Stars end slide with win over Wild

by Brian Compton /
Dallas forward Antti Miettinen scored a pair of goals as the Stars snapped their longest skid in more than four years with a 3-1 win over the Minnesota Wild.
With a four-game losing streak on their plate and a five-game road trip looming, the Dallas Stars had seen enough.
Antti Miettinen scored twice and Marty Turco made 18 saves as Dallas ended its longest skid in more than four years with a 3-1 win over the Minnesota Wild at the American Airlines Center on Monday night.
The Stars – who hadn’t lost four straight since they dropped five in a row from Nov. 30-Dec. 10 of 2003 – were outscored 14-4 during the slump and were shut out twice.
“It was nice to get some room out there, finally,” Dallas captain Brenden Morrow said. “Teams have been checking us real tight and we haven’t had a whole lot of time to make plays. But tonight, we found some bounces.”
After Mike Ribeiro – who had two assists after signing a five-year, $25 million deal earlier in the day -- failed to score on a penalty shot in the first, Matt Niskanen ended a scoreless streak of 107:29 for the Stars when he beat Niklas Backstrom 5:50 into the second period ( 700K ). Dallas had not scored on home ice since a 5-4 win over the St. Louis Blues on Dec. 29, but the Wild were exactly what the doctor ordered for the struggling Stars. With the win, Dallas improved to 6-0-2 in its last eight home games against Minnesota.
“This was a must-win for us,” Morrow said. “Four in a row, not playing our best hockey at home. To get that big win, get some momentum and go out on the road … it’s never easy. To get just a boost of confidence before we leave, it was huge for us.”
Mark Parrish evened the score for the Wild at the 9:19 mark of the second period ( 700K ), when he was able to redirect a shot by Marian Gaborik just moments after a Minnesota power play expired. It was Parrish’s 12th goal of the season.
Miettinen notched his first tally of the night less than two minutes later ( 700K ), when he took a pass from Morrow and fired a slap shot from the right circle that found its way through a crowd and past Backstrom to make it 2-1. He added another goal 2:11 into the third period ( 700K ) for his first two-goal game since Dec. 29, 2006.
“I don’t know if there’s a big difference between earlier in the season and now,” said Miettinen, who now has nine goals on the season. “I’m just focusing on the same stuff and trying to hit the net and have some patience. It’s been going pretty well.”
Minnesota – which has dropped two straight and visits Detroit on Thursday night -- had a goal disallowed in the second period, when it was ruled that Turco had bumped the net off its hinges just before a shot from Brent Burns had crossed the goal line.
''We can't ask the goalie to do it all, but when games are tight, you need a huge save to keep you in the game,'' Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said. ''We've got to play a little better, maybe get a goal from a defenseman or a big save at the right time. We need a little help.''
Dallas, which earned a first-place tie in the Pacific Division with the San Jose Sharks, begins its five-game road trip on Wednesday night at Chicago. Stars coach Dave Tippett is happy to see his team hit the road with some momentum.
"We had a lot of guys play well and do the little things that lead to wins," Tippett said. "Turco played very well and made key saves for us. We were trying to stop the bleeding, and we know we are a team that needs certain things in order. We got those tonight. We had enough positives to push us through and work our way to a victory."

Material from wire services and team media was used in this report.