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Stars defeat Penguins to end perfect four-game trip

by Wes Crosby

PITTSBURGH -- The Dallas Stars defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins for a second time in their first seven games, 4-1 at Consol Energy Center on Thursday.

Dallas (6-1-0) extended its winning streak to five games ending a perfect four-game road trip. Antti Niemi made 28 saves and stopped 65 of 66 shots faced in two starts for the season sweep of Pittsburgh; the Stars won 3-0 on Oct. 8.

"It felt good today, like last game," Niemi said. "I felt good overall and it's easier to get to the game when I get shots early. It was quick … then they quieted down a little bit and we got our own game back."

Pittsburgh (3-4-0) allowed more than three goals for the first time. The Penguins have scored fewer than three regulation goals in each of their seven games.

"I thought we came out with a lot of intensity," Penguins coach Mike Johnston said. "When something goes wrong or something happens, I think we let our guard down for a portion of time. It doesn't matter what happens in the game, you can't let the emotion sag. As you saw in tonight's game, there was great emotion and great intensity at parts, but then it sagged at other parts.

"That's the thing. You have to have better resolve in those moments."

Stars defenseman Johnny Oduya opened the scoring when he flipped a fluttering shot over goalie Marc-Andre Fleury's right shoulder from the blue line with 9:05 remaining in the first period. Forward Colton Sceviour screened Fleury, keeping him from tracking Oduya's shot.

With Penguins forward Patric Hornqvist in the penalty box for delay of game, defenseman John Klingberg extended the lead to 2-0. He carried the puck around forward Pascal Dupuis along the blue line to the left faceoff circle, where he took a snap shot into the upper-right corner with 4:55 left.

"We have a lot of options, so it's a great power play," Klingberg said. "They're great players … I think we're learning here. I think it can be better, but we're obviously on the right path, so it's going to be a lot better."

Dupuis, who hadn't played since Nov. 15 of last season because of a blood clot found in his lung, returned from a preseason lower-body injury.

"It was one of those games where I'm happy to be back, but definitely not that happy with the result," said Dupuis, who played 12:43.

Jason Spezza made it 3-0 with his fifth goal of the season 5:07 into the second period. Pittsburgh forward David Perron attempted a blind pass that was intercepted by Spezza just inside the blue line. He drove in on Fleury before sending a wrist shot over his glove.

Forward Nick Bonino ended a streak of seven Stars shots with his first goal, and first point, for the Penguins to make it 3-1 with 8:40 remaining. Bonino left the game after taking an elbow to his face from Stars defenseman Jason Demers with 3:12 to go in the third period.

Any hope of a Pittsburgh rally was cut short when Dallas forward Mattias Janmark sent a rebound under Fleury's blocker for a 4-1 lead with 6:58 left in the period.

The Stars won without a point from either Jamie Benn or Tyler Seguin, who entered tied for second in the NHL with 10 each.

Dallas was outshot 7-2 through the first 7:15 and allowed several quality chances Niemi stopped.

"I told the team after the first period, I didn't like the first period at all," Ruff said. "I said, 'We were lucky.' We didn't compete in some small areas. I thought we came out in the second period, and until we made the mistake, we hadn't given up a shot and were really playing good hockey.

"I thought we were a bit fortunate in the first to get those two, but at the same time, after that, I thought we played well."

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