Dallas Stars: Thomas Vanek

The decision to go with Kari Lehtonen in goal on back-to-back night’s turned out to be a good one for the Dallas Stars. Lehtonen was brilliant Friday night in Buffalo, but it wasn’t enough for the Stars to get two points, as they couldn’t hold a 2-0 third period lead and lost 3-2 in a shootout to the Sabres at First Niagara Center.

The Sabres forced overtime, scoring with 38.3 seconds left in regulation.

“I thought right from the beginning we managed our game pretty good and limited their chances. We did what we wanted to do defensively. It came down to the last minute and they had to pull their goalie,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “Those things happen in the league. I’m sure we’ll look at the last minute, but the shot gets through, it gets through to the guy on the backside – they’ve got an extra guy – and they get a bounce. That’s just the way it is.”

With the shootout loss the Stars remained winless in the second games of back-to-backs with an 0-8-2 record.

The point they picked up in the game moved them to within one point of eighth place in the Western Conference.

“Obviously we were looking for two points and we were close,” said Stars forward Tomas Vincour, who scored his second goal of the season in the game. “We had a good game and we’ll take the one point and we’ve to get ready for Sunday.”

The Stars took a 1-0 lead late in the first period by cashing in on the game’s first power play. Alex Goligoski’s shot from the left point was tipped into the net by Michael Ryder.

Lehtonen, who originally wasn’t scheduled to start the game, made that lead hold up in the second period, making some great stops including a couple on Buffalo forward Drew Stafford with the Sabres on the power play.

“He’s at the top of his game right now, that’s for sure,” Gulutzan said of Lehtonen.

The Stars extended the lead to 2-0 when Steve Ott knocked Sabres defenseman Christian Ehrhoff off the puck in the corner and Jamie Benn set up Vincour, who scored from close range to give the Stars a 2-0 lead at the 4:17 mark.

But 27 seconds later Stars forward Radek Dvorak was in the penalty box for holding, and Buffalo cashed in on the power play chance to make it a 2-1 game. Jason Pominville centered the puck from the right circle and Thomas Vanek redirected it past Lehtonen at 5:04 of the third.

The Sabres, who outshot the Stars 13-3 in the third, pulled goalie Ryan Miller for the extra attacker with just over a minute remaining and they scored with 38.3 seconds remaining to tie. Tyler Myers got a shot on net from just inside the blue line and Derek Roy scored off the rebound.

“Myers made a great shot, Stafford did a great job in front and I found the puck,” said Roy. “We need big goals like that to win games.”

In overtime, Lehtonen came up with another huge save, making a pad save on a wide open Vanek with two seconds remaining.

But in a five-round shootout, the Sabres got goals from Brad Boyes and Nathan Gerbe, while only Jamie Benn could find the back of the net for the Stars.

“I think we played a pretty good game overall. I think we maybe sat back a little too much in the third and gave them some momentum. I think we had only three shots,” said Ryder. “It’s a big point for us, but we would have liked to get two. Give those guys credit, they came at us hard and managed to tie up in the last minute and they won in a shootout. Overall, we had a good game. It’s just a matter of us sticking to the game plan in the third.”

Notes: Morrow out for a while longer

*Stars captain Brenden Morrow, who has missed the last three games with neck/shoulder problems, could be out another at least another couple weeks.

*Stars center Vernon Fiddler was injured in Friday’s game when a puck shot by teammate Mark Fistric hit him in the ankle area. "He's limping around,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “We'll get an x-ray and see what goes on there."

*Sheldon Souray missed Friday’s game with a foot injury. He was hit by a puck in Thursday’s game in Columbus. He is day-to-day.

*Adam Pardy and Toby Petersen were healthy scratches Friday.

*The Stars are 16-0-1 when leading after two periods.

*The Stars haven’t won a game in Buffalo since Stanley Cup clinching win in 1999. They are 0-4-2 in Buffalo since then.

Stars lose 2-0 lead, fall 3-2 in shootout

February, 10, 2012
The Dallas Stars squandered a 2-0 third period lead and fell 3-2 in a shootout to the Buffalo Sabres Friday night. The Stars fell to 0-8-2 in the second games of back-to-back this season. The Stars got a brilliant performance from goaltender Kari Lehtonen, who stopped 30 of 32 shots in the game. Michael Ryder and Tomas Vincour scored goals for the Stars, who pulled to within one point of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

First period

The Stars got the game’s first power play late in the first period when Buffalo’s Cody McCormick took a roughing penalty, and they took advantage. Alex Goligoski’s shot from the left point was tipped into the net by Michael Ryder with 2:07 left in the period.

Kari Lehtonen was sharp in goal for the Stars, stopping seven shots including a nice glove stop on Jason Pominville with 35 seconds left in the period.

Second period

Kari Lehtonen came up big in the second period for the Stars, stopping all nine shots he faced to help the Stars preserve their 1-0 lead.

With Buffalo on its first power play of the game, Lehtonen made back-to-back saves on Drew Stafford including a sharp glove save on Stafford’s second chance from point blank range.

Buffalo came close to tying the game with just under five minutes left in the period, but Christian Ehrhoff’s shot from the left circle rang off the post.

The Stars outshot the Sabres 11-9 in the period and had a 21-16 advantage through two periods.

Third period

The Stars extended their lead to 2-0 at the 4:17 of the mark of the third. Steve Ott knocked Ehrhoff off the puck behind the Buffalo net and Jamie Benn then centered the puck to Tomas Vincour, who scored from close range to make it a 2-0 game.

But the Sabres got the on the board less than a minute later, cashing in on their second power play of the game. Jason Pominville’s centering pass was redirected into the net by Thomas Vanek at the 5:07 mark.

Buffalo pulled goalie Ryan Miller with a little more than a minute to go for the extra attacker and tied the game with 38.3 seconds left when Derek Roy scored off the rebound of Tyler Myers shot.

The Sabres outshot the Stars 13-3 in the third period.


Lehtonen got the game to a shootout with a spectacular pad save on a wide open Vanek’s point blank shot with two seconds remaining in four-on-four overtime.

The shootout went five rounds and the Sabres won it 2-1 on goals by Brad Boyes and Nathan Gerbe. Jamie Benn scored the only goal for the Stars.

Stars lineup



Lehtonen (starter)

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