For the third time this season the Dallas Stars rattled off three quick goals to take control of a game at American Airlines Center. Saturday it was three goals in a 1:02 span of the second period that blew open a tie game as the Stars went on to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers, 5-1.
“I was pretty happy,” Stars goaltender Dan Ellis said of the three-goal explosion. “Who wouldn’t be? It was like the Anaheim game.”
Ellis was in goal for that Anaheim game on November 26, when three different Stars scored in 53 seconds in a 6-3 win over the Ducks. Three different players in 61 seconds in a 5-1 win over Calgary on Oct. 24. On Saturday it was two players – Tyler Seguin and Valeri Nichushkin – who did the goal scoring in over 62 seconds.
Seguin, in his second game back after missing time with concussion-like symptoms, had three goals and one assist in the game.
“In the first and second period against Toronto (on Thursday), I was having trouble tracking the puck because I was coming off a concussion and I hadn’t skated really,” Seguin said. “In the third and overtime of that game I felt better, and then tonight I felt normal.”
Nichushkin, moved back up to the right wing on a line with Seguin and Jamie Benn, had one goal and three assists, giving the 18-year-old rookie from Russia seven points (two goals, five assists) over the last three games.
“I thought Val was awesome tonight. When he is competing and when you see a little fire in him, he’s a different player than when he is going through the motions,” said Seguin. “You look at the first few games and the last nine or ten, and he’s transitioned well.”
Ellis, making his second start in the last six games, turned in a solid performance, turning away 27 of 28 shots for his third victory of the season.
“A couple of games in a week, week-and-a-half span definitely gives you a better feel for the game as opposed to practicing and things like that,” said Ellis. “It’s helped and I felt better tonight.”
"I thought he had an excellent game; gave us some really good saves,” said Ruff. “Obviously gives me more confidence to drop him in there in situations where it looks like we've given Lehts [Kari Lehtonen] a little bit too much work at times."
There was more bad news on the injury front for the Stars as center Vernon Fiddler left the game with an upper body injury in the first period and did not return.
“Nothing too serious, but he’ll miss a little bit of time,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff.
The win ran the Stars points streak to six games (3-0-3) and gave them a 14-9-5 mark for the season. The Flyers, who fell to 2-2-0 on their six-game road trip, are now 13-14-2 on the season.
“I thought that we had trouble with their speed, that one line especially,” said Flyers coach Craig Berube. “We didn’t do a good enough job with our high forward and our D had bad gaps and that’s a combination. So we let them come at us too much in the second period and it was a problem.”
The Stars spent almost half the first period on the power play, but were down 1-0 heading into the first intermission. Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo put the Stars on a seven-minute power play 1:15 into the game when he went after Antoine Roussel, picking up an instigating minor, fighting major, a ten-minute misconduct and a game misconduct.
“Well, obviously he went out there and punched him (Roussel) in the head a few times. Stupid,” Berbube said of Rinaldo’s penalties.
The Stars had five shots on goal during the lengthy power play, but couldn’t capitalize.
“That was frustrating,” said Seguin. “The power play has been struggling at home.”
The Stars had another power play later in the period, managed one shot on goal, but couldn’t cash in again. The Stars went 0-5 for the game and are now 1-42 (2.4 percent) at home on the power play.
The Flyers took the lead with 1:09 left in the period with a goal off the rush, when defenseman Andrej Meszaros got to a loose puck in the crease and punched it past Ellis.
The Stars drew even 39 seconds into the second period when Jamie Benn set up Seguin on a two-on-one rush and Seguin scored from close range against Flyers goaltender Steve Mason. It was Seguin’s first goal since the Nov. 14 game in Calgary when he scored four goals.
“That just felt good,” said Seguin.
Seguin struck again with 2:57 left in the second to give the Stars a 2-1 lead. Alex Goligoski carried the puck to the bottom of the right circle and backhanded it to Seguin, who beat Mason with a shot from the slot.
Just 40 seconds later Seguin tallied again to complete the natural hat trick, firing a puck from the right boards that deflected off Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn and into the net.
And 22 seconds after that Nichushkin scored off a shot from the left circle to put the Stars up 4-1, and give them three goals in a span of 62 seconds.
“Obviously, there was a minute and a half span where three goals go in,” said Mason. “Started off 30 seconds into the period giving up a goal, kind of put us back on our heels and just were never able to recover after that.”
Ray Emery took over in net for Philadelphia to start the third period. The Flyers had some power play chances, but the Stars scored shorthanded on one of them to extend their lead to 5-1. Antoine Roussel set up Cody Eakin on a two-on-one rush and Eakin scored from close range to round out the scoring in the game.
The Stars have Sunday off, will practice Monday and then take on the Chicago Blackhawks Tuesday at American Airlines Center.
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.