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Stars beat Oilers 4-2 for 8th straight road win

by Robin Brownlee /
EDMONTON, Alta. -- Thanks to goaltender Kari Lehtonen, the Dallas Stars have turned into record-setting road warriors.

Lehtonen stopped 30 shots Thursday night as the Stars set a franchise record with their eighth consecutive road win by beating the Edmonton Oilers 4-2 at Rexall Place on Thursday night.

Dallas got goals from Jamie Benn, Mike Ribeiro and James Neal before Adam Burish hit the empty net in the final second, but it was Lehtonen who stole the show as the Stars made it five straight wins and improved to 7-0-1 in 2011 on the way to the road record.

"He kept us in the game," said Ribeiro, who extended his points streak to 10 games. "He made the right save at the right time.

"In the third period, we gave a lot less. Better positioning, we closed it up, but the first two periods he played amazing for us and kept us in the game. We'll take this win, but we didn't play as well as we were hoping."

Lehtonen, on a 6-0-1 roll in his last seven starts, was the difference as he one-upped Edmonton's Nikolai Khabibulin, who faced 24 shots on the way to losing his 10th consecutive start.

It's fitting the road record would come against the Oilers in Edmonton -- the Stars have won six of their last seven games at Rexall Place.

"They're a good skating team," Benn said. "They've got a lot of young legs and young talent there. They came out hard. We did enough to win tonight, but I don't think we played our best game.

"He has been there to backstop us the whole year," Benn said of Lehtonen. "He's a great goalie and he definitely did a helluva job tonight."

The Stars leaned on Lehtonen early as the Oilers carried the play in the first 10 minutes before Benn took a pass from Burish and fooled Khabibulin at 11:40.

Dallas had a chance to make it 2-0 against Edmonton's 30th-ranked penalty killing 27 seconds later when Zack Stortini was whistled for interference, but the Oilers turned the tables -- Andrew Cogliano's goalmouth pass banked behind Lehtonen off the skate of Ryan Jones, who was credited with his 11th goal of the season after a review.

"We went to the net hard," Edmonton coach Tom Renney said. "We threw pucks there. We did lots of things you have to do to have success. We have to stay with that.

"I thought he was really good again tonight," Renney added when asked about Lehtonen. "He was great in Dallas, so maybe he's feeling like he's got something on us. We'll just keep going after him. It doesn't matter who is at the other end of the rink, we have to go after that goaltender."

Ribeiro put the Stars ahead for the second time, finishing a give-and-go with Nicklas Grossman at 6:26 of the second after Dallas captain Brenden Morrow knocked Taylor Chorney off the puck. The goal extend extended Ribeiro's points streak to 10 games.

When Neal zipped a shot over Khabibulin's shoulder on a power play to make it 3-1, the Stars looked to be well on the way to their road record, but rookie defenseman Jeff Petry injected some drama, cutting it to 3-2 on a power play with his first NHL goal at 18:52.

"I thought we did a great job of getting pucks to the net and he did a good job of getting in front of a lot of them," Jones said of Lehtonen. "There were a lot of pucks that were in the crease area. For the most part of this game, minus 10 minutes, I thought we were a pretty good hockey team."

When Burish hit the empty net an instant before the final horn, the Oilers had the cold consolation of having played well -- but with nothing to show for it.

"It's tough," Jones said. "There's been so many of those one-goal games that we've lost this year. Is there a consolation? We just have to find a way."

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