A call that went against them late in the game didn’t deflate the Dallas Stars, it ignited them. After an apparent game-tying goal was waved off, the fired up Stars scored twice in the final three minutes for a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins at CONSOL Energy Center.
Jamie Benn tied the game with 2:57 remaining and then Tyler Seguin scored on the power play with 2.9 seconds left for the Stars, who overcame a slow start in the game and an early 2-0 deficit.
“Crazy is a pretty good word,” Seguin said. “Desperation, compete by everybody. We really wanted that game.”
Jason Spezza appeared to tie the game 2-2 with 3:33 remaining when he scored off a rebound, but the goal was waved off because Seguin, who appeared to be pushed, collided with Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.
“You guys can tell me if it was a goal or not. From my perspective, when I took it wide I felt a push and I didn’t even see the goalie and they called it back. It was frustrating,” said Seguin. “It could have been the right call, I haven’t seen the replay. The ref has a job to do and it is a rough one. It was great the way we responded. We were obviously [ticked] off. But we are walking out of here with a win. We’re happy.
The Stars came out like gangbusters after the no-goal call. Defenseman Alex Goligoski hit a crossbar just seconds later and then Benn tied the game less than 30 seconds after that, scoring off a scramble in front of the net. The Stars then won it on Seguin’s power play goal. With Penguins captain Sidney Crosby in the penalty box for tripping Benn, Spezza sent a cross-ice pass to Seguin, who whipped the puck past Fleury from the left circle.
“That was maybe a bit of a tough call, but maybe the hockey gods a little bit. A little karma,” said Goligoski. “The guys stuck with it. We are able to get the one and Spezza drew up a nice play there and we were able to get the win. Those things don’t happen very often. It feels good.”
The Stars not only shook off the no goal call, they fought off a slow start that saw them fall behind 2-0 in the first seven minutes of the game when Pittsburgh scored on its first two power play opportunities. But the Stars played a strong second and cut the lead to one on an Antoine Roussel goal and then completed the rally with the Benn and Seguin goals in the third.
“We have to stay more disciplined. It was a tough start,” said Seguin. “They have a great power play and some very skilled forwards over there. [Goaltender Kari] Lehtonen kept us in there and it was nice to come away with a win.”
Lehtonen stopped 27 of 29 shots for the Stars, who improved to 2-1-1 and went 2-1-0 on their first road trip of the season. Pittsburgh dropped to 2-1-0 on the season.
“I thought the first two periods were pretty decent,” said Crosby. “In the third, they are down one and coming harder. We weren’t able to get that next one and we probably made it too easy on them by turning it over. To not even get a point out of it is frustrating.”
The Stars got in penalty trouble in the first period and it cost them. They put the potent Penguins power play on the job four times and the result was a 2-0 Pittsburgh lead before the period was eight minutes old. Crosby drew the game’s first penalty at the 1:29 mark and scored 59 seconds later, putting a shot past Lehtonen off the stick of Stars defenseman Jordie Benn. The Penguins cashed in on their second power play when Chris Kunitz knocked home the rebound of a Kris Letang shot to make it a 2-0 game at the 7:46 mark. Lehtonen came up big late in the first with Pittsburgh on its fourth power play, stopping a Pascal Dupuis bid to keep it a 2-0 game.
Ruff juggled his lines in the second period, the Stars turned things around and scored the only goal of the frame. Vernon Fiddler sent a pass from behind the goal line to Roussel, who scored from the right circle at the 6:08 to cut Pittsburgh’s lead to 2-1.
The scored stayed that way until the final three minutes when Benn and Seguin tallied to rally the Stars.
Penguins Dupuis taken off ice on stretcher
Pittsburgh forward Pascal Dupuis was taken off the ice on a stretcher late in the second period. Dupuis was cross-checked by Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski, went down and then was hit in the neck/head area by the puck off the stick of Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang.
“He got hit by the shot and was knocked down in front of the net. I didn’t see the replay,” said Pittsburgh coach Mike Johnston. “I don’t have any more information from the trainers other than he had some numbness in his arm and it was coming back. That was a real positive sign. I haven’t heard anything more. I am sure they are doing a lot of tests on him.”
Notes: Line juggling
*After a rough first period, Stars coach Lindy Ruff juggled his lines in the second period to get his team going, and it worked. The Stars were much better over the final 40 minutes. Among the moves was to put Antoine Roussel and Ales Hemsky on a line with Vernon Fiddler and Jason Spezza on a line with Cody Eakin and Ryan Garbutt. Line juggling is not foreign to the Stars forwards, who see it often in Lindy Ruff practices.
“They’re mixing it up a little. We’re trying to find a little bit of chemistry here early,” Fiddler said during the second intermission interview on the Stars broadcast. “It definitely does help playing with guys in practice. Everybody has to play with everyone throughout the year, so we are going to have to get used to one another.”
*Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski left the game briefly in the third period after getting hit in the leg with the puck, but returned to finish the game and picked up an assist on Jason Spezza’s game-winning goal.
“The feeling kind of came back. I walked around a little bit,” Goligoski said. “Stinger. It won’t feel too good tomorrow.”
*Tyler Seguin has four goals over the last two games.
*Seguin has scored the game-winning goal in two straight games for the Stars.
*The Penguins outshot the Stars 29-28.
*The Stars outshot the Penguins 25-20 at even-strength.
*Vernon Fiddler led the Stars with four shots on goal.
*The Stars won 28 of 60 faceoffs (47 percent).
*Fiddler won 8 of 12 draws (67 percent). Cody Eakin won 8 of 13 (62 percent). Jamie Benn won 8 of 13 (62 percent). Seguin won 1 of 7 (14 percent).
*The Stars were 1-4 on the power play and 2-4 on the penalty kill.
*The Penguins have outscored their opponents 8-1 in first periods over their first three games.
*The Stars have outscored their opponents 4-0 in the third period over the last two games.
Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Colton Sceviour
Erik Cole – Jason Spezza – Ales Hemsky
Antoine Roussel – Cody Eakin – Ryan Garbutt
Shawn Horcoff – Vernon Fiddler – Patrick Eaves
Alex Goligoski – Trevor Daley
Jordie Benn – Brenden Dillon
Kevin Connauton – Patrik Nemeth
Scratched: LW Curtis McKenzie, D Jamie Oleksiak
Injured: RW Valeri Nichushkin (groin/hip), D Sergei Gonchar (ankle)
LTIR: C Rich Peverley (heart)
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.