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Lehtonen stands tall as Stars top Oilers, 3-2

Goalie makes 40 saves as Stars win consecutive games for first time this season

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Goaltender Kari Lehtonen stood tall Friday night in Edmonton, and it helped propel the Dallas Stars to their first two-game winning streak of the season. Lehtonen stopped 40 shots as the Stars defeated the Oilers, 3-2, at Rogers Place.

Lehtonen, who got the start in Thursday's win in Calgary, was starting both games of a back-to-back for the first time since March 2015. And he was superb throughout the game, especially as the Stars were protecting a 3-2 lead in their first trip to Edmonton's brand new building.

"I was excited [to get the start], getting to see this building and playing here for the first time," Lehtonen said. "It was a fun challenge, and it was nice to have a lot of action to keep me in the game."

Lehtonen stopped 69 of 73 shots in the back-to-back games against the Flames and Oilers.

"Kari was just great tonight," said Stars forward Patrick Eaves. "He gave us a ton of confidence playing in front of him."

Lauri Korpikoski, Eaves, and Antoine Roussel scored goals, and Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn both had two assists for the Stars, who have put together their two-game winning streak following an ugly 8-2 loss in Winnipeg on Tuesday.

"That was a really bad night, and fortunately we've got good leadership here, and we flushed that down the toilet and regrouped," Eaves said. "We've played two good games since and hopefully we can continue that."

Video: Stars win with two points from Seguin, Benn and Eaves

The Oilers, who were back home following a five-game road trip, lost their second straight game and fell to 9-5-1 on the season.

"Give Dallas credit," said Oilers coach Todd McLellan. "Now flip it over, [we were] a sleepy team. We weren't ready to go right off the bat. I thought we did a lot of watching and then reacting instead of anticipating. Finally got it later in the game, but they checked well, and their goaltender gave them a chance to win."

The two teams combined for three goals in the first 4:51 of the game and the Stars got things rolling on the first shift. Benn stole the puck from Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse and set up Korpikoski, who scored from the slot 38 seconds into the game to put Dallas up 1-0. The Oilers tied it at the 3:37 mark when Patrick Maroon scored off the rebound of a Jordan Eberle shot. The Stars took a 2-1 lead 4:51 into the game on a power-play goal by Eaves, who tipped a Seguin shot into the net.

But the Oilers tied the game late in the first when Tyler Pitlick drove the net from the right boards and scored on a backhand shot to make it a 2-2 game with 28.4 seconds left in the period.

The Oilers had the Stars on their heels at times in the second period, but the Stars put together a good shift late in the period to turn the momentum, and a short time later they took the lead. Seguin made a pretty play on the rush to set up Roussel, who scored on a backhand shot from close range to put the Stars up 3-2 at the 15:00 mark.

Lehtonen came up big 61 seconds after the Roussel goal, making a nifty glove save on a point-blank shot by Oilers forward Anton Slepyshev to keep the Stars up one goal heading into the third.

There was no scoring in the third. Lehtonen made 12 saves, including a couple of key ones. He stopped Milan Lucic as he broke in on net for a good chance and he made a big stop on a point-blank bid by Connor McDavid with 1:26 remaining.

Notes: Sharp and Spezza updates

*Both Patrick Sharp (concussion) and Jason Spezza (lower body) skated Friday afternoon in Edmonton, but neither was ready to play Friday night against the Oilers. It sounds as if Sharp is closer to a return. He could play in Sunday's game at Vancouver.

"Getting closer," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "Sharp had a tougher skate yesterday and felt OK. When you haven't practiced for that long or gone through that, you're not going to feel great. We're going to try to push him even harder today.

"Spezza, we haven't been able to push hard. He's been really about at 50 percent. He's been going out there just to get a sweat and shoot some pucks, and sort of half speed. Until he can ramp it up, he won't be able to play."

*The Stars improved to 2-1-1 on their four-game road trip and to 3-4-2 on the road for the season.

*The Oilers outshot the Stars 42-30 and had a 73-39 shot attempts advantage.

*The Stars blocked 17 shots in the game. Dan Hamhuis was tops on the Stars with 3 blocked shots.

*Justin Dowling led the Stars with 4 shots on goal.

*The Stars were 1-4 on the power play and 3-3 on the penalty kill.

*The Stars won 26 of 63 faceoffs (41 percent).

*Tyler Seguin won 9 of 18 faceoffs (50 percent). Justin Dowling won 5 of 10 (50 percent). Devin Shore won 4 of 10 (40 percent). Radek Faksa won 7 of 18 (39 percent).

*Dan Hamhuis led the Stars with 22:51 of ice time.

What's Next

The Stars wrap up their five-game road trip Sunday in Vancouver. After winning their first four games of the season, the Canucks have gone 1-9-1 since and are 5-9-1. They are coming off a six-game road trip that ended with a 3-1 loss at Detroit on Thursday.

Stars Lineup

Jamie Benn - Radek Faksa - Lauri Korpikoski
Antoine Roussel - Tyler Seguin - Patrick Eaves
Curtis McKenzie - Devin Shore - Brett Ritchie
Gemel Smith - Justin Dowling - Adam Cracknell

Dan Hamhuis - John Klingberg
Johnny Oduya - Stephen Johns
Jamie Oleksiak - Jordie Benn

Kari Lehtonen
Antti Niemi

Scratched: Esa Lindell, Patrik Nemeth
Injured: Patrick Sharp (concussion), Jason Spezza (lower body), Jiri Hudler (illness), Cody Eakin (knee), Mattias Janmark (knee), Ales Hemsky (hip)

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 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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