DALLAS -- The Anaheim Ducks rarely fare well at American Airlines Center, so they were more than happy to leave with the extra point after beating the Dallas Stars 2-1 in a shootout on Thursday night.
Ryan Getzlaf's backhand on the Ducks' third attempt of the shootout was the clincher. His goal, which was almost identical to the one that teammate Bobby Ryan scored on the Ducks' first attempt, saw him flip a backhand into the left side of the net to beat Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen.
After Ryan's goal, Dallas' Loui Eriksson had his attempt snuffed out by goaltender Jonas Hiller. Anaheim's second shooter, Teemu Selanne, misfired, sending a wrister over the net, but after Ray Whitney's wrister went wide, Getzlaf ended it with his goal.
"They [the Stars] are tough. This is a tough building," Getzlaf said. "They've got a good hockey team over there and we know that. We came in and we got our two points and we'll move on."
Hiller stopped 33 of the 34 shots he faced in regulation and overtime; Lehtonen stopped all but one of the 30 shots he faced.
After watching his team improve to 20-3-3, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau saluted his penalty kill for killing off all five of the Stars' power plays.
"It was really good. I thought the power play and the penalty kill were good all around. The one that hit the post might have been their only good chance on all the power plays," Boudreau said. "You need things like that. If it's not the penalty killing one night, it's the offense going. If it's not the offense, it's the goaltending."
The Stars created plenty of chances in the first period, including a shot by rookie wing Antoine Roussel at 7:50 that glanced off the left post.
It was a fortunate bounce that helped the Stars break through at 12:35 of the opening period when Whitney scored his third of the season by lifting a backhand into the top of the net.
After a shot by Dallas defenseman Alex Goligoski deflected off the right skate of Eriksson, Whitney collected the carom near the left post and scored on backhander to the short side for his first goal since Jan. 24. Whitney missed 16 games with a foot injury before returning on Tuesday against the Nashville Predators.
With 59 seconds left in the first, the Stars had a solid opportunity to double their lead when Eriksson had a breakaway. But Hiller stopped his backhand at the right post to keep it 1-0.
Anaheim had a solid chance to tie the game with 21 seconds left in the period when Andrew Cogliano intercepted an Eriksson pass in the slot and drove toward the net, but was wide with a backhander.
Dallas played its second straight game without first-line center Jamie Benn (wrist). However, captain Brenden Morrow, who missed Tuesday's loss to the Predators with a groin injury, returned and skated on a line with Roussel and Erik Cole.
"You guys could tell that he wasn't 100 percent but he's a warrior and he wanted to be in this game," Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said. "He helped. He gave us a little weight in there, just his leadership on the bench helps us out. He's certainly not 100 percent, but he got through the game and I don't think we had any setbacks. So he should be 90-95 percent for Saturday."
At 4:25 of the second period, Anaheim's Luca Sbisa and Dallas' Vernon Fiddler dropped the gloves near center ice. Fiddler took exception to Sbisa boarding teammate Ryan Garbutt near the blue line and he and Sbisa quickly squared off. They received matching five-minute fighting majors but Fiddler earned a roughing minor for initiating the scrum.
Things got even more interesting at 5:06 when a wrister by Selanne from the left side struck Lehtonen's right shoulder, leading officials to think the puck might have crossed the goal line. However, following a quick review, officials ruled it was not a goal.
The Ducks did score at 7:28 of the second when Cogliano collected his own rebound for his 10th goal of the season. Cogliano took a well-placed pass from Peter Holland and had his first shot stopped by Lehtonen, but he didn't quit on the play, collected his rebound at the far post and knocked a backhand in for the equalizer.
"[Holland] made a good play and I was able to take one shot and then put the rebound in," Cogliano said. "It was a big goal for our team. I think whenever you could tie the game up in the second period, it's a big lift for us."
However, the play of the night might have come at 10:27 of the second period when an apparent go-ahead tally by Dallas' Derek Roy off a rebound of a Whitney shot on which Hiller made a pad save was waved off. Referee Mark Joannette had blown a quick whistle from behind the Dallas net and goal was disallowed, much to the dismay of the crowd.
"They weren't doing us any favors," Gulutzan said of the officials. "It was a quick whistle. It should have been a goal but those things happen in a game and you've got a lot of time to put another one in. Reality is we needed to get something on our specialty teams and five-on-five we needed to get to the net a little bit better."
A wrister by Roussel at 12:34 of the second struck Hiller in the mask but he was able to secure the puck. And at 11:09, Dallas nearly recaptured the lead when a wrister by Reilly Smith struck both the right post and crossbar before floating away from the Ducks goal. Officials quickly ruled it was no goal in the second review of the period.
With 3:37 left in regulation, the Stars again nearly took the lead. This time it was Jaromir Jagr attempting to one-time a wrister. His short wrist shot beat Hiller -- the goal siren went off and lights flashed. However, referee Kevin Pollock immediately indicated no goal, and video replays showed that the shot hit the far post and then the underside of the crossbar -- but never went over the goal line.
Dallas had several chances in overtime with Brenden Dillon and Jagr delivering shots which forced Hiller to make pad saves. Cody Eakin had two strong opportunities at the game-winner but his wrister was stopped by Hiller with five seconds left and his backhand on the ensuing rebound sailed wide.
The teams return to the ice Saturday with Anaheim visiting the St. Louis Blues; Dallas will continue a four-game homestand against Chicago.