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Stars fall behind early, rally to defeat Wild

by Dan Myers / NHL.com

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- For the second time in less than a month, the Dallas Stars came back to win after trailing by multiple goals on the road against the Minnesota Wild.

Dallas allowed two first-period goals, scored three times in less than five minutes late in the second period and went on to win 6-3 at Xcel Energy Center on Monday.

"We made some fundamental mistakes early that they took advantage of," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "We know we can score. We spotted them a couple, but after that, we played a really good second period, and I thought we'd get rewarded."

Dallas won 4-3 in overtime here on Nov. 28 after trailing 3-0 entering the third period.

Stars goalie Antti Niemi made 30 saves in relief of Kari Lehtonen, who was pulled after Wild forward Charlie Coyle scored to make it 2-0 at 8:16 of the first period, and Vernon Fiddler had two goals.

The Stars' rally began with some unlikely help from an animated Christmas program and a defenseman who's not known for his offensive game.

With Minnesota leading 2-0 in the second period, the Wild showed Stars defenseman Jordie Benn on the video board next to Yukon Cornelius, the red-bearded prospector from "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer." On the very next shift, Benn's wrist shot from the point made it through traffic for his first goal of the season at 14:59.

"He's one good-looking guy, that's all I know," said Benn, who ended a 33-game goal drought dating to April 8. "All the guys here want me to dress up as Cornelius for Halloween. It's funny to me. I wanted to laugh, but we're not at home.

"Everyone was like, 'Way to stick it to them.' I said, 'Stick it to them? I thought it was kind of funny.'"

Three of Benn's seven career NHL goals have come against the Wild.

Fiddler and Tyler Seguin each scored over the next 4:30 to give the Stars a 3-2 lead.

Dallas (25-7-2) has won all three games against Minnesota, although Monday was the first victory in regulation.

Goalie Devan Dubnyk made 28 saves for the Wild (17-9-6), who have lost two in a row since earning at least a point in nine consecutive games.

"Disappointing, for sure," Minnesota coach Mike Yeo said. "We were going pretty good. I still don't think we were at our best, but we built a 2-0 lead. We're not in the business of making excuses.

"The last couple of games haven't been good enough by our standards. This is what you worry about when you get on a streak and things are going well."

Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon, who signed a four-year, $20.75 million contract extension Monday, made it 1-0 at 4:57 of the first period with his fifth goal. He controlled the puck through the neutral zone and down the right-wing side deep into the circle before beating Lehtonen over his blocker with a wrist shot.

Coyle scored his seventh goal when he skated down the left side and beat Lehtonen over his blocker.

"It's nice jumping off to a two-goal lead, especially against a team like that," Coyle said. "But after that, I think our sense of urgency dropped and we stopped going as hard for pucks and winning those loose-puck battles."

Lehtonen allowed two goals on four shots.

After Benn pulled the Stars within one with his first goal in 34 games, Alex Goligoski's centering pass hit Patrick Eaves' stick before deflecting off Fiddler's and into the net on the power play at 18:30, tying it 2-2.

"Sometimes a fresh look helps you simplify things," Fiddler said. "I was supposed to win a faceoff, then go to the net. [Eaves] made a good play with the tip, and it was lucky to go off me. It was a little bit of a momentum boost for us."

Less than a minute later, a turnover by Spurgeon in front of his own net ended up on the stick of Seguin, who slipped the puck through Dubnyk's five-hole with 31.2 seconds left.

"I've gotta make a harder play there," Spurgeon said. "I tried to get it out, it went off a stick, and [Seguin] got behind us."

Seguin's 19 goals are fourth in the NHL.

"Just trying to get two points and having a flight home," Seguin said. "I'm happy about that."

Antoine Roussel gave Dallas a two-goal lead at 3:41 of the third period when a deflected shot from the point wound up on his stick in the slot.

Nino Niederreiter got the Wild within 4-3 at 10:26 by putting in a rebound of his own shot for his seventh goal, but Cody Eakin and Fiddler each scored an empty-net goal late.

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