|Niklas Hagman celebrates after netting a goal in the fifth round of a shootout which lifted the Dallas Stars to a thrilling 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
After a turnover led to the game-tying goal by Nikolai Zherdev, Niklas Hagman made everyone in Dallas forget about the gaffe when he beat Pascal Leclaire on a backhand shot in the fifth round of a shootout to give the Stars a pulsating 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night.
It marked the second time this season that Dallas (15-9-4) has come away with a shootout victory in Columbus. Monday also concluded a season-high, six-game road trip for the Stars, as they went 4-2 along the way.
''Nobody knew what Haggy was going to do, including us, and it turned out all right,'' Stars coach Dave Tippett said.
Hagman had the puck taken away from him in the Stars’ zone by Rick Nash in the opening period, and the latter sent it towards the slot, where Zherdev redirected it past Dallas goalie Marty Turco as the Blue Jackets took a 1-0 lead 13:50 into the game ( 700K ).
Neither team would find the back of the net again until Chris Conner tied the game for the Stars at the 3:11 mark of the third period ( 700K ), when he took a pass from Nicklas Grossman before skating past two defenders and beating Leclaire via the backhand to make it 1-1.
''It was a great pass,” Conner said. “It was right on my tape. I was kind of surprised, myself, that I caught it. I just kind of kept going to the net and I was able to beat him.''
The Stars outshot the Blue Jackets 9-5 in the third period, but failed to get another one past Leclaire, who already has six shutouts this season. Turco knew he had to be at his best just to get Dallas one point in the standings.
''At one point in the third period, you think, 'This is a goalie duel.' And you try to hold up your end of the bargain,'' said Turco, who finished with 25 saves. ''When we talk about goaltending around here, it's all about giving the team a chance to win. Most of all, it's a team effort and doing your part. And mine was to match it and keep it at 1-1 until we could find a crack -- and we did.''
Following a scoreless overtime, Zherdev gave Columbus the early lead in the shootout when he beat Turco in Round 2. Nash had the opportunity to put the game away, but was denied by Turco, which allowed Mike Modano the chance to tie things up. America’s all-time leading scorer did not disappoint, as he ripped a wrist shot past Leclaire to make it 1-1.
Curtis Glencross immediately put the Blue Jackets back in front, but Mike Ribeiro answered as Dallas once again knotted the shootout at 2-2. Once Turco got in front of Gilbert Brule’s wrist shot, it provided Hagman with a chance to win it.
The 10th competitor in the shootout, Hagman skated in and looked to have caught Leclaire off guard when he didn’t go with a forehand shot. He was able to beat the Blue Jackets’ netminder with a backhand shot for his fifth game-winning goal of the season, tying him for the NHL lead with Jeremy Roenick.
''I've tried it a couple of times in practice,'' Hagman said of the move. ''Maybe it's something the goalies don't expect when a guy comes right in front of you and takes a backhanded shot, five hole. It managed to go in.''
Meanwhile, Columbus (12-10-5) continues to struggle in shootouts, as it dropped to 1-5 this season. While the Blue Jackets were able to pick up a point in the standings, coach Ken Hitchcock was disappointed his team couldn’t find a way to hold on despite possessing two leads in the shootout.
The Blue Jackets will look to reverse their fortunes on Wednesday night, when they’ll welcome the Colorado Avalanche to Nationwide Arena.
''We had nothing at the end,'' Hitchcock said. ''We were unlucky not to get two points because we were ahead in the shootout. We squeezed everything we could.''
Material from wire services and team online and broadcast media were used in this report.