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Stars rally to beat Kings 3-2 in OT

by Steve Hunt
DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars refused to let the Los Angeles Kings beat them again.

The Stars lost the first two meetings with L.A., and were 20 minutes away from a third consecutive loss to their Pacific Division rivals. But Dallas rallied from a two-goal deficit to force overtime before Steve Ott's goal 2:56 into OT gave the Stars a 3-2 victory on Wednesday night.

"I thought we played very good against a good team," Dallas coach Glen Gulutzan said. "Two mistakes, two goals but games are 60 minutes for a reason. It was a good victory for us."

The Stars trailed 2-0 entering the third period but got goals by Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson to force overtime. Eriksson tied it with 21 seconds left, beating Jonathan Quick with a 10-foot wrister after a pass by Benn sprung him down the left side, capping a perfectly executed set play after the Stars won a faceoff outside the Kings' blue line.

Ott won it when he took a great pass from Stephane Robidas and beat Quick on his left side.

"We stuck with it," Ott said. "I think we out-chanced them a lot tonight and I think the final result was probably the proper result."

One unsung aspect of the game-winning tally was the crushing hit Dallas center Mike Ribeiro took at the Stars' blue line from Kings defenseman Jack Johnson. Ribeiro laid the puck off to Robidas before Johnson absolutely leveled him.

"He took a real good one for the team," Gulutzan said. "They say you've got to take a hit to make a play and he did. He's a tough, tough customer."

For the most part, things were quiet in the opening 20 minutes. Los Angeles center Mike Richards was denied on a breakaway by Kari Lehtonen at 3:05, and a 40-foot slap shot by Ribeiro two minutes later hit the crossbar.

The Kings got on the board when Richards scored his 10th of the season  and eighth in eight games at 4:53 of the second period. Richards took Dustin Brown's pass from the corner and beat Lehtonen through the five-hole from the slot. Lehtonen got a piece of the shot, but it trickled through his pads and over the goal line.

L.A. made it 2-0 just 36 seconds later when Kevin Westgarth blistered a wrister from 50 feet to the right of Lehtonen for his first goal of the season at 5:29. The goal was set up by Dallas winger Radek Dvorak turning the puck over in his own end. After it deflected off Ethan Moreau, Westgarth quickly converted to make it a two-goal game.

Kings coach Terry Murray admits he liked his club's chances of getting two points heading into the third period with a two-goal edge.

"Going into the start of the third, you've got a 2-0 game. They got us on a line change with [Jamie] Benn coming from behind with speed," Murray said. "They make a play and then the two goals happened."

The Stars got on the board at 2:07 of the third when Benn collected his own rebound and fired it past Quick for his first goal in six games, cutting the Kings' edge to 2-1.

Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi was far from pleased with the outcome -- even though his team won in St. Louis on Tuesday and heads home with three of four points on its brief Midwest trip. The Kings host Chicago on Saturday.

"We gave them a point, with a good lead," he said." Not to say that they didn't make plays, but it's something that we haven't done here in a few years, is cough up leads in the third period. Certainly we might look back on it, later in the season, and say, `Should of, would of, could of,' but the bottom line is, we had a two-game trip and we got three out of four points. It's not the worst, but this certainly isn't the way we wanted to do it.''

Lehtonen stopped 22 shots, while Quick finished with 35 saves.
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