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Klingberg, Lehtonen lift Stars to 4-3 OT win over Wild

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Kari Lehtonen turned in a superb performance in net, and John Klingberg delivered another overtime goal as the Dallas Stars topped the Minnesota Wild, 4-3, at Xcel Energy Center Tuesday night.

Klingberg scored his third overtime goal of the season and fourth of his career, beating Wild goaltender Darcy Kuemper with a shot from the slot at the 2:39 mark with the Stars on an odd-man rush.

“I wanted to play it over to [Tyler] Seguin first, but I know I pass a lot of pucks, so I just felt that I should shoot that,” Klingberg told NBCSN. “It felt good seeing it go in.”

Lehtonen, making his first start since January 19, stopped 36 of 39 shots on the night, including 15 in the third period to help get the Stars to overtime.

“It was fun. I was excited all day to get out there and play for the first time in a long time,” Lehtonen said. “Glad it went well and, in the end, we ended up with two points.”

The Stars bounced back from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits in the game, took a 3-2 lead and then withstood a big push from the Wild, who tied the game early in the third on the power play and had a 16-4 shots advantage in the period.

“They are a desperate team. We knew they’d be desperate,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “They started off well, we had a pretty good push in the middle of the game, and they had a pretty strong push at the start of the third. The power play goal gave them some life. Sometimes you have to survive through a team’s push, and I thought we did.”

Alex Goligoski, Jason Demers and Patrick Eaves also scored for the Stars, and Tyler Seguin had two assists. The Stars (34-15-5) won for the fourth time in their past five games and pulled to within three points of Chicago in the race for the top spot in the Central Division and Western Conference.

The Wild (23-20-10) lost their sixth straight game (0-4-2) and fell for the 11th time in their past 12 games (1-9-2).

“We’re playing better, but we are not getting the results. That’s a problem,” said Wild forward Zach Parise. “We are playing with a little more enthusiasm, a little more jam and that’s a good sign.”

The Wild took a 1-0 lead 4:48 into the game when Thomas Vanek set up Erik Haula, who broke past the Dallas defense and beat Lehtonen with a backhand shot. The Stars drew even midway through the first. During a strong shift for the top line, Seguin set up Goligoski, who scored from close range to make it a 1-1 game at the 9:47 mark. But Justin Fontaine scored on odd-man rush to give Minnesota a 2-1 lead at 12:09 of the first.

The Stars struck twice in the second period to take a 3-2 lead. Mattias Janmark set up Demers, who came in from the point and had his shot from the right circle deflect off Minnesota defenseman Nate Prosser and into the net to tie the game 2-2 at 4:01 of the second.

The Stars cashed in on their second power play of the game at the 10:45 mark. Seguin tracked down the rebound of a Jamie Benn shot and made a slick backhand pass to Eaves, who scored off a quick shot from the right circle to put Dallas up 3-2.

The Wild tied it early in the third by cashing in on their third power play of the game. Mikko Koivu scored off a scramble in front of the net at the 1:16 mark. The goal was reviewed to see if Wild defenseman Matt Dumba might have put the puck in with his hand, but the goal stood, and it was a 3-3 game.

“I didn’t know where the puck was. I was just trying to find it,” Lehtonen said. “I saw their guy batting it in, which I thought was a hand. It was tough to swallow for a couple of minutes, but after that you just keep playing and it’s good that we got it back.”

Lehtonen held the fort the rest of the way to help get the Stars to overtime. He stopped 15 shots in the third and had several big stops, including great ones on a point-blank shot off a rebound by Nino Niederreiter and a wrap-around attempt by Mikael Granlund.

“Kari was fantastic,” said Ruff. “He made really good saves for us that allowed us to get to overtime.”

And in overtime, Klingberg delivered again for the Stars.


*The Stars are 7-5 in games that have gone beyond regulation. They are 5-3 in 3-on-3 overtime and 2-2 in shootouts.

*John Klingberg has three of the overtime goals for the Stars. Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin have one apiece.

*Klingberg’s overtime goal was the fourth of his career, setting a new franchise record for OT goals by a defenseman.

*The Stars are 11-5-1 against the Central Division.

*The Wild outshot the Stars 39-30 and had a 68-60 advantage in attempted shots.

*Klingberg and Benn led the Stars with four shots on goal. Klingberg led the Stars with nine shot attempts.

*The Stars were 1-3 on the power play and 2-3 on the penalty kill.

*The Stars won 29 of 65 faceoffs (45 percent).

*Tyler Seguin won 8 of 15 faceoffs (53 percent). Cody Eakin won 7 of 14 (50 percent). Mattias Janmark won 6 of 13 (46 percent). Radek Faksa won 4 of 9 (44 percent).

*Alex Goligoski led the Stars with 26:17 of ice time.


Up next is a rematch with the Chicago Blackhawks, who defeated the Stars 5-1 in Dallas on Saturday. This is the third meeting of the season between the two teams. Both teams are 1-1-0 in the season series. The Stars are three points behind Chicago with three games in hand in the race for the top spot in the Central Division and Western Conference.


Jamie BennTyler SeguinPatrick Eaves

Patrick SharpMattias JanmarkValeri Nichushkin

Antoine RousselCody EakinAles Hemsky

Vernon FiddlerRadek FaksaTravis Moen


Alex Goligoski
John Klingberg

Johnny OduyaJason Demers

Patrik NemethJordie Benn


Kari Lehtonen

Antti Niemi


Injured:
Jason Spezza (upper body)

Scratched: Jyrki Jokipakka, Jamie Oleksiak, Colton Sceviour

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 DallasStars.com 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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