The Anaheim Ducks
have spent the entire season finding ways to win tight games, often improbably. Wednesday night's 4-3 overtime victory against the Stars at American AirlinesCenter was dramatic, even for them.
The Stars were 6.4 seconds away from a victory that would have moved them past Anaheim into eighth place before Teemu Selanne slammed home a loose puck to force overtime. Rookie defenseman Cam Fowler
then fired Bobby Ryan
's pass behind Kari Lehtonen
1:42 into OT to give the Ducks their third consecutive overtime win.
"It shows the resiliency of our team and how there's no quit no matter what the circumstances are," Fowler said. "You can always rely on some of the veterans to step up when the game is on the line. Teemu did that for us tonight. Bobby gave me a great pass in overtime. I didn't really have much work left to do."
The eighth-place Ducks, who have 87 points, are now 23-8-5 in one-goal games. The single point left the Stars with 86 points and a 2-2-3 record on their seven-game homestand.
"You have to win, whatever you do, you got to find a way and our guys continue to reach back," said Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle, whose team plays at seventh-place Nashville on Thursday. "I thought the player that made the play tonight, for me, was Bobby Ryan. He pushed the puck out along the way and made the heck of a pass to Cam Fowler on the 2-on-1."
Dallas broke a 2-2 tie with 6:39 remaining in regulation on Trevor Daley's sixth goal of the season. Ray Emery stopped Steve Ott's shot, but the rebound came out to Mike Ribeiro, who fed Daley for a shot from the lower right circle that put the Stars back in front.
The Stars looked poised to win it in regulation before Lubomir Visnovsky's keep-in down the right boards hit the referee and came to Saku Koivu in the right corner. He drove toward the net and threw a pass that caromed off a body in front and came to Selanne, who buried it from just outside for crease for his 23rd goal of the season and 629th of his career. It was Selanne's second straight game-tying tally -- he had a late goal on Sunday that forced OT against Calgary in a game the Ducks won 5-4.
At 40, Selanne continues to show that he's an offensive force -- especially in the clutch.
"I've always said it's better to be lucky than good," Selanne said. "Good things happen when you believe. The team confidence is the key right now. It's doesn't matter if you're up two goals or down two goals. You've got to believe you're going to come back. That's what has happened lately. It's a good feeling."
The Ducks opened the scoring 56 seconds into the second period, capitalizing on carryover power play after a holding by Daley with 47 seconds left in the first. Visnovsky beat Lehtonen top shelf from the left circle 56 seconds into the middle period for his 15th goal of the season and fourth against Dallas.
Dallas tied it at 8:57 with a power-play goal of its own. Alex Goligoski's 12th goal of the season came on a blistering slap shot from the right point that beat Emery high to his glove side.
Dallas went ahead 2-1 at 4:29 of the third when Loui Eriksson beat Emery with a wrist shot for his 24th of the season. The All-Star winger had missed the last two games with concussion-like symptoms.
"I thought Loui was terrific tonight," Dallas coach Marc Crawford said. "For a guy to come back and be as dangerous as he was all night that was pretty impressive."
But the lead didn't last long -- Corey Perry beat Lehtonen just 11 seconds later with a backhander for his 40th of the season. The goal was set up after Goligoski turned the puck over in the neutral zone. Ryan picked the puck out of the air and quickly slotted it to Perry with a well-placed backhand pass.
"We did a lot of good things. We didn't close out the game," Stars center Brad Richards said. "It's happened a bunch this year for some reason. Nothing we can do but learn, go over it and keep battling."