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Stars beat Ducks 3-1 for third straight win

by Steve Hunt

DALLAS – The Dallas Stars' fast start was too much for the Anaheim Ducks.

Trevor Daley and Jamie Benn scored power-play goals in the opening 20 minutes to lead the Stars to their third consecutive victory, a 3-1 win against the Ducks on Friday night.

Dallas dominated the first period, outshooting Anaheim 16-7 and scoring twice while keeping the Ducks on their heels.

"I think so, from start to finish," Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said when asked if that was his team's best first period of the season. "Our first periods have been pretty good this year -- we've come out with some juice. I think it's a little bit indicative of how we practice. We want to come out with a lot of tempo in our practices. I don't think it's a secret that those seconds need some work."

From the opening faceoff, Dallas looked like a team on a mission, making life tough on Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller by creating a multitude of chances and traffic in front of the Anaheim net.

"We wanted to get on them early," Benn said. "They're obviously a good team and on a bit of a hot streak, so we wanted to go right after them and not give them any confidence and use our home building as an advantage."

Loui Eriksson added a third-period goal and Kari Lehtonen made 20 saves, allowing only a second-period tally by Nick Bonino, as Dallas snapped Anaheim 's four-game winning streak.

Dallas opened the scoring at 8:48 of the opening period when Daley one-timed a straightaway slapper from just inside the blue line over the blocker of a screened Hiller. It was Daley's first goal since Dec. 31, 2011, a span of 56 games.

Brad Staubitz, whose roughing penalty allowed the Stars to score their first power-play goal, gave Dallas a five-minute advantage when he was called for spearing Dallas rookie Brenden Dillon at 12:34. Once again, the Stars wasted little time in making the Ducks pay – just 25 seconds into the long power play, Benn rifled a shot from the bottom of the left circle that caught the far top corner for his fourth goal of the season.

"We've got to be ready right from the start. I looked up and it was 12-3 in shots or something midway through the first period," Ducks wing Corey Perry said. "That's unacceptable for our team. When we get the lead in the first period, we're a tough team to beat. That's how we have to play."

Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau not only took issue with the spearing call on Staubitz, but he also took exception to what he felt was Dallas defenseman Stephane Robidas spearing Perry earlier in the opening period – a play on which no call was made.

"It wasn't a penalty," Boudreau said of Staubitz's hit. "What do you want me to say? Good refs have bad games. Like good hockey players have bad games, good refs have bad games. Everybody saw it [Robidas spear Perry]. I mean they were squared off as if they were going to fight from the thing. All four refs were looking at it."

Perry and Robidas fought shortly after the incident; Robidas ended up with a couple of facial cuts.

Hiller did not return to the ice for the second period after suffering a lower body injury late in the first. He was replaced by rookie Viktor Fasth, who stopped 11 of 12 shots.

"It's just a lower-body injury right now," Boudreau said. "He wasn't feeling very well so we made the change."

The Ducks dominated the second period, outshooting Dallas 13-5, but managed only one goal. Bonino scored his fourth of the season when he deflected a Luca Sbisa blast from the right circle past Lehtonen at 15:23 to make it 2-1.

About a minute after the goal. Lehtonen made the save of the game when he robbed Daniel Winnik on a 3-on-1 break. Winnik, coming late down the slot, attempted to slip a backhand into the short side but Lehtonen stopped the shot with his glove. It was a play both coaches agree was a turning point in the game.

"That would have made it 2-2. I think it would have been a different game," Boudreau said.

The Stars added an insurance goal with 7:14 left in regulation when Eriksson beat Fasth with a short-side wrist shot for his fourth of the season. Derek Roy and Alex Goligoski each earned their second assists of the night.

Anaheim pulled Fasth with 2:55 remaining, but the Ducks managed little consistent pressure even with the extra skater.

The Ducks play again Saturday night in St. Louis while Dallas gets a few days off before playing at Edmonton on Wednesday -- the Stars' second visit to Rexall Place in a week.

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