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Squandered Leads, Controversial No-Call Frustrate Stars in 7-6 OT Loss to Detroit

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars had two-goal leads twice in the third period but couldn’t hold them and ended up falling, 7-6, to the Detroit Red Wings Saturday night at American Airlines Center.

“It’s tough to give up leads like that,” said Stars captain Jamie Benn. “You blow a lead, and then you work hard to get one back, and then you blow another one. It’s just unacceptable.”

The Stars squandered 4-2 and 6-4 leads in the third period but Detroit’s game-tying goal that made it 6-6 with 1:48 remaining had the Stars fuming. As goaltender Kari Lehtonen was getting shoved into the Dallas net by Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader, Pavel Datsyuk put the puck into the net. The Stars were looking for a goaltender interference call, but it never came.

"I just got kind of pushed in the net and the puck was sliding the other way at the same time, pretty frustrating. Stuff like that should not happen,” said Lehtonen. “It's weird how they can look at some things from the video and that kind of thing they cannot. They got it wrong."

“I think it’s a joke,” Benn said. “I’ll leave it at that.”

“It's inexcusable,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “It ruined a hell of a hockey game, bottom line."

Detroit then won the game 36 seconds into overtime when defenseman Niklas Kronwall got the puck at the point off the rush, cut to the slot and scored off a backhand shot.

The loss was the third in the last four games (1-2-1) for the Stars, who are 27-23-9 on the season.

"I think you can tell how frustrated I am,” Ruff said. “We've worked this hard too many times to not get a win out of it.”

Benn registered a Gordie Howe Hat Trick for the Stars, picking up a goal, assist and fight in the game. Trevor Daley, Cody Eakin, Erik Cole, Curtis McKenzie and Shawn Horcoff also scored. Lehtonen allowed seven goals on 36 shots.

“Today it didn't go as well as I wanted it to,” Lehtonen said. “I've just got to look at the tape and learn from it."

Datsyuk paced Detroit with four points (two goals, two assists) and defenseman Jakub Kindl, recalled from a conditioning assignment Friday, scored two goals. Jimmy Howard was chased from the net after allowing six goals on 32 shots. Jonas Gustavsson stopped two shots in 9:33 of relief time to get the win.

“We played not really good today, but we’re real happy with the win,” said Datsyuk. “They played better than us. We were lucky to win.”

Detroit was all over the Stars early, holding an 8-1 shots advantage. But momentum changed after Benn dropped the gloves with Detroit defenseman Jonathan Ericsson.

"Maybe a little bit,” Benn said when asked if he was trying to jump start the Stars with the fight. “I've got to get myself going too.”

The Stars went on an 8-0 shots run that included Benn knocking home a rebound of a Jordie Benn point shot to put the Stars up 1-0 at 12:42 of the first. Less than two minutes later Benn almost scored again, but his shot off the rush rang off the post.

The Red Wings tied the game at 16:57 of the first when Gustav Nyquist put a shot on net from the slot that Lehtonen stopped with his blocker but the puck hit the knob of his stick and went into the net to make it a 1-1 game heading into the first intermission.

Howard had big stops on Ales Hemsky and Antoine Roussel in the first half of the second period to keep it a tie game and then Datsyuk scored at the 9:20 mark to put Detroit up 2-1. Datsyuk stole the puck at the Dallas blue line, skated in on net and scored from close range.

The Stars answered with three quick goals late in the second to take a 4-2 lead. Daley scored on a two-on-one rush, taking a pass from Horcoff and beating a sprawling Howard at the 15:16 mark. Eakin made it a 3-2 game by scoring on a shot from just above the left circle at 17:02 of the second. Cole then scored off a scramble in front of the net at the 18:44 mark to make it 4-2 Stars.

“They just skated. We didn’t,” said Kronwall. “We gave up the pucks in the wrong areas. They won a lot more battles than we did. There are lots of things you can say that went wrong in those five minutes.”

Kindl scored two goals in 45 seconds early in the third period to the tie the game 4-4, scoring off a shot from the slot at 56 seconds and then tallying from close range off a backhand pass from Tomas Tatar at the 1:41 mark.

But the Stars regained the lead at the 4:49 mark when McKenzie tipped in a Jordie Benn point shot to make it a 5-4 game. The Stars extended the lead to 6-4 with a power play goal. Cole sent a pass from the left corner to Horcoff, who put the puck into the open side of the net from close range at the 10:37 mark. That ended the night for Howard, who allowed six goals on 32 shots.

“I thought we responded well after we came out, and they scored [early in the period],” Horcoff said. “We got ourselves back into it. Then, I thought we just lost composure a little bit.”

The Red Wings made it a one-goal game by cashing in on their third power play of the night. Abdelkader tipped in a Niklas Kronwall shot to make it a 6-5 game at the 12:47 mark. That set the stage for Datsyuk’s controversial late game-tying goal and then Kronwall’s game-winner early in overtime. Those two goals gave Detroit seven for the night, five of them over the final 20:36 of the game.

"You've got to play defense to win in this league,” Jamie Benn said,” and we didn’t tonight.”

Notes

*The Stars are 3-9 in games settled beyond regulation. They are 1-7 in four-on-four overtime and 2-2 in shootouts.

*The Stars are 1-3-2 in their last six home games and are 12-12-7 at American Airlines Center this season.

*The seven goals against matched a season-high for the Stars. They gave up seven against the NY Islanders on Oct. 25 (7-5 loss).

*Detroit outshot the Stars 36-34.

*Ryan Garbutt led the Stars with four shots on goal.

*The Stars were 1-2 on the power play and 2-3 on the penalty kill.

*The Stars won 44 of 74 faceoffs (59 percent).

*Cody Eakin won 15 of 24 draws (63 percent). Vernon Fiddler won 9 of 13 (69 percent). Jamie Benn won 7 of 10 (70 percent). Jason Spezza won 7 of 14 (50 percent). Shawn Horcoff won 6 of 13 (46 percent).

*Stars captain Jamie Benn extended his points streak to six games (seven goals, four assists).

*Benn’s Gordie Howe Hat Trick was the fourth of his career.

*The Stars assigned F Brendan Ranford to Texas (AHL) prior to Saturday’s game.

Stars lineup

Jamie BennJason SpezzaErik Cole
Antoine RousselCody EakinBrett Ritchie
Curtis McKenzie - Vernon FiddlerAles Hemsky
Ryan GarbuttShawn HorcoffColton Sceviour

Alex GoligoskiJohn Klingberg
Jyrki JokipakkaTrevor Daley
Jordie BennJason Demers

Kari Lehtonen
Jhonas Enroth

Scratched: David Schlemko

Injured: Tyler Seguin (knee), Patrick Eaves (concussion), Travis Moen (upper body), Valeri Nichushkin (hip)

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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