ANAHEIM, Calif. – Niko Kapanen scored the eventual game-winner in the second period and added an empty-net goal to lead the Dallas Stars over the Ducks 5-3 on Thursday night at the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim.
Dallas struck for three second period goals in all, including two power play goals.
“We had the momentum before and the penalties just gave them all the momentum,” said Ducks Assistant Captain Rob Niedermayer. “That gave them the lead and we just couldn’t come back from it. We got down to a 5-on-3 and you can’t do that with the power play they have.”
The Ducks maintained fifth place in the Western Conference despite the loss with 92 points. Anaheim now heads to the road for five games before wrapping up the season April 17th at home against Calgary.
“It’s hard to be critical of our group because things have gone so well and they’ve worked so hard,” said Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle. “We have a game like tonight where we weren’t as sharp as we have been. I’m not going to criticize our team for this hockey game.”
Anaheim started the scoring as Rob Niedermayer (13, Friesen, Marchant) fired a quick wrist shot over Marty Turco’s left shoulder for his 13th goal of the season at 8:01 of the first period.
Niklas Hagman (7, Unassisted) got the Stars even at 12:29 of the first period with a shorthanded breakaway goal.
Andy McDonald (30, Lupul, Getzlaf) scored his 30th goal of the season at 19:15 of the first and gave the Ducks a 2-1 lead after one period.
In the second, with the Stars on a two-man advantage, Jussi Jokinen (17, Zubov, Modano) beat Giguere to tie the contest at 3:19. Antti Miettinen (10, Boucher, Robidas) gave Dallas their first lead of the game at 4:43 of the second period with the Stars on the man-advantage.
“You can’t give anybody 5-on-3s like we did in the second period,” said Carlyle. “We got ourselves into penalty problems and that just turned the whole momentum of the game in their favor.”
Joffrey Lupul (26, Salei) beat Turco through the five-hole at 18:00 of the second period to cut the Dallas lead to 4-3.
In the third, Turco turned away a 15 Ducks shots to keep Dallas’ one-goal lead.
“We scored a big goal to get back within one and we still had 20 minutes to play,” said Ducks captain Scott Niedermayer. “So I think we reacted the right way after all that happened. We had good pressure in the third, but we just weren’t able to get the goal we needed.”
Kapanen (13, Barnes) added his 13th of the season with the Ducks’ net empty to seal a 5-3 win for the Stars.
The Ducks next face the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday at 3:00 PM at Staples Center. The game can be seen on NBC's regional NHL coverage and heard locally on 1540 AM.