John Klingberg picked a perfect time to end a long goal-scoring drought. The rookie defenseman scored his first goal in 22 games with 47 seconds left in overtime to lift the Dallas Stars to a 4-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks Saturday night at Rogers Arena.
Klingberg, whose last goal was Feb. 5, beat Canucks goaltender Eddie Lack with a shot from the slot off the rush.
“He’s a pretty special player for this team,” Stars captain Jamie Benn said of Klingberg. “It’s not the first time he’s stepped up this year. It was good to see him get that goal.”
The Stars were down 2-1 entering the third period but scored twice to take a 3-2 lead. Vancouver scored on the power play with 1:32 remaining to force the extra playing the time. But the Stars bounced back to win in overtime and bounced back from a disappointing 4-0 loss in Edmonton Friday night.
“It’s a gutsy effort by our team,” Benn said. “We were embarrassed by that effort [Friday] with the magnitude of that game. With our lives on the line, we came out with an effort that was pretty bad. It was nice to redeem ourselves tonight and find a way to get two points.”
“The team gave me everything they had. Emptied the tank,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “When the game went 2-1 we just kept pushing. I was happy with our performance.”
Tyler Seguin registered one goal and one assist. Benn and Patrick Eaves also scored. Trevor Daley, back in the lineup after missing eleven games with a knee injury, picked up two assists. Kari Lehtonen was sharp again in goal, stopping 32 of 35 shots.
The win pulled the Stars to within six points of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with six games remaining.
“[The hope] is still there,” Benn said. “A lot of people are saying this, but you just take it a game at a time. We are going to need some help, and we just need to keep winning these games and we’ll see what happens.”
The Canucks dropped their second straight game (0-1-1) but increased their lead over the Los Angeles Kings to three points in the race for second place in the Pacific Division. They lead fourth-place Calgary by four points.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game. They (the Stars) are playing their best hockey right now,” Canucks coach Willie Desjardins said. “It was an up and down game. If our effort was there that is what matters most to me, and I thought our effort was there tonight.”
The Stars took a 1-0 lead 1:54 into the game when Benn knocked home the rebound of a Seguin shot. The Canucks answered at the 11:18 mark. The Canucks caught the Stars on a line change, and Nick Bonino scored on a two-on-one to make it a 1-1 game.
The Canucks went on their first power play midway through the second period and cashed in to take a 2-1 lead. Chris Higgins deflected a Dan Hamhuis shot into the net at the 10:10 mark.
Lehtonen came up big early in the third period, stopping Radim Vrbata from close range to keep the Stars within one goal.
“Kari has been doing that; he has been making those big saves especially down the stretch,” Seguin said. “That’s what we need.”
And the Stars scored twice to take the lead. Eaves knocked home the rebound of a Jason Spezza wrap-around attempt to tie the game at 7:55 of the third. The Stars took the lead at the 14:25 mark when Daley set up Seguin on a breakaway and Seguin snapped the puck past Lack to make it a 3-2 game.
But Seguin was called for slashing with 1:48 remaining and the Canucks cashed in on the power play. Vrbata scored off a scramble in front of Lehtonen with 1:32 remaining to force the extra playing time, where Klingberg secured the extra point for the Stars.
*The Stars are 12-5-1 vs. the Pacific Division.
*The Stars are 4-2-1 in their past seven games playing on the second night of back-to-backs.
*Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen is 10-1-0 in his past eleven decisions on the road.
*The Stars outshot the Canucks 40-35.
*Tyler Seguin led the Stars with six shots on goal.
*The Stars were 0-1 on the power play and 1-3 on the penalty kill.
*The Stars won 35 of 65 faceoffs (54 percent).
*Vernon Fiddler won 11 of 15 draws (73 percent). Jason Spezza won 9 of 15 (60 percent). Shawn Horcoff won 6 of 12 (50 percent). Cody Eakin won 9 of 20 (45 percent).
*Alex Goligoski led the Stars with 26:44 of ice time.
Jamie Benn – Cody Eakin – Tyler Seguin
Patrick Eaves – Jason Spezza – Ales Hemsky
Ryan Garbutt – Vernon Fiddler – Antoine Roussel
Curtis McKenzie – Shawn Horcoff – Brett Ritchie
Alex Goligoski – John Klingberg
Patrik Nemeth – Trevor Daley
Jyrki Jokipakka – Jason Demers
Scratched: Travis Moen, Colton Sceviour
Conditioning assignment: Valeri Nichushkin
Injured: Jordie Benn (back)
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.