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Big Third Period Pushes Stars Past Ducks

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

To move up in the standings the Dallas Stars need to start winning some games against the better teams in the Western Conference. They did that Tuesday night. The Stars rattled off three goals in less than a minute as they rallied to defeat the Anaheim Ducks, 6-3, at American Airlines Center.

"It wasn't our best game but we came out strong in the third,” said Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas. “We found a way to win.”

Down 2-1 heading into the third period, the Stars scored three goals in 53 seconds to take a 4-2 lead and control of the game.

“We might have had to hand them a little bottle of NoDoz after the first period, but we woke them up in the third,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff.

The Stars, who fell behind late in the second period, came out with a strong push in the third and it paid dividends on the scoreboard. Erik Cole set up Cody Eakin, who scored from the slot to tie the game at 5:25 of the third. Just 25 seconds later, Robidas scored from the point to put the Stars ahead 3-2. Then 28 seconds later Ryan Garbutt beat Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler to a loose puck and beat Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller with a wrist shot to put the Stars up 4-2.

"That was awesome for the crowd, awesome for us. When you're playing you don't even know how fast they come,” Garbutt said. “I didn't even know they were that quick but it was huge for us."

The victory snapped a two-game losing streak for the Stars and it also ended a four-game winless streak at home.

“We want to establish ourselves as a good home team. We want to take pride and play well at home in front of our fans,” said Robidas. “We haven’t been able to do it this year, and we want to make a statement that it is going to be tough to play in our building. We’ve got to keep moving and keep getting better.”

The Stars, who improved to 12-9-2 on the season, got a big game from the line of Antoine Roussel (two goals), Vernon Fiddler (two assists) and Garbutt (one goal, two assists).

“That line made the difference for us tonight,” said Ruff. “They were the spark. You need that. For the depth of scoring or some nights when you have a period like our first period, it’s a spark and I thought they sparked our team.”

“That’s what team is all about, everybody has to get going,” said Roussel. “It just can’t be [Tyler] Seguin and [Jamie] Benn every night. Some nights they are going to be off and we have to be there for them. It was great that the puck went in for us.”

Dan Ellis got the nod in net for the Stars, and stopped 28 of 31 shots in his first start since October 19.

“I thought he was good,” said Ruff. “I thought he gave us a real good first period. He’d probably like the second goal back, but after that he gave us a solid performance.”

The Ducks took a 1-0 lead at the 6:06 mark when Daniel Winnik centered the puck to Emerson Etem, who beat Ellis from close range.

Just after the Stars’ second power play of the night expired, the Stars scored to tie the game at 1-1 at the 13:13 mark of the second period. A Fiddler centering pass banged off the skate of Roussel and past Hiller.

The Ducks got the lead back with 35.1 seconds left in the second. Andrew Cogliano set up Nick Bonino, scored from close range off the rush to put Anaheim up 2-1 heading into the second intermission.

But the Stars rattled off those three goals in less than a minute in the third period to take control of the game. Roussel added his second goal of the game with 7:52 remaining to make it a 5-2 game.

Dustin Penner scored on the power play for the Ducks with 6:35 left to make it a 5-3 game. The Ducks pulled Hiller with just over two minutes remaining, and the Stars sealed the win with an empty net goal with 58.4 seconds left and made it a 6-3 final.

The Stars’ homestand continues Friday when the Chicago Blackhawks come to town.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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