The Dallas Stars made it five wins in a row Friday night, rallying for a 4-3 shootout win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in a highly entertaining game before a sellout crowd of 18,532 at American Airlines Center.
The Stars, who were playing on the second night of a back-to-back and didn't arrive in Dallas until 3:30 a.m. Friday morning, overcame an early 2-0 deficit as they matched their longest winning streak of the season.
[WATCH: All Stars vs. Penguins highlights]
"Today wasn't a clean game, but it was a gutsy effort. Down 2-0 that early and have to battle back," said Stars coach Ken Hitchcock. "We got home at 3:30 or 4 o'clock in the morning and won a hockey game at home against a rested team. That's big. It's huge for us."
Video: PIT@DAL: Seguin scores off Benn's beautiful pass
The Stars won for the first time this season when trailing after two periods this season and handed the Penguins their first loss when leading after two periods.
"We're staying with it," said Stars defenseman John Klingberg. "We've got a lot of trust in ourselves right now, and we're trusting the teammates next to us. That's huge to get confidence going in the team and building in the team."
Tyler Seguin scored late in the first to cut the lead to 2-1 and then Klingberg and Dan Hamhuis tallied early in the third to give the Stars a 3-2 lead before the Penguins tied the game with 1:13 remaining. After a scoreless but back-and-forth 3-on-3 overtime, Seguin scored the only goal of the shootout while Kari Lehtonen, who had 34 saves, gave up nothing to Pittsburgh's big three of Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, and Phil Kessel.
Video: PIT@DAL: Klingberg buries one through Murray's legs
"Lehts stepped up big, made key saves the whole game," said Klingberg. "It was a tough night with energy coming in late yesterday, but we grinded it out and got two points. I am very proud of this team right now."
The Stars (33-19-4) improved to 9-2-1 over their last 12 games and stayed within one point of St. Louis for third place in the Western Conference.
"It's huge. It's huge for our locker room, for everybody - the fans," Stars forward Alexander Radulov said of the win. "We finally had a chance to come back and win one of these games when we were down, and no one gave up. We all tried to play the system, play the right way."
Video: PIT@DAL: Lehtonen robs Malkin with his glove
The Penguins (30-22-4) lost for just the second time in the last seven games (5-1-1).
"Obviously we were disappointed that we gave up two early in the third there, but I like the fight," said Penguins coach Mike Sullivan. "We stayed with it and got the game tied. It was a hard-fought game and a good team. It was one of those games that had a playoff-type feel to it; there wasn't a lot of ice out there."
Twenty seconds after killing off Dallas' second power play of the first period, the Penguins scored to take a 1-0 lead. Riley Sheahan came down the left wing on the rush, took the puck to the net and slipped it by Lehtonen at the 9:07 mark.
Video: PIT@DAL: Hamhuis nets huge blast from the point
Just 107 seconds later, it was a 2-0 game when the Penguins scored shorthanded on Dallas' third power play of the period. Carl Hagelin knocked down a Klingberg pass in the Pittsburgh zone, raced in on net and scored off a wrist shot to make it a 2-0 game at 10:54 of the first.
The Stars cut the lead to 2-1 late in the first when Jamie Benn grabbed a puck in the corner and set up Seguin, who scored from close range at the 17:57 mark.
The Stars tied the game early in the third. Radulov sent the puck from behind the net to Klingberg, who scored from the slot at the 2:46 mark to make it a 2-2 game.
Video: PIT@DAL: Seguin gives Stars edge in the shootout
The Stars took the lead 2:01 later. After some extended Dallas time in the Pittsburgh zone, Hamhuis beat Penguins goalie Matt Murray, who had lost his stick, with a shot from the left point to put Dallas ahead 3-2 at 4:47 of the third period.
The Penguins pulled Murray for an extra attacker with 1:58 remaining and tied the game with 1:13 left when the puck deflected to Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz, who scored from the left circle to send the game to overtime tied 3-3.
The game then headed to the shootout where Seguin's wrist shot trickled through Murray for the only goal. Malkin missed the net, Crosby hit the crossbar, and Lehtonen stopped Kessel, and the Stars had their fifth straight win.
Video: PIT@DAL: Lehtonen denies Kessel to seal SO win
Hanzal, Honka sit with injuries
Stars center Martin Hanzal (lower body) and defenseman Julius Honka (upper body) sat out Friday's game due to injuries suffered in Thursday's game at Chicago.
Hanzal was injured late in the second period when he was hit by a shot off the stick of teammate Brett Ritchie. Hanzal returned for the third period and finished the game, but Stars coach Ken Hitchcock said Hanzal was sore Friday and unable to play.
Hanzal's status for Sunday's game against Vancouver is up in the air.
Honka left Thursday's game after being checked into the boards in the second period. He left the game and did not return. There was no further update other than he was out for Friday's game.
Video: Stars stay hot in back to back
The Stars are 7-4 in games that have gone beyond regulation, including 4-2 in shootouts and 3-2 in overtime.
The current five-game winning streak matches the longest of the season for the Stars, who won from five straight from Nov. 24 to Dec. 3 as well.
The Stars are now 1-14-1 when trailing after two periods.
Tyler Seguin extended his goal-scoring streak to five games.
Kari Lehtonen is on a personal five-game winning streak.
Stars captain Jamie Benn tallied three assists in Friday's game.
The Penguins outshot the Stars 37-36 and had a 72-61 advantage in shot attempts.
Greg Pateryn led the Stars with 6 shots on goal. Seguin led Dallas with 10 shot attempts.
The Stars were 0-3 on the power play and 2-2 on the penalty kill.
The Stars won 38 of 64 faceoffs (59 percent). Tyler Seguin won 13 of 22 (59 percent). Radek Faksa won 13 of 22 (59 percent). Jason Spezza won 6 of 8 (75 percent).
The Stars had 40 hits. Tyler Pitlick and Remi Elie co-led Dallas with 5 hits.
John Klingberg led Dallas in ice time with 28:14.
Video: Kari leads Stars to big win over Pens
The Stars continue their homestand Sunday afternoon when they take on the Vancouver Canucks. This is the second meeting of the season between the Stars and Canucks. Dallas won, 2-1, in overtime in Vancouver on Oct. 30.
Video: Stars pick up fifth straight win
Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Alexander Radulov
Antoine Roussel - Radek Faksa - Tyler Pitlick
Mattias Janmark - Jason Dickinson - Devin Shore
Remi Elie - Jason Spezza - Brett Ritchie
Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Dan Hamhuis - Greg Pateryn
Dillon Heatherington - Stephen Johns
Scratched: Gemel Smith
Injured: Martin Hanzal (lower body), Julius Honka (upper body), Marc Methot (knee)
Video: Seguin, Lehtonen lift Stars to 4-3 SO win
This story was not subject to approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.