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Penalty Kill Comes Up Big as Stars Topple Bruins, 5-3

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars’ power play has been on a roll lately, but it was the penalty kill that came up big in Boston Tuesday night. The penalty kill scored two shorthanded goals – one on a major penalty and another on a double minor – in a 5-3 win over the Bruins at TD Garden.

“That was big. We got put in a tough situation early in the hockey game. We had a lot of tough situations in pretty much the whole game,” said Stars captain Jamie Benn. “Five-minute power play, four-minute power play, and we had to kill those things and I thought our goalie stood on his head and our PK’ers did a great job.”

Vernon Fiddler scored on a breakaway with Stars killing a major penalty early in the game to give the Stars a 1-0 lead. Trevor Daley scored the game-winner at 13:42 of the second with the Bruins on a four-minute power play. Along with the two shorthanded goals, the Stars did not allow Boston a power play goal over those two lengthy opportunities and on another chance late in the game.

“Our penalty killing tonight was excellent,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “It was excellent in New York when we needed it to be. It’s a big part of the game right now.”

Jamie Benn scored two goals for the Stars and Erik Cole sealed the win with an empty-net goal. Kari Lehtonen stopped 41 of 44 shots. The Stars went 2-1-0 on their three-game road trip, losing the first game in Buffalo but bouncing back to beat the New York Rangers and Boston.

Tuesday’s win came with three players –including Tyler Seguin – battling illness. The Stars also lost Antoine Roussel to a game misconduct early in the first period.

“You are hoping to get four out of six on the road, and we got four out of six the hard way,” Ruff said.

“The feeling after the loss in Buffalo was disappointing,” said Daley. “To get the two points against the Rangers and then in this building to come out with two points is huge for our team.”

The Stars improved to 25-21-8 on the season and pulled to within three points of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

“Our backs are against the wall coming down the stretch,” Benn said. “We need points and these were a big two tonight.”

The Bruins lost for the third time in four games. Their lead over Florida for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference is down to four points.

“We have to play a full 60 minutes, and we have to be sharp in every area of our game and we were not today,” said Boston center David Krejci. “We have to stick together here as a team and find a way to start winning hockey games again.”

The Stars were in some penalty trouble early. When Boston defenseman Adam McQuaid went after Roussel, the Stars forward got his stick up and cross-checked McQuaid in the throat and picked up a major penalty and a game misconduct.

But the Bruins couldn’t take advantage of the five-minute power play, and the Stars did. Fiddler picked off a Krejci pass and then scored on a shorthanded breakaway to put the Stars up 1-0 at the 7:28 mark of the first period.

The Bruins tied it a little more than three minutes later when a mix up in the Dallas end led to Krejci getting a tap-in from close range at the 10:43 mark.

But Benn scored twice later in the period to but the Stars up 3-1 heading into the first intermission. He drove the net and roofed a shot over Bruins goaltender Niklas Svedberg at the 14:38 mark. He scored off a rebound at 17:53 of the first. Tuukka Rask took over in net for Boston at the beginning of the second period.

The Stars began the second period on a power play, but Boston’s Patrice Bergeron scored on a shorthanded two-on-run rush 26 seconds into the frame to make it a 2-1 game. Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton scored off a rebound at the 6:42 mark anid it was a 3-3 game.

The Bruins went on a four-minute power play at the 13:06 mark when Ryan Garbutt picked up a double minor for high sticking, but the Stars struck again shorthanded. Daley rushed into the Boston zone, put a shot on net and then scored on his own rebound to put the Stars up 4-3 at 13:42 of the period.

“Alex [Goligoski] was yelling at me, ‘Time, time, time.’ I was going to turn and whack it, but I had time,” Daley said. “I felt a forward back there, I had time so I just thought I would test him and see what happened.”

“It hit the stick, so it dropped a little bit,” said Rask. “Guy skates full ice, takes a shot, takes the rebound. I’d like to control every puck but that just says a lot about the game today.”

The Stars played a solid third period. Cole sealed the win when he cleared the puck out of the Dallas zone, and the puck took a sharp turn into the net to make it a 5-3 game with 33 seconds left.

"We talked about hopefully everything would come around,” Ruff joked. “That one came around and made a full turn for us. So that’s a little bit like you hope that things even out by the end of the year.”

Roussel to have hearing for cross-check on McQuaid

The NHL Department of Player Safety announced that Stars forward Antoine Roussel will have a hearing Thursday for his cross-check on Boston defenseman Adam McQuaid.

Roussel cross-checked McQuaid in the throat as the Bruins defenseman came after him following a hit in the neutral zone. Roussel was given a major penalty and a game misconduct.

“I looked at it real quickly. I didn’t spend much time on it. It’s not an easy one to digest. It’s a shot in the neck,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “It’s a reactionary thing, but it is the type of play that is hard to defend.”

Seguin shakes off illness, plays vs. Bruins

Stars center Tyler Seguin didn’t skate Tuesday morning due to illness, but that didn’t keep him out of Tuesday night’s game against Boston.

“It was a tough one,” said Seguin, who said he didn’t feel that great. “Playing in Boston, I mean, I couldn’t not play. If we were playing somewhere else, maybe I wouldn’t have gone, but again, I thought it was a pretty solid win for our team.”

Seguin played 18:01, had two shots on goal, a plus-one rating and won six of 12 faceoffs.

“We have three guys that are fighting through, and our worst … obviously was Tyler,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “He didn’t get a lot of ice in the first but he got plenty of ice after that. I thought he held up pretty good during the game, and the other two guys got through fine.”

Notes

*With their two shorthanded goals, the Stars now have eight on the season. They are tied with the New York Islanders for most in the NHL.

*Trevor Daley’s goal was his 14th of the season. He is second among NHL defensemen, trailing only Arizona’s Oliver Ekman-Larsson (16).

*John Klingberg picked up an assist in Tuesday’s game. Klingberg has 16 points (six goals, ten assists) over his past 13 games. He ranks second among NHL rookie defensemen with 29 points.

*The Bruins outshot the Stars 44-32.

*The Stars improved to 15-7-4 when outshot by the opposition.

*The Stars were 0-1 on the power play and 4-4 on the penalty kill.

*The Stars won 29 of 63 faceoffs (46 percent).

*Jason Spezza won 7 of 13 (54 percent). Vernon Fiddler won 8 of 16 (50 percent). Tyler Seguin won 6 of 12 (50 percent). Cody Eakin won 3 of 11 (27 percent).

*Alex Goligoski led the Stars with 28:24 of ice time.

Stars lineup

Jamie BennTyler SeguinPatrick Eaves
Erik ColeJason SpezzaAles Hemsky
Antoine RousselCody EakinRyan Garbutt
Shawn HorcoffVernon FiddlerBrett Ritchie

Alex GoligoskiJohn Klingberg
Jyrki JokipakkaTrevor Daley
Jordie BennJason Demers

Kari Lehtonen
Anders Lindback

Scratched: Colton Sceviour, David Schlemko

Injured: Travis Moen (lower body), Valeri Nichushkin (hip), Patrik Nemeth (arm)

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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