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Stars Rally Past Senators, 5-4

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars didn’t put together a full 60 minutes Tuesday night, but an impressive 20 minutes turned out to be key as they rallied for a 5-4 victory over the Ottawa Senators at American Airlines Center.

The Stars were down 2-0 ten minutes into the game and 3-1 at the first intermission, but they scored four unanswered goals in the second period to take a lead they would never relinquish.

“We might have played one of our worst first periods and then might have played one of our best second periods,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “I thought it was a real hard battle to stay in there and come back with that second period. It could have been a game that got away from us, but everybody dug in, and we found a way to win.”

While the Stars turned the game around with a goal scoring burst in the second period, goaltending played a key role as well. The Stars got a big game from backup goaltender Anders Lindback, who took over for Kari Lehtonen midway through the first period after the Dallas starter allowed two goals on five shots. Lindback stopped 34 of 36 shots on the night to win his second game of the season.

“We need him to do that,” Ruff said. “We’ve got to take a load off Kari (Lehtonen) who’s struggling a little bit right now. We need him to step in, he’s a part of this team and now this is a couple of times. He stepped in against Edmonton and did a nice job for us, and he stepped in here. That’s important.”

“I felt good,” Lindback said. “Obviously, gave up two rebound goals. Other than that I thought I played calmer than I have been, with a little more poise. I saw the puck; I mean there were a lot of shots too, so I got in a rhythm. They were throwing pucks from everywhere, so I got a couple of nice ones. It’s one of those games it’s nice to play in.”

Lindback stopped all 14 shots he faced in the second period and 15 of 16 in the third, including some big ones in the final minute as the Stars protected that 5-4 lead.

“I felt like guys played well, and it gave us confidence,” said Lindback. “We didn’t panic when they scored the goal (to make it 5-4), we just kept going and didn’t give much. Guys bailed me out with the long shift at the end, and that was a good game for us to come back to.”

The Stars snapped a four-game winless streak and pulled to within four points of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

“It’s always nice to get a win,” said Stars forward Ales Hemsky. “If we want to make the playoffs we have to make a push. Every game now is important and every point is important. It’s a good win.”

The Senators (17-17-8) lost for the fourth time in the last five games (1-3-1).

“We had a great first and a great third. We controlled most of the play in those two periods. In the second, they got some odd-man rushes, and they got some chances, and they scored on them,” said Senators forward Clarke MacArthur. “All in all, first and third are great and that second period, give up too many opportunities there.”

The Stars found themselves in a hole early. Senators forward Mike Hoffman scored from the right circle on an odd-man rush 4:57 into the game to give Ottawa a 1-0 lead. MacArthur scored from the right circle with the Senators on the power play at the 10:30 mark, ending the night for Lehtonen.

“I didn’t like the first two goals,” Ruff said. “He’s been struggling a little bit and I thought I wouldn’t wait and would get it done. It’s an early one but we needed Lindback to step in.”

The Stars cut the lead to 2-1 at the 16:08 mark when Hemsky scored off a slap shot from the right circle. But the Senators answered less than two minutes later. Mark Stone put a shot on net off the rush and defenseman Jared Cowen knocked home the rebound to make it a 3-1 game at 17:55 of the first period.

The Stars had a strong push to start the second, and it carried right through to the end of the period. They scored four times to turn a 3-1 deficit into a 5-3 lead.

“I felt something happened in the room here. We came together and said we have to have a better second period and put more shots on net,” said defenseman John Klingberg, who scored two of the second period goals. “We had too many turnovers in the first period too high up on the blue line and in the corners. We came together in the second period a lot better.”

Trevor Daley scored off a blast from the point at the 2:38 mark to make it a 3-2 game. The Stars tied it a little more than six minutes later with a goal off the rush. Colton Sceviour set up Klingberg, who scored from the right circle to tie the game 3-3 at 8:42 of the second. The Stars took the lead with 2:41 left in the second by cashing in on their second power play of the night. Alex Goligoski put a shot on net from the left point that Erik Cole tipped past Senators goaltender Robin Lehner. The Stars scored again with 8.9 seconds left in the period when Hemsky set up Klingberg with a touch pass off the rush and the rookie defenseman scored from the slot to push the Dallas lead to 5-3.

Milan Michalek scored on the power play at 6:00 of the third period to cut the Dallas lead to 5-4, but Lindback and the Stars held the fort the rest of the way.

Fiddler misses game

Stars center Vernon Fiddler took part in Tuesday morning skate, but he did not play Tuesday night against the Senators.

“He’s got a lower body (injury). A muscle-type of deal,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “We’re just hoping he can get back for the next game. He was close today.”


*The Stars are 9-3-1 in their past 13 games at home.

*The Stars have scored 60 second period goals this season, most in the NHL.

*Ales Hemsky has scored five goals in his past eight games.

* Trevor Daley notched his 10th goal of the season on Tuesday, marking a new career-high for goals in a season

*Goaltender Anders Lindback notched an assist on Tuesday night, marking the third assist of his career. Lindback last picked up an assist on February 1, 2013 against Winnipeg.

*The Senators outshot the Stars 41-29.

*Trevor Daley led the Stars with five shots on goal.

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

*The Stars won 41 of 69 faceoffs (59 percent).

*Jason Spezza won 10 of 13 draws (77 percent). Tyler Seguin won 8 of 12 (67 percent). Cody Eakin won 13 of 22 (59 percent).

*Alex Goligoski led the Stars with 27:32 of ice time.

Stars lineup

Jamie BennTyler SeguinBrett Ritchie
Erik ColeJason SpezzaAles Hemsky
Antoine RousselCody EakinRyan Garbutt
Travis MoenShawn Horcoff- Colton Sceviour

Alex GoligoskiJohn Klingberg
David SchlemkoTrevor Daley
Jordie BennJason Demers

Kari Lehtonen
Anders Lindback

Scratch: Jamie Oleksiak

Injured: Vernon Fiddler (lower body), Patrick Eaves (ankle), 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 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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