Getting people and pucks to the net paid off for the Dallas Stars Thursday night. The Stars scored twice on tip-ins, once on a rebound and another on a deflection off traffic as they got some offense going in a 5-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings at American Airlines Center.
The Stars, who were coming off a 2-0 loss in Anaheim, got goals from five different players and scored the five goals on just 21 shots.
"I thought in the Anaheim game we didn't get tight enough to their goaltender, but I thought tonight we did a lot better job," said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. "Control played low, got it to the defense, the defense had time to find seams, and we got some bodies up front that tipped a few pucks. We threw one there that went off them, and it was good to see a couple of breaks."
Lauri Korpikoski, Brett Ritchie, John Klingberg, Stephen Johns, and Patrick Eaves scored goals for the Stars, who had eleven different players register points in the game.
"We won in Los Angeles last week (6-4), and I think a lot of those goals were a credit to getting people to the net and pucks to the net," said Ritchie, "but we got away from it in Anaheim, so that was an emphasis tonight. We wanted to make it hard on the goalie, and it worked for us tonight."
The Stars (18-17-8) got a big game in goal from Antti Niemi, who stopped 31 shots, including all 16 he faced in the third period. Niemi improved to 8-3-2 at home this season.
"He played fabulous," said Ruff. "He made three or four highlight reel saves for us."
The Stars, who shook off some penalty problems in the first period, blew the game open with three goals in the second period, turning a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 lead.
"The penalties in the first period hurt us. We had a great second period especially coming off the road and playing [four games in six nights]," Ruff said. "With the travel from the west back home, I thought the effort was good. We almost hurt ourselves with some discipline issues."
Gustav Nyquist had one goal and one assist for the Red Wings, who lost for the fifth time in the past six games (1-3-2) and fell to 17-19-6 on the season.
"We missed the net too much," Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. "We ended up with a lot of shots by the end, but I thought in the second period, and into the third, we had a lot of really good chances where we missed the net. We have to make sure we are hitting the net, and we have to make sure the goalies make saves."
The Stars took a 1-0 lead at 3:39 of the first period. After Detroit's Steve Ott turned over the puck in the Red Wings zone, Patrick Sharp tipped the puck to Jordie Benn and his shot from the point was tipped into the net by Korpikoski.
The Stars then got into some penalty trouble, taking four penalties in a span of 6:15. The last two penalties gave Detroit a five-on-three power play for 1:53 and Nyquist scored from close range to tie the game 1-1 at 14:09 of the first.
Detroit took a 2-1 lead 93 seconds later when Anthony Mantha forced a turnover behind the Dallas net and Nyquist set up Henrik Zetterberg, who scored from the slot at the 15:42 mark.
The Stars drew even early in the second. After a strong shift in the Detroit zone, Radek Faksa put a shot on net from the left wing and Ritchie tipped it past Red Wings goaltender Petr Mrazek to make it a 2-2 game.
"That was a pretty long, grinding shift," Ritchie said. "Everybody was dumping the pucks in, and I knew [Faksa] was going to shoot it. It was a quick reaction lucky tip, but I was happy to get a stick on it."
The Stars scored two quick goals late in the second to take a 4-2 lead. After a strong drive to the net by Devin Shore and nice stop by Mrazek, Klingberg swept in and scored on the rebound to put the Stars ahead 3-2 at the 15:53 mark.
Just 49 seconds later, Johns put a shot on net from the right point, and it deflected into the net off the stick of a Detroit defender and Dallas had a 4-2 lead at 16:42 of the second.
Niemi was sharp in the third, making 16 saves, including a great glove stop on Andreas Athanasiou, to keep Detroit from cutting into the Dallas lead. Eaves sealed the win with a late empty-net goal to make it a 5-2 final.
Notes: Jamie Benn returns: Oleksiak out a couple weeks
*Stars captain Jamie Benn returned to the lineup Thursday after missing four games with a foot injury. Benn played 18:37 and had no points, one shot on goal and four hits.
"I thought he was okay," said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. "There is more there, we know that, but I don't think he's 100% either. He might tell us he's close to 100 percent, but I don't think he is."
*Stars defenseman Jamie Oleksiak is expected to miss at least a "couple weeks" with a hand injury suffered in Tuesday's game at Anaheim. He's been placed on injured reserve.
*The Stars snapped a seven-game home losing streak against Detroit and defeated the Red Wings in Dallas for the first time since Oct. 14, 2010.
*The Stars are 8-3-2 in their past 13 home games.
*The Red Wings outshot the Stars 33-21 and had a 77-53 advantage in shot attempts.
*Brett Ritchie led the Stars with 8 shot attempts.
*John Klingberg has registered 9 points (4 goals, 5 assists) in his past 11 games.
*Patrick Eaves' goal was his 15th of the season, tying him with Tyler Seguin for the team lead.
*Antti Niemi is 8-3-2 at home with a 2.14 goals-against average and .932 save percentage.
*The Stars were 0-1 on the power play and 4-5 on the penalty kill. They've given up a power-play goal in six straight games.
*The Stars won 27 of 58 faceoffs (47 percent).
*Klingberg led the Stars with 22:38 of ice time. Esa Lindell was next with 22:30.
The Stars wrap up their two-game homestand Saturday, taking on the Minnesota Wild. This will be the third meeting of the season between the Stars and Wild this season. The Stars are 1-1-0, losing 4-0 at Minnesota on Oct. 29 and winning 3-2 (OT) in Dallas on Nov. 21.
Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Patrick Eaves
Antoine Roussel - Cody Eakin - Jason Spezza
Lauri Korpikoski - Radek Faksa - Patrick Sharp
Jiri Hudler - Devin Shore - Brett Ritchie
Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Dan Hamhuis - Jordie Benn
Johnny Oduya - Stephen Johns
Scratched: Curtis McKenzie, Adam Cracknell
Conditioning: Patrik Nemeth
Injured: Jamie Oleksiak (hand), Ales Hemsky (hip), Mattias Janmark (knee)
This story was not subject to 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.