Dallas Stars: Oliver Ekman-Larsson

Save of the game last night and definitely a save of the year candidate was this acrobatic stop by Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen on Phoenix defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson in overtime. It was a huge difference maker in the Stars getting out of the game with two points instead of one. Considering how tight the standings are, that one point is huge.

Here's the video.



DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars got an important two points Tuesday night, but they weren’t thrilled with how they got them. The Stars blew a 3-1 lead in the third period before beating the Phoenix Coyotes 4-3 in a shootout at American Airlines Center.

“I think we did good things but we’ve got to find ways to keep that two-goal lead and not give those guys a chance to get back into the game,” said Stars forward Michael Ryder, who scored two goals and had one assist. “We made a couple mistakes, a couple turnovers that ended up in our net. We came here for two points and we got that, but they got one.”

The win kept the Stars, who snapped a two-game losing streak, in first place in the Pacific Division and third in the Western Conference. The Stars are one point ahead of both Los Angeles and Phoenix in the division and they are now three points ahead of San Jose.

The Stars got a big game from their top line of Loui Eriksson, Mike Ribeiro and Ryder, who scored all three goals for Dallas. Ribeiro also scored the lone goal of the shootout.

“We’ve been working well lately for the past while and we’re reading off each other and working hard and trying to do the right things and it seems to be going in for us,” said Ryder.

Kari Lehtonen was superb in goal, making 27 saves in regulation and overtime and stopping all three shooters in the shootout.

“He gave us the points,” Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said of Lehtonen’s performance.

The Stars struck first in the game, getting a goal from Eriksson off the rush just 2:12 into the game. The Coyotes answered a little more than three minutes later on a goal by Lauri Korpikoski.

The Stars took a 2-1 lead on a power play goal by Ryder at the 5:26 mark and less than 30 seconds later there was a major scrum after Phoenix captain Shane Doan caught Stars forward Jamie Benn in the head with an elbow. A total of 64 penalty minutes were handed out, including fighting majors to Doan and Stars captain Brenden Morrow.

Gulutzan did not like Doan’s hit on Benn.

“I think it is a suspendable offense. He targeted the head with his elbow,” Gulutzan said. “The league will look at it for sure and decide. But it's deliberate."

Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said he hadn’t seen a replay of the play yet.

“I haven’t looked at it yet but we’ll see how that goes,” Tippett said.

The Stars were able to extend their lead later in the period when Ryder got to a puck in the crease and put it past Coyotes goalie Mike Smith to make it a 3-1 game.

But the Coyotes came back in the third, getting a shorthanded tally from defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson and then a power play goal by Ray Whitney to tie the game.

“We shot ourselves in the foot,” said Gulutzan. “We couldn’t get it through our heads that turning the puck over is dangerous.”

Lehtonen came up with big saves down the stretch and in overtime, including a great pad save on Ekman-Larsson in the extra period.

“Yeah, that’s a really good save,” said Ekman-Larsson. “I think I hit the pad there, so yeah, almost.”

In the shootout, Lehtonen stopped Mikkel Boedker, Whitney and Doan.

“I was pretty comfortable there,” Lehtonen said. “We look at lots of tape and have a little clue of what they are doing. I was happy it worked out that way.”

Ribeiro scored the lone goal for the Stars, eluding an aggressive move by Smith and then slipping the puck into the net.

“I didn’t expect [Smith] to come out,” Ribeiro said. “I expected him maybe to poke check, but I guess he was nervous seeing what I was doing, but we shouldn’t have even been there. It should have been over way before that”

Notes

*The Stars lost defenseman Mark Fistric to a pulled muscle in the second period. He did not return to the game.

*Jamie Benn was banged up in overtime, going into the corner boards hard during a collision with Phoenix forward Antoine Vermette. Benn left the game, but then returned for the shootout. He appeared to be fine after the game.

*Adam Pardy, Ryan Garbutt, Tomas Vincour, Toby Petersen and Jordie Benn were healthy scratches for the Dallas Stars.

*The Coyotes were without RW Radim Vrbata (illness) and LW Taylor Pyatt (upper body) for Tuesday’s game.

*Tuesday’s attendance was 17,012.

Postgame quotes

March, 20, 2012
3/20/12
11:15
PM CT
Here are some postgame quotes following the Dallas Stars’ 4-3 shootout victory over the Phoenix Coyotes at American Airlines Center on Tuesday.

Stars coach Glen Gulutzan on giving up the two-goal lead in the third period

“We shot ourselves in the foot. We couldn’t get it through our heads that turning the puck over is dangerous.”

Gulutzan on the play of goaltender Kari Lehtonen

“He gave us the points.”

Gulutzan on Phoenix captain Shane Doan’s hit on Stars forward Jamie Benn

“I think it is a suspendable offense. He targeted the head with his elbow. The league will look at it for sure and decide. But it's deliberate."

Stars forward Michael Ryder

“I think we did good things but we’ve got to find ways to keep that two-goal lead and not give those guys a chance to get back into the game – made a couple mistakes, a couple turnovers that ended up in our net. We came here for two points and we got that but they got one.”

“It was an emotional game and I think everyone was pretty involved and into it. It’s good to see guys with a lot of emotion and standing up for each other.”

Stars center Mike Ribeiro on his line with Michael Ryder and Loui Eriksson, which scored all three Dallas goals

“Those guys are elite players. They can score, pass and play well defensively. They can do everything right on the ice and it’s easy to play with those guys. They’ve been scoring most the goals on our team. They’re just amazing players and it makes my game easy.”

Coyotes coach Dave Tippett

“Well, we made a couple mistakes in the second period to give them a lead and I thought our guys came out with a mindset that we’re just going to go hard at them in the third and find something. If you look at the last part of the game and the overtime, it’s a game we deserved to win.”

Tippett on Doan’s hit on Benn

“I haven’t looked at it yet but we’ll see how that goes.”

Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson on the save that Kari Lehtonen made on him in overtime

“That’s a really good save. I think I hit the pad there, so yeah, almost.”

SPONSORED HEADLINES