On a night when both teams were tired, Detroit's Jiri Hudler
's shootout skills made the difference.
Hudler had a goal and also delivered the lone tally in the tiebreaker as the Red Wings beat the Dallas Stars
3-2 at the American Airlines Center on Tuesday night to take over first place in the Western Conference.
As Detroit's second shooter, Hudler pulled Dallas rookie goaltender Richard Bachman
to the right side of the goal before tucking the puck just inside the right post with one hand for the winner. Ty Conklin
was perfect against All three Dallas shooters.
"It's always nice when you score on a move like this," Hudler said. "I faked a shot, the puck stopped for a little second and then there was an open net there. I thought he got the puck. He didn't expect that, I didn't, but I was lucky."
Both teams played Monday night -- Detroit at home against Buffalo and Dallas at St. Louis. Wings coach Mike Babcock said he wasn't surprised that both teams seemed to lack some zip.
"I knew in general the kind of game it was going to be," Babcock said. "You have to give them a lot of credit, two nights in a row they really checked and battled hard. Both teams played last night and traveling in late, that's what you get."
The Wings now have 61 points, one more than Central Division rivals St. Louis and Chicago, and also one more than Vancouver, which leads the Northwest Division.
Detroit (30-15-1) struck first just 6:41 into the game when Tomas Holmstrom
buried a one-timer, beating Bachman to the glove side. The rookie netminder never had time to get completely set after retrieving a puck from behind his net and Holmstrom took full advantage.
But Wings defenseman Ian White
was called for interference at 10:30 -- and just 29 seconds later, Dallas tied it up when captain Brenden Morrow
deflected a blast by Alex Goligoski
through Conklin's legs for the equalizer.
The Stars took their first lead at 16:28 when Loui Eriksson
knocked a rebound in with a solid backhand, making it 2-1. Sheldon Souray
had the initial blast from the left side, which was stopped by Conklin. But Eriksson was waiting in front of the crease and he quickly pounced.
After the first intermission, the visitors wasted little time tying the game for a second time. Just 1:43 into the second, a shot by Hudler ricocheted off the skate of Goligoski and into the back of the Stars net for Hudler's 13th of the season.
Detroit went on the power play twice in the final period while Dallas held the man advantage once in the final 20 minutes, but neither club was able to convert and this one headed to overtime.
In the first period, Dallas outshot Detroit 11-5. But in the final 40 minutes of regulation, it was the Red Wings who held a huge edge in that category, outshooting the Stars 23-13.
"I didn't think it was a high-level game as far as two teams energized and ready to go," Babcock said. "I thought the compete level was good from both teams that didn't have a ton of energy."
Neither team had many chances in the extra period but the Red Wings did go on the power play one final time when Dallas defenseman Stephane Robidas
was called for tripping with 17.3 seconds left in overtime. After Dallas' Steve Ott
won the opening faceoff of the Detroit power play, sending the puck the length of the ice, the Red Wings were unable to get off a single shot and the game headed to a shootout.
Conklin stopped 25 shots, while Bachman made 30 saves for Dallas.
"It was good for (Conklin) because he hasn't done a ton of winning this year, so good for him to get a win," Babcock said.
The Stars did fall for a second straight night and dropped their third straight overall, but coach Glen Gulutzan did see some positives after getting a point despite playing without his top two centers -- Jamie Benn
had an appendectomy on Sunday and Mike Ribeiro
is on IR with a knee injury.
"You don't want to give up points, especially in your own building, but I have to judge everything by work ethic," Gulutzan said. "And if you look at these two nights, we put in the work. When you put in those efforts, you have to get the points."