The Dallas Stars expect offense from James Neal. The first two-goal game in defenseman Karlis Skrastins' career was strictly a bonus.
Skrastins scored his second of the game 1:16 into the third period on Saturday, giving the Stars a 4-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings at a sold-out American Airlines Center.
"I was waiting for this for a long time," said Skrastins, who hadn't scored a goal this season, his first with the Stars after signing with Dallas during the summer. "I've had a couple of good opportunities the last couple of games, but the puck wasn't going in."
Skrastins tied the game at 1-1 when he converted Mike Ribeiro's centering pass 1:40 into the second period, then broke a 3-3 tie with a quick shot from the left faceoff dot that zipped over Jimmy Howard's shoulder at 1:16 of the third.
"Tonight was one of those nights where I had a little bit of luck," he said. "I scored my first goal and then I scored the game-winning goal. It's very exciting, but what's important is that we won the game."
Dallas signed Skrastins in the offseason to bolster its defense, and he was without a goal in his first 32 games until Saturday. He also set up one of Neal's two goals for a career-best three points.
"He had a big smile on his face," Neal said. "He's usually a shot-blocking machine. He doesn't score that much, so it was nice to get two big goals from him."
The Stars improved to 5-0-2 in their last seven home games and beat the Wings in Dallas for the fourth time in a row.
"I thought the defense really stepped up tonight," Crawford said. "They recognized how much onus was on them and how much responsibility they had to have. Tonight, I thought our guys really paid attention to details. We backchecked hard, we recovered pucks real well, I thought we had an identity tonight of a team that wanted the puck and played strong defensive hockey. There were a couple of mistakes, but there always is in a game."
Marty Turco made 30 saves against a Wings lineup that was down seven regulars - including Henrik Zetterberg, who was injured in Thursday's 3-0 win over TampaBay. He separated his left shoulder and will miss at least two weeks.
"When you don't win, it's hard to say you had a good enough effort," Detroit defenseman Brad Stuart said.
Holmstrom opened the scoring 17:22 into the game, sweeping a loose puck into an empty net after Turco made a sliding save on Bertuzzi. Skrastins tied it with his first goal since Feb. 5, triggering a five-goal second period that saw both teams play wide-open hockey.
Neal put Dallas ahead when he finished off a backhanded feed by Ribeiro at 12:14. Datsyuk's deflection trickled through Turco's pads at 15:39 to tie it at 2-2.
Neal knocked a rebound past Howard 66 seconds later to put Dallas back in front, but Bertuzzi tied it at 3-3 by scoring with a minute to play in the period.
Detroit scored three goals for the fifth straight game. They won the first four
"We scored enough goals to win, but we gave up too many easy ones," coach Mike Babcock said.
Material from team media and wire serives was used in this report
|Tomas Holmstrom (13) ASST: Todd Bertuzzi (10), Pavel Datsyuk (19)|
1 - 0 DET
|Karlis Skrastins (1) ASST: Mike Ribeiro (20), Jamie Benn (12)|
1 - 1 Tie
|James Neal (15) ASST: Brad Richards (28), Loui Eriksson (20)|
2 - 1 DAL
|Pavel Datsyuk (8) ASST: Todd Bertuzzi (11), Nicklas Lidstrom (12)|
2 - 2 Tie
|James Neal (16) ASST: Karlis Skrastins (6), Loui Eriksson (21)|
3 - 2 DAL
|Todd Bertuzzi (10) ASST: Pavel Datsyuk (20), Drew Miller (3)|
3 - 3 Tie
|Karlis Skrastins (2) ASST: Brad Richards (29), James Neal (14)|
4 - 3 DAL
|Kris Draper Hooking against Jamie Benn|
|Krys Barch Fighting against Brad May|
|Brad May Fighting against Krys Barch|
|James Neal Hi-sticking against Todd Bertuzzi|
|Darren Helm Slashing against Jamie Benn|
|Brad Richards Slashing against Todd Bertuzzi|