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Stars beat Oilers to grab 1st in Pacific @NHLdotcom
It's the Dallas Stars' turn to be in first place in the Pacific Division.

Michael Ryder scored twice and added an assist as the Stars jumped over San Jose and back into the top spot by beating the Edmonton Oilers 3-1 on Wednesday night. The win gives Dallas 89 points, one more than San Jose and Los Angeles and two more than idle Phoenix in the NHL's tightest divisional race.

Mike Ribeiro scored the other goal for the Stars (42-30-5) and assisted on both of Ryder's tallies. Kari Lehtonen stopped 31 shots, allowing only a third-period goal by Ales Hemsky as the Oilers (31-37-9) saw their 5-0-2 run end.

It was a bounce-back effort for the Stars, who were beaten 5-4 in Calgary on Monday -- a loss that dropped them out of first place.

"We're happy to take these two points and keep going," Lehtonen said. "You never know what's going to happen against the Oilers. Those guys have so much skill, and they're fun to play against."

Lehtonen kept the game scoreless with a big pad save on Nick Schultz's shorthanded 2-on-1 break eight minutes into the game. The save looked even bigger when Ryder opened the scoring at 11:53 with a spectacular individual move, deking past a flatfooted Jeff Petry before sliding a backhander past a diving Devan Dubnyk.

"Your big players have to be your best players in game like these, and they were tonight," Dallas coach Glen Gulutzan said.

Ribeiro made it 2-0 at 5:05 of the second when he took Loui Eriksson's return pass on a 2-on-1 break and banked a shot off Dubnyk and into the net. Dubnyk robbed Ryder on a breakaway late in the period to keep Edmonton within two after 40 minutes.

But Ryder converted a tic-tac-toe passing play at 4:11 of the third for his 35th of the season and a three-goal lead that was more than enough.

"We had shots but we didn't get nearly enough traffic in front of the net," Oilers captain Shawn Horcoff said. We didn't match their intensity."

Lehtonen kept the Oilers off the board early in the third when he got his pad down to stop Jordan Eberle's shorthanded breakaway.

"I had enough time to see who was coming and remember that he likes to deke on penalty shots and breakaways," Lehtonen said. "I had a feeling what might be coming, but he still made that deke so fast I was really lucky to get something there."

But Edmonton ended Lehtonen's bid at a fifth shutout this season at 8:21 when Corey Potter fired wide but came off the end boards to Hemsky at the other side of the net for an easy shot into a wide-open net.

However, they mustered little offense the rest of the way.
"It seemed like the game was there for the taking all night for us, but we just couldn't get into the game," Eberle said. "Teams should be scared to come into our building and play us with the speed and puck movement we have."

The Stars completed a sweep of the four-game season series for the first time since 2007-08, outscoring Edmonton 14-4.

"The effort level just being enough is not good enough," Oilers forward Ryan Smyth said. "It's a matter of competing at a high level, consistently."

The Stars play the third of a four-game road trip in Vancouver on Friday, then begin a home-and-home with the Sharks in San Jose on Saturday.

"It doesn't get easier," Gulutzan said. "Those are all points we have to claw, scrape or whatever we can do to get something out of those games."

Material from team media was used in this report.
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