s easy to look at this game on paper and say it’s a win for the Kings, but look around the league and you’ll see games aren’t always playing out the way you’d think.

For example, the Minnesota Wild notched shootout victories over both the Kings and Blackhawks over the weekend. The Wild aren’t going through the motions here at the end of the season. Neither are a lot of other teams. The Wild are worth noting because they host Phoenix the final day of the season.

That’s why a lot of can and will happen over this final week and it may not play out the way it looks like it should on paper. Games will be settled and points will be gained and lost on the ice.

Of note yesterday, Detroit beat Florida in a shootout to move into that fourth spot in the West. They are one point up on Nashville and Chicago, which picked up a point in that shootout loss to the Wild.




Postgame quotes: Praising Kari Lehtonen

March, 13, 2012
3/13/12
10:26
PM CT
Here are some postgame quotes following the Dallas Stars’ 1-0 win at Minnesota on Tuesday night.

Stars coach Glen Gulutzan

“The last month he’s brought his game to a new level. 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.”

Gulutzan on Lehtonen’s save on Kyle Brodziak with 3.2 seconds left in the game

“One heck of a save. 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.”

Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen

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

Stars forward Jamie Benn

“In the end we got two points and that’s what we came here for. 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.”

Benn on goaltender Kari Lehtonen

“He stops every puck pretty much. The guy is a workhorse. He is unbelievable back there and, once again, he showed it tonight.”

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

Stars-Wild Preview

March, 12, 2012
3/12/12
11:05
PM CT
Dallas Stars at Minnesota Wild
Tuesday, March 13
7:00 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest Plus
Radio: KTCK-1310 (AM)

About the Stars

The Stars (38-26-5) ran their winning streak to five games and their points streak to ten (9-0-1) with a 2-0 victory over Anaheim Saturday night. Kari Lehtonen stopped 21 shots for his third shutout of the season.

“Yeah, it’s been fun,” Lehtonen said. “We were not doing well a month ago and then everybody started playing better. We started getting wins. With every win, it gets more exciting.”

Lehtonen will start in goal for the Stars Tuesday.

The Stars recalled D Jordie Benn from Texas (AHL) on Monday.

Injuries: LW Jake Dowell (illness) and RW Radek Dvorak (ankle) are questionable. D Sheldon Souray (lower body) is doubtful.

About the Wild

The Wild (29-30-10) are coming off a 4-3 home loss to Calgary on Sunday. It was the sixth loss in the last seven games for the Wild (1-5-1) and dropped them below .500 for the first time this season. Minnesota was outshot 13-5 in the first period and fell behind the Flames early.

“It’s a little bit maddening. We owe our fans a good game here,” said Wild coach Mike Yeo. “Too many games in a row we’ve come out flat in our own building. We had a lot of guys going, but we didn’t have everybody. … We’re going to play guys that want to play hard.”

Matt Hackett is expected to start in goal for the Wild on Tuesday.

Injuries: F Cal Clutterbuck (illness) is questionable. G Niklas Backstrom (lower body), LW Guillaume Latendresse (concussion), RW Pierre-Marc Bouchard (concussion), D Mike Lundin (lower body), C Mikko Koivu (shoulder) and D Justin Falk (lower body) are out

Series notes

*This is the fourth and final meeting between the two teams this season.

*The Stars are 2-1-0 in the season series.

*The Wild are 1-1-1 in the season series.

*January 21, at Minnesota: Wild 5, Stars 2
*February 4, at Dallas: Stars 2, Wild 1 (SO)
*February 24, at Dallas: Stars 4, Wild 1

Statistical tidbits

*Excluding goals awarded for shootout wins, the Stars have outscored their opposition 31-15 over the last ten games.

*The Stars have won five straight on the road.

*Minnesota has lost three straight at home.

*Dallas is 30-31 (96.8%) on the penalty kill over the last ten games.

*The Stars have not allowed a five-on-four power play goal over the last ten games.

*Minnesota is 0-17 on the power play over the last seven games.

*The Wild have been shutout in three of their last seven games.

*Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen is 7-0-1 in his last eight starts with a 1.45 goals against average, .950 save percentage and two shutouts.

*Stars forward Michael Ryder is on a career-high nine-game point streak (7 goals, 4 assists). It’s the longest active scoring streak in the NHL.

Sunday playoff race watch

February, 26, 2012
2/26/12
9:23
AM CT
Everybody in the race for the final spot that played last night picked up points last night, so the battle for eighth remains very tight one day before the trade deadline.

The Stars are tied with the Kings and Avalanche at 68 points, but still hold down that final spot because of the tiebreakers.

