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Stars erupt in third period to beat Ducks

by Steve Hunt

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars served notice that they're more than a one-line team. The Anaheim Ducks learned they can't take a period off.

Cody Eakin, Stephane Robidas and Ryan Garbutt scored in a 53-second span of the third period Tuesday night to rally the Stars to a 6-3 victory against the disappointed Ducks.

Anaheim took a 2-1 lead when Nick Bonino scored 36 seconds before the second intermission, but the Stars bounced back with a five-goal third period to win at home for the first time since Oct. 24. Antoine Roussel scored twice, Garbutt had a three-point night while and Erik Cole, Eakin and Vernon Fiddler contributed two assists each.

The Stars piled up six goals despite getting no offensive production from it top line of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Valeri Nichushkin.

"It does a lot [for our confidence] because teams are going to focus on our top line," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "They're going to focus in on Tyler and [Jamie Benn] and [Valeri Nichushkin], and they're going to see the best defense most nights. And that's when other lines have to step up."

The Ducks grabbed the lead when Bonino beat backup goaltender Dan Ellis, who stopped 28 of the 31 shots he faced in his first start since Oct. 19, on the short side. But Dallas responded in the third with its best offensive period of the season.

"It just can't happen," Anaheim center Andrew Cogliano said. "We've won two games in a row. We're feeling good. This is a tough building to play in. We're up 2-1 after the second in a key position. Mental mistakes end up costing us the game. It just can't happen for a team like us. We could have taken over first place again tonight. Now we have five really tough games coming up and we have to sharpen up."

On a night where Dallas' top line was kept completely off the scoresheet, Ruff was glad to get half his team's goals from his fourth line.

"Obviously, we're not going to score six, but I think at the same time we're trying to use [Fiddler] against their top line, and I thought they did a nice job," Ruff said. "At home, we're going to have some favorable matchups, and hopefully we can turn that our way just with the depth of scoring on our team."

Eakin tied it at 5:25 with his sixth goal of the season, beating goaltender Jonas Hiller on his glove side with a snap shot from the high slot after a pass from Cole.

Ducks forward Emerson Etem took the blame for that goal.

"I have to take full responsibility for that tying goal there," he said. "I just let off, took my foot off the gas pedal and I need to stay with that guy."

Robidas gave Dallas its first lead of the night 25 seconds later when he scorched a snap that beat Hiller top shelf over his blocker. Garbutt, assisted by Trevor Daley, made it 4-2 at 6:18.

"We want to establish ourselves as a good home team. We want to play well at home in front of our fans," Robidas said. "We haven't been able to do it this year, so we want to make a statement where it's tough to play in our building so we've just got to keep moving and keep getting better."

Roussel scored his second goal of the game at 12:08 and rookie Alex Chiasson added an empty-netter with 58 seconds remaining. Anaheim had cut the Stars' lead to 5-3 at 13:25 on a power-play goal by Dustin Penner after Stars defenseman Brenden Dillon was called for delay of game.

Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau was naturally less than pleased to see his team concede five goals in the final 20 minutes.

"I don't ever want to say that it's necessarily unexplainable or it's one of those things, because I always believe there's some way we could have prevented that from happening," Boudreau said. "That's the first time I think I've been on a team that's had three goals scored on [it] in less than a minute in the third period. This is similar to what happened in Toronto [on Oct. 22]. We just go with some inexperienced guys out there and they go brain dead for a bit."

The Ducks opened the scoring 6:06 into the game when Etem tapped in a pass by Daniel Winnik for his sixth of the season. Ellis, making his first start since Oct. 19, stopped a shot by Hampus Lindholm, but Winnik collected the rebound and slipped the puck to Etem, who scored from just above the crease.

Ellis got the start in place of Kari Lehtonen, who had started 14 straight games since returning from a lower-body injury on Oct. 24.

Ruff's reasoning for giving Ellis the nod over Lehtonen was pretty simple.

"I just decided that [Ellis] needed to play," he said. "That's it."

Dallas tied it at 13:13 of the second when Roussel scored his third of the season. He was streaking toward the near post when Fiddler's pass deflected off his right skate and went past Hiller. Following a short official review, Roussel's goal stood.

Roussel's two-point night came with his family in town for the Thanksgiving holiday.

"Everybody says my dad is there but my mom is there and my sister. Everybody is involved in the family here," Roussel said. "It's great having them in downtown Dallas, taking care of the family during Thanksgiving. That's what it's all about."

Stars forward Ray Whitney had an assist in his return after missing five games with a groin injury.

"[I] thought Ray was OK," Ruff said. "[It] really turned into a speed game at the end. [He] hasn't played in a while and [I] think it takes a couple of games to get going."

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