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Stars bounce back with 3-2 shootout win over Vancouver

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars continue to show an ability to shake off losses. The Stars bounced back from Tuesday’s ugly loss to Ottawa with a 3-2 shootout win over Vancouver Friday night at American Airlines Center.

The Stars, who improved to 18-5-0 on the season, have yet to lose consecutive games this season. Friday night’s win wasn’t a gem, but the Stars found a way to get the job done.

“Some night’s you’re not going to have your best, and it’s important as a team to find a way to win. We’re finding a way to do that,” said Stars center Jason Spezza. “After we got embarrassed against Ottawa, I think it was an important bounce-back game for us.”

"It wasn't pretty tonight, but at times we were playing well. The biggest thing is we found a way to win and get two points,” said Stars captain Jamie Benn.

The Stars got a big night from their special teams. The power play scored twice, and the penalty kill stopped six of seven Vancouver power plays. Goaltender Antti Niemi came up big as well, stopping 34 of 36 shots in regulation and overtime and then all three shots he faced in the shootout.

“I just wanted to bounce back from the Ottawa [game],” said Niemi, who gave up five goals on 16 shots in Tuesday’s loss.

"I thought he was excellent [tonight]. Did a great job, and made some big saves,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “Obviously, he was a big part of that win for us."

Niemi had several big saves, including a glove save on an Alex Edler blast from the slot late in the second period. His most dramatic stop came in overtime, when he came out of the net to play the puck, had his pass intercepted and he had to make a diving stop on a Dan Hamhuis shot from the neutral zone.

“I didn't panic. Just hoping for the best,” Niemi said.

Benn and Spezza scored power play goals for the Stars, and Tyler Seguin scored the only goal of the shootout. The Stars improved to 3-0 in games that have gone beyond regulation.

The Canucks lost for the ninth time in their past 12 games (3-6-3) and fell to 9-8-7 on the season.

“It was good to come back. I thought we battled back the whole game,” said Vancouver coach Willie Desjardins. “We had chances. Our team’s been resilient this year. They haven’t given up. Maybe we don’t get the win in the end, but there’s no quit.”

The Stars killed off three Vancouver power plays in the first ten minutes of the game, including a double minor on Jamie Benn for high sticking, to keep it a scoreless game. The Stars then cashed in on their first power play of the night to take a 1-0 lead. A Seguin shot from the left circle hit Patrick Sharp and then bounced off Benn’s leg and past Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller at the 15:27 mark.

The Canucks tied the game early in the second period when Jannik Hansen picked off a John Klingberg pass and set up Daniel Sedin, who scored from close range to make it a 1-1 game at the 3:10 mark.

The Stars took the lead at 11:52 of the second, cashing in on their third power play of the night. Spezza scored into the upper corner of the net off a blast from the right circle to give the Stars a 2-1 lead.

"Just a tight little spot, and saw him leaning a little bit. That's a shot I've used before,” Spezza said.

The Canucks tied the game late in the third period by taking advantage of their seventh power play of the night. Henrik Sedin took a backhand pass from Daniel Sedin and scored from close range to make it a 2-2 game with 4:10 left in regulation, setting the stage for overtime and the shootout.

The Stars outshot the Canucks 6-2 in overtime, thanks in part to a full two minutes of power play time. In the shootout, Seguin scored the only goal, beating Miller five-hole with a wrist shot. Niemi stopped Alex Burrows, Radim Vrbata and Chris Higgins to secure the second point for the Stars.

*The Stars are 9-3-0 at home this season.

*The Stars are 5-0-0 vs. the Pacific Division.

*The Stars have won nine straight games over Vancouver.

*Stars captain Jamie Benn has points in seven straight games (7 goals, 5 assists).

*Stars center Tyler Seguin has points in seven straight games (3 goals, 6 assists).

*Vancouver outshot the Stars 36-25.

*Jamie Benn led the Stars with seven shots on goal.

*The Stars were 2-5 on the power play and 6-7 on the penalty kill.

*The Stars won 37 of 61 faceoffs (61 percent).

*Tyler Seguin won 8 of 12 faceoffs (67 percent). Jason Spezza won 7 of 11 (64 percent). Cody Eakin won 8 of 13 (62 percent). Vernon Fiddler won 9 of 15 (60 percent). Jamie Benn won 5 of 9 (56 percent).

*Jason Demers led the Stars in ice time with 25:24.

*Attendance Friday was 18,532, a sellout. It was the Stars’ sixth sellout of the season.

The Stars play at Minnesota Saturday to kick off a four-game road trip. The Stars also play at Calgary, Vancouver and Edmonton.

Jamie BennTyler SeguinPatrick Sharp

Mattias JanmarkJason SpezzaPatrick Eaves

Antoine RousselCody EakinValeri Nichushkin

Colton SceviourVernon FiddlerAles Hemsky

Alex Goligoski
John Klingberg

Johnny OduyaJason Demers

Jyrki JokipakkaJordie Benn

Antti Niemi

Jack Campbell

Kari Lehtonen (upper body)

Scratched: Travis Moen, Patrik Nemeth, 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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