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Stars beat Ducks to avoid season sweep

by Curtis Zupke /

ANAHEIM -- One of the more difficult feats to achieve in hockey is beating a team three times in a row, no matter how wide a gap that exists in the standings.

Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau expressed concern about doing just that in the morning skate, and his fears came true in the first 20 minutes Friday night. The Dallas Stars' nothing-to-lose energy produced three goals en route to a 3-1 victory that salvaged the finale of the three-game mini-series.

Alex Chiasson scored his first NHL goal and Lane MacDermid his second in as many games with Dallas, which appropriately got the youngsters on the board in its first win since a couple of trades earlier in the week officially signaled a rebuild.

"That's huge. They're a big part of this team," Eric Nystrom said. "If you look at our roster, we have a ton of young guys. They can't be in here dipping their toe in the water. They got to jump in head first and tonight they did a great job of that.

"We looked like a hockey team out there. We looked like a really good one, and we beat a really good team tonight."

The Stars lost 4-0 to the Ducks at home Monday and 5-2 at Honda Center on Wednesday. Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and four assists in the two games but missed Friday with a lower-body injury.

Nystrom acknowledged that "I think we took advantage" of Getzlaf's absence, and Boudreau was blunt when asked where he missed the NHL's sixth-leading scorer. The Ducks went 0 for 4 on the power play.

"I think everywhere – from leadership in the room to the power play, for sure – to the line stabilities," Boudreau said. "He's a huge part of our team. But we should be good enough. When Corey [Perry] was missed, we were 3-0-1, so we've got to get better if we're going to be one of the top teams."

Anaheim still threw plenty at Dallas -- specifically Teemu Selanne, who had numerous chances all game and hit the post in the third period. Matthew Lombardi made his Ducks debut and looked good early on the power play.

But Kari Lehtonen got 15 blocked shots from his defense to help withstand a big push in the third and end a four-game losing streak. He finished with 27 saves, including 10 in the third period.

Dallas emerged from an odd opening period with a 3-1 lead, and it could have been more after Ray Whitney hit a post and was stoned by Viktor Fasth's right leg.

Chiasson, 22, bumped to the top line with Whitney and Jamie Benn in his second NHL game, drove hard to the net and finished a centering pass from Vernon Fiddler in the final minute.

"We worked a little bit on this this morning," Chiasson said. "I saw him going wide. I was trying to hold the puck a little longer, and he's got great speed, too. I saw him. I didn't think he was going to give it to me. That was a great play. What a way to score your first goal."

Nystrom scored shorthanded on a bad decision by Fasth to come out to the hash marks for a loose puck. Nystrom got to it and went around Fasth to easily put it in the open net for a 2-1 lead at 13:54.

"They were clearing the puck out of their zone, and obviously I misread the speed of the puck," said Fasth, who then said with a chuckle, "Or maybe I overestimated my skating ability. No, you guys and me know it was a bad decision by me. I've got to learn from it and do it a different way next time."

Anaheim had tied it at 1-1 on Andrew Cogliano's chip after Bryan Allen's dump-in took an odd carom at 9:23. That goal came 18 seconds after MacDermid, a 23-year-old who was part of the Jaromir Jagr return from Boston and was acquired for toughness, scored on a tight backhand to complete a great passing sequence by the fourth line.

"I thought he was supposed to be tough, but apparently he's a goal-scorer," Dallas coach Glen Gulutzan said. "He gets his goal and checks out. He's playing hard and it's fun with these young guys here. They give you what they've got and I'm glad he's got a couple goals."

MacDermid later left with an upper-body injury and did not return. It was the only thing that dampened the night for the Stars.

"It gets the morale up a little bit in here," Alex Goligoski said of the victory. "It was nice to have a day off [Thursday], rest up, and survey the situation that we have right now … we just have to keep taking a step forward here."

Drama unfolded before the game when Jonas Hiller was too ill to serve as Fasth's backup. Rob Laurie, a 43-year-old former professional roller hockey goalie, was signed to a one-day professional tryout contract and took warmups in a No. 43 jersey. His NHL career lasted less than four minutes until minor-league call-up Igor Bobkov arrived to take his place.

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