Dallas Stars: Ryan Wilson

The Dallas Stars are going to have to ride Andrew Raycroft while No. 1 goalie Kari Lehtonen is out with a groin injury, and Raycroft got the trip off to a good start Monday night. Raycroft stopped 35 of 36 shots to lead the Stars to a 3-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche in Denver.

“I felt great. I felt good in practice every day and I feel like I am doing the right things. Tonight I feel like our guys played great, especially in the third. We didn’t give much up at all,” said Raycroft. “It’s nice to get a win. It’s just as important to have all the guys believe in me and know that I can get wins for them. It’s always a lot more fun to win.”

Raycroft will be the guy in net for the Stars while Lehtonen is out with a groin injury. Lehtonen is expected to miss at least three weeks.

“It’s nice for our guys to have some confidence in him,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “And it’s good for his confidence moving forward because we are going to be without Lehts for a while. We thought he played tremendous and we are just going to keep moving forward. “

It was Raycroft’s first win of the season (1-5-0) and his first win since he shutout Minnesota on January 9 of last season. It also snapped a personal seven-game losing streak.

This was the first time this season that Raycroft has played in a game other than the second end of a back-to-back set and it was the first time the Stars have scored more than two goals in a game he has played

“It seemed like when he came in there we never played our best games. You need two goalies during the season to help you win,” said Stars forward Michael Ryder, who scored two goals. “He’s been there for us, supporting us even though he doesn’t play as much as Kari. We need him now and we showed him that really want to play for him.”

Raycroft was big in the first two periods, stopping all 27 shots he faced. He stopped 11 in the first period and 16 in the second, including great stops on quality, point blank chances by Paul Stastny and Ryan O'Reilly.

“I thought our D did a good job of sealing out around him. He made the first saves and we did a good job around the net,” said Gulutzan. “Then he made some real big saves, which gives the bench a little pick up. That was the difference.”

The Stars led 1-0 through 40 minutes on a goal by Eric Nystrom, who banged home a rebound of a Vernon Fiddler shot off the rush with 4:04 left in the first.

The Stars dominated the shot clock early in the third and were able to extend the lead to 2-0 with 5:24 left in the game when Loui Eriksson set up a breakaway by Ryder, who beat Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov with a wrist shot.

“I saw Loui get the puck, kind of busted and caught their D a little off guard,” said Ryder. “I tried to get a quick shot off and beat him high glove.”

The Avalanche finally got a puck past Raycroft on their 34th shot on the night. Kevin Porter scored off the rebound of a Colin Wilson point shot with 3:36 remaining.

But Ryder sealed the deal for Raycroft and the Stars, scoring into an empty net with 27.7 seconds remaining.

The Stars won despite missing five key players: Lehtonen, captain Brenden Morrow, defenseman Trevor Daley, defenseman Alex Goligoski and right wing Adam Burish.

“The biggest thing with for that win is that with everything that has happened, it has given the team the sense that if we play a certain way we can have success,” said Gulutzan. “And it was real good for Razor to come out and play a game. You could see it in his focus over the last day or two. That’s why we got him. He’s been a starter in the league and he can help you win games. That’s what he did tonight.”


*Brenden Morrow (back) is expected to return for Thursday’s game against Ottawa.

*Trevor Daley (back) could return Thursday or Saturday.

*The Stars were 0-4 on the power play Monday and are now 0-20 on the PP over their last eight games.

*The Stars were 3-3 on the penalty kill and are 16-17 (94.1%) on the PK over the last five games.
The Dallas Stars got a new owner Friday, but it didn’t snap the team out its current funk. The Stars lost their fourth straight game and they were shutout for the second straight game, falling 3-0 to the Colorado Avalanche in Denver Friday night.

“We’ve just got to throw pucks at the net. We need some dirty goals and we need some luck to go our way,” said Stars captain Brenden Morrow.

The Stars haven’t scored a goal in the last 147:49 and have scored just three goals during their four-game slide, which has left them 11-7-0 on the season.

Despite Friday’s setback, the Stars did see improvement over Tuesday’s 6-0 loss to Florida at American Airlines Center.

“It was better,” said Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen, who stopped 42 of 44 shots. “The Florida game was terrible all the way around. I think we were better today. We just have to keep working.”

But there were concerns as well. The territorial advantage went to the Avalanche, who outshot the Stars by a 45-24 margin.

“I think we did some better things. I think the discouraging thing is that we are not winning any of our individual battles,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “If you’re not going to win your own one-on-one battles then there is really nothing you can do. You have to win battles, get to pucks, hold them and start cycles. It seems that if we get a puck chipped into our end on the forecheck they keep it in for 30 seconds. We chip one in their end, get on it and we’re in there for five. You can’t have it going that way all the time. I think each guy’s battle level has to come up.”

The Avalanche outshot the Stars 16-4 in the first 20 minutes and scored the only goal of the first 20 minutes. Ryan Wilson’s point shot was deflected into the net by Chuck Kobasew 6:10 into the game.

“He tipped it there in front of me. Sometimes you get them and sometimes you don’t,” said Lehtonen.

There was no scoring in the second period, but the Stars did create some good scoring chances, but couldn’t get a puck past Avalanche J-S Giguere.

“We probably had a lot of the play in the second period, we just didn’t get the bounce we needed,” Morrow said. “We were generating opportunities and getting good cycles, but probably didn’t get the puck to the net as much. We controlled it, we just couldn’t put it in areas where we could score.”

Colorado cashed in on a power play with 5:26 left in the third to make it a 2-0 game. With Morrow in the penalty box for cross-checking, Paul Stastny scored off the rebound of a Gabriel Landeskog shot. Matt Duchene added an empty-net power play goal with five seconds remaining to make it a 3-0 final.

The Avalanche, who snapped a three-game losing streak, won for just the third time at home this season (3-6-0).

“We’ve been playing hard lately and not been getting much success. We did a lot of good things tonight,” said Giguere, who stopped 24 shots for his first shutout in two seasons, “We shot a lot of pucks, our power play came through at the end, we stayed disciplined and we played well defensively. It was the type of game we have to play at home.”


*Stars forward Steve Ott returned to the lineup after missing the previous six games with a hip injury.

*Krys Barch and Philip Larsen were healthy scratches for the Stars.

*Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said he was leaning towards starting goalie Andrew Raycroft in Saturday’s game against San Jose, but a final decision would come on Saturday.