The Kings, who beat Chicago 4-0 yesterday, and Stars have played the same number of games, but the Stars own the regulation/overtime wins tiebreaker over them.

The Avalanche, who won 4-3 at Detroit Saturday, have played one more game than both the Stars and Kings, so they currently rank tenth because they have the lower points percentage.

Calgary blew a 3-0 for the second straight game, this time against Philadelphia, and lost in a shootout. They are now one point back and rank 11th.

Phoenix won again and is now 10-0-1 in its last 11 games. The Coyotes are the Pacific Division leaders this morning. They are two points ahead of San Jose, which lost 6-2 at Nashville yesterday. The Sharks have two games in hand, and play one of those games at Minnesota today.

The Wild need a win keep pace in the race. So does Anaheim, which hosts Chicago today.

Photos: Stars stop Wild

February, 25, 2012
2/25/12
9:42
AM CT
Here is a link to some photos of last night's Dallas Stars-Minnesota Wild game at American Airlines Center. You can see all the photos by Shannon Byrne here or by clicking below on the image of Loui Eriksson scoring a goal.

#21 Loui Eriksson scoresDallas Stars vs. Minnesota Wild, February 24, 2012.


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.

Stars defeat Wild for third straight win

February, 24, 2012
2/24/12
8:17
PM CT
The Dallas Stars ran their winning streak to three games, defeating the Minnesota Wild 4-1 at American Airlines Center Friday night.

Tom Wandell scored twice for Dallas and Loui Eriksson and Eric Nystrom also tallied for the Stars. Kari Lehtonen stopped 28 of 29 shots for the Stars, who have outscored their opponents 10-2 during the streak.

The win pushed the Stars two points ahead of Calgary and Los Angeles in the race for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

The Stars won the second game of a back-to-back for the first time this season. The three-game winning streak was their first since December 10-15.

Minnesota had a two-game winning streak snapped and fell five points out of the eighth and final playoff spot.

The Stars lost defenseman Philip Larsen during the game. He was hit in the head with a puck late in the second period and did not return.

First period

The Stars struck first at 8:48 into the game. Tom Wandell dug a puck out behind the Minnesota goal, put a puck on net and then scored off a rebound to give the Stars a 1-0 lead.

Less than a minute later, Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen made a scrambling save of a Devin Setoguchi redirection to keep it a 1-0 game.

Just 23 seconds after the Stars killed off the first power play of the game, the Stars scored to make it a 2-0 game. Michael Ryder sent a pass cross-ice pass to Loui Eriksson, who put the puck into the open side of the net for 20th goal of the season.

Second period

The Stars made it a 3-0 game at 3:53 of the second when Radek Dvorak centered a puck from behind the goal line and Eric Nystrom banged it home from the left circle. That ended the night for Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom, who was pulled after allowing three goals on 14 shots. Matt Hackett took over in net for Minnesota.

Both teams were 0-2 on the power play in the period.

The Stars lost defenseman Philip Larsen late in the period when he was hit in the head on a shot by Wild forward Matt Cullen. His status was not known at the end of the period.

Third period

The Stars got in some penalty trouble just after the midway point of the period. Steve Ott took an unsportsmanlike conduct minor and that was followed by a bench minor for abuse of officials, giving the Wild a 40 second five-on-three. They cashed in on that one when Setoguchi scored off a one-timer with 7:17 remaining to make it a 3-1 game.

Sheldon Souray then took a cross-checking minor, giving the Wild a 16 second five-on-three, but the Stars were able to kill that off and preserve the two-goal lead.

Tom Wandell scored into an empty net with 52.3 seconds left to make it a 4-1 final score.

Stars lineup

Eriksson-Ribeiro-Ryder
Ott-Wandell-Burish
Nystrom-Fiddler-Dvorak
Petersen-Garbutt-Vincour

Souray-Robidas
Fistric-Daley
Goligoski-Larsen

Lehtonen (starter)
Bachman

Injured: Dowell (finger), Morrow (neck/shoulder)
Scratched: Pardy

Stars-Wild Preview

February, 24, 2012
2/24/12
12:39
AM CT

Minnesota Wild at Dallas Stars
Friday February 24
7:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: KTCK-1310 (AM)

About the Stars

The Stars (31-26-4) rallied for a 3-1 victory in Chicago Thursday, scoring three times in the third period to overcome a 1-0 deficit. Steve Ott, Michael Ryder and Loui Eriksson scored for the Stars, who have won two straight.

“We know that we didn’t have many shots generated going into the third. We were still in the game, we just had to make sure that we got more pucks to the net and stepped our game up,” said Ryder. “We knew we had to play a hard 20 and we did that. We threw pucks at the net and got some traffic.”

