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Mistakes costly as Stars fall to Ducks, 3-1

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars came into Sunday’s game leading the league in shorthanded goals allowed. They gave up two more, and it turned out to be the difference in a 3-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center.

“Clearly the power play let us down. A couple of mistakes went the wrong way,” said Stars forward Patrick Sharp. “You are not always going to score on the power play, but you don’t want to change momentum going the other way, and that’s what we did tonight. It was the difference in the game.”

The Ducks scored shorthanded in the second period to break a scoreless tie and then ten seconds into the third period to extend their lead to 2-0. The goals were the 14th and 15th shorthanded goals allowed by the Stars this season, most in the NHL.

“Two mistakes and it’s 2-0 when we’ve got the man-advantage. It killed us in this game,” said Stars captain Jamie Benn.

The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for the Stars (48-23-9) and was just their second loss in the past nine games (7-2-0).

“I think they were fortunate to catch us on the back end of what was a very demanding game yesterday (3-2 win at Los Angeles),” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “I thought our energy was OK. I thought we had a good chance right off the bat. Our second shift, in fact, had an empty net. We had two or three plays where when you don’t have quite the energy level you need, your hands aren’t as good.”

The Stars’ lead over St. Louis for first in the Central Division and the Western Conference dropped to two points after the Blues defeated Colorado, 5-1, Sunday evening. St. Louis has one game in hand. The Stars return home for their final two games of the regular season against Colorado and Nashville.

“We got two left. We want to win them both,” Ruff said.

Radek Faksa scored the lone goal for Dallas, and Antti Niemi stopped 22 of 24 shots.

Ryan Kesler scored two goals for Anaheim and John Gibson made 25 saves. The Ducks moved past Los Angeles and into first place in the Pacific Division. The Ducks lead the Kings by one point. Both teams have four games left. Sunday’s win gave the Ducks a 4-1-0 record over the past five games.

“It was our best game in a month,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “We were a pretty determined group. We knew what their strengths were. I thought we put together a good game plan, and the players executed it really well.”

The Ducks took a 1-0 lead by cashing in on the Stars’ third power play of the night. Nate Thompson picked off a John Klingberg pass and scored on a breakaway at the 12:14 mark.

“Just a sloppy play by me,” Klingberg said.

The Ducks struck shorthanded again, this time just ten seconds into the third period to make it a 2-0 game. Silfverberg intercepted a Sharp pass behind the Dallas net and set up Kesler, who scored from close range.

"[Dallas] made mistakes,” Boudreau said. “We’ve got eight penalty killers, so they’re usually always fresh. They don’t get caught out there. When that happens, and you keep putting pressure on them, sometimes you get a break. Tonight, we got a break.”

Dallas made it interesting late. With Niemi out of the net for an extra attacker, Faksa scored during a scramble in front of Gibson with 1:28 remaining in the game. But that was as close as the Stars would get. Kesler got credit for his second goal when Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf hit the stick of Ales Hemsky and that propelled the puck into Dallas’ empty net with 22 seconds remaining to make it a 3-1 final.

*The Stars were 22-12-7 (51 points) on the road this season.

*The Stars went 11-7-3 vs. the Pacific Division this season.

*The Stars outshot the Ducks 26-25 and had a 63-53 advantage in shot attempts.

*Radek Faksa and Patrick Sharp led the Stars with four shots on goal. John Klingberg led the Stars with nine shot attempts.

*Faksa has scored three goals in the past four games and four goals in the past seven games.

*The Stars were 0-4 on the power play and 2-2 on the penalty kill.

*The Stars won 20 of 49 faceoffs (41 percent).

*Jason Spezza won 7 of 10 faceoffs (70 percent). Cody Eakin won 4 of 10 (40 percent). Vernon Fiddler won 4 of 12 (33 percent). Radek Faksa won 3 of 11 (27 percent).

*Stephen Johns led the Stars with six hits.

*Alex Goligoski led the Stars with 23:24 of ice time. Jamie Benn was next with 23:08.

Jamie BennCody EakinPatrick Sharp

Valeri NichushkinJason SpezzaPatrick Eaves

Antoine RousselRadek FaksaAles Hemsky

Travis MoenVernon FiddlerColton Sceviour

Alex Goligoski
John Klingberg

Johnny OduyaStephen Johns

Patrik NemethJordie Benn

Antti Niemi

Kari Lehtonen

Mattias Janmark (upper body), Kris Russell (foot), Tyler Seguin (Achilles), Brett Ritchie (lower body), Jason Demers (shoulder)

Scratched: Jamie Oleksiak

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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