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Fiddler, Roussel lead Stars to 5-3 win over Sharks

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

On Friday, Dallas Stars coach Lindy Ruff talked about how depth scoring had been one of the keys to the team’s strong start. On Saturday, he saw more of it. Antoine Roussel and Vernon Fiddler combined for two goals and four assists to help lead the Stars to a 5-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks at American Airlines Center.

“They gave us a heck of a night,” Ruff said. “I thought their line was doing a good job of getting [the puck on net].”

Roussel scored his second game-winning goal in the past three games, driving the net and having the rebound of a John Klingberg shot deflect of his skate and past Sharks goaltender Alex Stalock with 6:27 remaining in the third period.

“Just drive to the net,” Roussel said. “We had the 4-on-3, and that was the place to go, was in the middle. I saw the drive, and I tipped the puck first, it hit my skate second and slowly getting in the net."

Fiddler scored his first goal of the season and along with Roussel set up a Jason Demers shorthanded goal in the game.

“There are going to be nights when it is high alert on [the top line] and we’ve got to find scoring throughout the lineup,” said Fiddler, who centered Roussel and Colton Sceviour Saturday. “We’ve found the way to do that the last couple years and I think that is one of the strengths of our team. It’s always nice to contribute.”

Demers had one goal and one assist against his former team, Patrick Sharp scored to extend his goal-scoring streak to three games, and Tyler Seguin scored an empty-net goal and chipped in an assist as well.

Stars goaltender Antti Niemi, who played for San Jose the past five seasons, stopped 26 of 29 shots in his first start ever against the Sharks.

“I think it was a little better,” Niemi said when asked if the win over the Sharks was special. “The most important thing is getting the two points, but it tastes a little better than a normal win.”

The Stars won their third straight game, eighth in the past nine and improved to 9-2-0 on the season, matching the best 11-game start in franchise history.

The Sharks, who scored twice on the power play and once shorthanded, lost for the fifth time in the past six games and fell to 5-5-0 on the season.

“We went into the third and made one mistake, and it ended up in,” Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. “At the end of the day though, we have to be better 5-on-5. They had three 5-on-5 goals tonight, we didn’t have any.”

The Stars struck first, scoring 2:33 into the game on a pretty play off the rush that ended with Sharp scoring off the rebound of a Jason Demers close-range backhand shot.

The first half of the second period featured a lot of special teams play, and both teams cashed in. The Stars extended their lead to 2-0 when Fiddler and Roussel helped set up Demers, who redirected a goal in the net off the rush with the Stars shorthanded at the 7:09 mark.

“I saw their defense was pinching, so I cheated it a little bit. Once Fidds got that pass through, I knew I had a quick 2-on-1 if I skated in the net,” Demers said. “Roussel made a great pass, and I just put my stick down. I didn’t have to do much. It just flew off my stick and went in. It was one of those plays where you don’t always take those risks, but I felt it was the right time in the game to do it.”

With the Sharks still on the power play, Joe Pavelski tipped in a Brett Burns shot past Niemi at the 8:23 mark to make it a 2-1 game. The Sharks tied the game with a shorthanded goal. After a Dallas turnover, Matt Nieto scored on an odd-man rush at the 9:56 mark.

But the Stars got the lead back at the 15:00 mark when Fiddler scored off a wrap-around to put Dallas up 3-2.

The Sharks answered with their second power play goal of the game late in the second. Joel Ward scored from close range to make it a 3-3 game at the 17:57 mark.

But the Stars won the third period, scoring twice to turn a 3-3 tie into a 5-3 victory. During their three-game winning streak, the Stars have outscored their opponents 5-1 in the third period.

“We’ve got a lot more confidence going into the third this year,” Demers said. “We feel we are more resilient with the guys we’ve added this year, Niemi, Johnny [Oduya] and Sharpy. They bring that calmness and experience. We’ve done a great job in third periods.”

And those three periods helped the Stars put together a 3-1-0 homestand and push their home record to 5-1-0.

“It’s one thing that we have to be better at this year. We have to make this building hard to come into and play against,” Fiddler said. “We have to take pride in each and every one of us to play hard at home and play the right way. We gave up a couple things that we probably did not want to, but at the end of the day, we found a way to win, and that’s what matters.”

*The 9-2-0 record matches the best 11-game start in franchise history and was last accomplished by the 2006-07 team.

*Patrick Sharp has four goals in the past three games.

*John Klingberg registered two assists, extending his points streak to seven games (two goals, seven assists).

*Tyler Seguin extended his points streak to four games (one goal, four assists).

*Antoine Roussel has two goals this season, both game-winners.

*The Sharks outshot the Stars 29-25, but the Stars had a 56-46 advantage in attempted shots.

*Vernon Fiddler led the Stars with four shots on goal.

*The Stars were 1-5 on the power play and 2-4 on the penalty kill.

*The Stars won 35 of 65 faceoffs (54 percent).

*Tyler Seguin won 7 of 10 faceoffs (70 percent). Vernon Fiddler won 10 of 19 (53 percent). Cody Eakin won 5 of 10 (50 percent). Radek Faksa won 5 of 11 (45 percent). Jason Spezza won 4 of 6 (67 percent).

*Alex Goligoski led the Stars with 25:08 of ice time.

The Stars head out on a four-game road trip that will take them to Toronto, Boston, Carolina and Detroit.

Jamie BennTyler SeguinPatrick Sharp

Cody EakinJason SpezzaValeri Nichushkin

Antoine RousselVernon FiddlerColton Sceviour

Mattias JanmarkRadek FaksaAles Hemsky

Alex Goligoski
John Klingberg

Johnny OduyaJason Demers

Jyrki JokipakkaJordie Benn

Antti Niemi

Kari Lehtonen

Jamie Oleksiak, Patrik Nemeth

Injured: Patrick Eaves (lower body), Travis Moen (upper body), Curtis McKenzie (hip)

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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