Richard Bachman stopped 26 shots for the Stars, who moved into eighth place in the Western Conference with the win.

Kari Lehtonen will start in goal for the Stars on Friday.

Injuries: C Jamie Benn (leg) is doubtful. C Jake Dowell (finger) and LW Brenden Morrow (neck/shoulder) are out.

About the Wild

The Wild (27-24-9) won their second straight game, opening a two-game road trip with a 3-2 shootout victory at Florida on Thursday. Niklas Backstrom had 41 saves and was 2-2 in the shootout for the Wild, who are three points out of a playoff spot with a game in hand.

“It was nice to get that extra point,” said Wild forward Matt Cullen, who scored in regulation and in the shootout. “We battled really hard. Every point is at a premium right now. That was so important for us to get both points.”

The Wild won consecutive games for the first time since January 21-24.

Injuries: C Mikko Koivu (undisclosed), G Josh Harding (lower body), ), D Clayton Stoner (lower body), D Mike Lundin (lower body), RW Carson McMillan (lower body), RW Pierre-Marc Bouchard (concussion), RW Jarod Palmer (concussion) and LW Guillaume Latendresse (concussion) are out.

Series notes

*This is the third of four meetings between the two teams.

*The Stars are 1-1-0 in the season series.

*The Wild are 1-0-1.

*January 21, at Minnesota: Wild 5, Stars 2
*February 4, at Dallas: Stars 2, Wild 1 (SO)

*The Stars have won 15 straight home games against the Wild.

*The last time Minnesota won in Dallas was March 21, 2003.

Statistical tidbits

*The Stars are 0-9-2 in second games of back-to-backs this season.

*The Wild are 4-1-2 in the second games of back-to-backs this season.

*The Stars will be looking for their first three-game winning streak since Dec ember 10-15.

*The Wild haven’t won more than two games in row since a seven-game winning streak from November 28-December 10.

*The Stars have had two power plays over the last three games.

*Minnesota has scored on the power play in five of its last seven games.

*The Stars are 14-15 on the penalty kill over the last five games.

*Stars forward Michael Ryder has five goals in the last eight games.


Playoff watch: Stars within striking distance

February, 23, 2012
2/23/12
9:21
AM CT
Thursday is an opportunity for the Stars to gain ground in the Western Conference playoff race. If they win and Calgary loses against Phoenix, they’ll be in eighth place. If they win and Calgary wins, then they’ll be within one point of that final spot.

Of course, they have to win against a Chicago team that seems to have gotten its act together after going through a nine-game winless streak. The Blackhawks have won four in a row.

Tonight’s an opportunity for the Flames and Coyotes as well. The Flames have a shot to move back into the top eight. The Coyotes can put more distance between themselves and eighth place and keep the pressure on the Sharks, whom they are chasing for the Pacific Division lead and the third overall seed.

The game of the night in the West has to Vancouver at Detroit. The Red Wings and Canucks are battling for the top spot in the West and Detroit’s 23-game home winning streak is on the line.

St. Louis plays at Nashville tonight. The Predators are trying to hunt down the Blues for fourth overall in the West and home ice in the first round.

Last night, Colorado defeated Los Angeles 4-1 in Denver. The Kings, who blew a 3-0 lead against Phoenix Tuesday night and lost in a shootout, are slumping. They are 0-3-1 in their last four and 2-6-2 over their last ten.


The picture can brighten with a win tonight

February, 19, 2012
2/19/12
11:15
AM CT
Tonight’s game against Nashville would be a good one for the Stars to get over that second game of back-to-backs hump. A win over the Predators and things don’t look so bad for the Stars when it comes to the playoff race. They’d be one point out with 23 games to go.

The Stars have had games in hand on a lot of the teams they are battling with a spot, and tonight’s game is that final game in hand. It will give them 59 games played, the same Phoenix, Calgary and Los Angeles. They'll still have one on Colorado.

As with all games in hand, they don’t mean much unless you do something with them. A win and the Stars are one point back, and they’ve picked up two points from where they were they came out of the break. Maybe not everything they were hoping, but still some ground gained. It's not a sprint to the end, it's a marathon.

If it’s a regulation loss then they have squandered those games in hand, but it's far from fatal.

As up and down and as frustrating as the Stars have been coming out of the break, they aren’t operating in a vacuum. There are things going on around them that have an effect on the race.

A couple of teams – Phoenix and Calgary – have gone on nice runs since the All-Star break and pulled into playoff spots. But it’s not like they are in a comfortable position. The Kings have slipped, missed an opportunity to give themselves some breathing room in the race and are now in a real fight for a playoff spot. Colorado had played more games than everybody else at the break, so they've lost ground by playing .500 hockey but are still around it. The Wild have tanked and are falling out of the picture.

Sixth-seeded Chicago has slipped and is now looking over its shoulder at the Coyotes and Flames. Anaheim, currently in 13th, has put together a great run, but the hill looks pretty steep. A lot of teams to climb over and everybody can't lose.

The bottom line is the Stars are still right in the thick of things, and the picture can brighten with a couple points tonight.

Here’s a look at how teams ranked 7th through 12th in the Western Conference playoff race have fared since the break.

Stars-Wild photos

February, 5, 2012
2/05/12
11:51
AM CT
Here's a link to some photos from last night's Dallas Stars-Minnesota Wild game. You can see all the photos by Shannon Byrne here or by clicking below on the image of Ed Belfour, who was honored prior to the game for his induction in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Eddie Belfour, Mike Modano, Jere LehtinenDallas Stars vs. Minnesota Wild, February 4, 2012.



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.”

Notes

*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.

Postgame quotes

February, 4, 2012
2/04/12
10:59
PM CT
Here are some postgame quotes following the Dallas Stars 2-1 shootout victory over the Minnesota Wild Saturday night.

Stars coach Glen Gulutzan

“We relied on our goalie a lot. We have to be better. 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.”

Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen on the game

“It was a nice, tight game. They got a few chances, I made some saves and was lucky a couple times. 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.”

Stars forward Eric Nystrom on special teams play

“The power play has scored in three straight games, which is huge. Before that we were struggling a little bit. This is a good time for them to get confident. They scored some big goals for us, like tonight. It was our only goal we got and that’s huge. The penalty killing, same thing. It had a big stop in overtime by some guys making some gutsy plays and battling hard as they could. That’s a big difference for us and special teams is so key.”

Wild coach Mike Yeo on the game

“That was a good game. Both teams played well. It was fast. It was hard hitting. Especially five-on-five, I thought we were really strong. So it’s a shame to not come out of here with two points, but still a lot of positives.”

Stars top Wild in shootout, 2-1

February, 4, 2012
2/04/12
7:55
PM CT
The Dallas Stars pulled to within two points of eighth place in the Western Conference with a 2-1 shootout victory over the Minnesota Wild Saturday night at American Airlines Center. Kari Lehtonen stopped 33 shots in regulation and overtime and two of three in the shootout. Mike Ribeiro scored in regulation and Loui Eriksson and Jamie Benn scored in the shootout. The Stars were 1-2 on the power play and 4-4 on the penalty kill in the game.

First period

The Stars came out with a physical edge to their game, outhitting the Wild 16-9. The Wild had the advantage in shots, 13-10, and both teams had some quality scoring chances. Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen looked very sharp and had a couple of nice stops on Wild forward Dany Heatley. The Wild had the only power play of the period.

Second period

The Stars’ penalty kill came up big in the second, thwarting two Minnesota power plays in the first 11:30 of the period.

The Stars got an excellent chance with a little more than seven minutes left in the period, but Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom made a sharp stop on Michael Ryder’s bid from the right circle on an odd-man rush.

The Stars got their first power play with 6:07 left in the second and cashed in to take a 1-0 lead. After an Alex Goligoski shot rebounded off the endboards, Mike Ribeiro got the puck and put it over a sprawling Backstrom with 4:48 left in the period.

Minnesota’s Kyle Brodziak had a one-on-one chance against Lehtonen with 2:54 remaining in the period, but all he could get off was a weak backhand shot.

Third period

The Wild tied the game at 5:18 of the third. After a Jake Dowell turnover in the Dallas zone, Nick Johnson set up Brodziak, who got a point blank chance and lifted the puck over Stars Lehtonen to knot the game at 1-1.

Minnesota got their fourth power play of the night with 1:07 left in regulation, but couldn’t score and had 53 seconds of PP time when overtime began.

Overtime

The Wild couldn’t take advantage of their 53 second four-on-three power play.

The Stars got a power play – their second of the game – with 55.4 seconds remaining, but the Stars couldn’t take advantage and the game headed to the shootout.

Loui Eriksson and Jamie Benn scored in the shootout for the Stars and Kari Lehtonen stopped two of three to give the Stars the 2-1 victory.

Stars lineup

Ott-Benn-Ryder
Nystrom-Ribeiro-Eriksson
Vincour-Fiddler-Dvorak
Dowell-Wandell-Burish

Souray-Robidas
Grossman-Daley
Goligoski-Larsen

Lehtonen (starter)
Bachman

Injured: Morrow (neck/shoulder)
Scratched: Fistric, Pardy, Petersen

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