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Stars set franchise mark with 4-1 win over Red Wings

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Put it in the record book: The Dallas Stars are off to a great start. The Stars set the franchise mark for the best start after 15 games, improving to 12-3-0 with a 4-1 victory in Detroit Sunday.

The 24 points after 15 games broke the previous record of 23 points (10-2-3) set by the 1980-81 Minnesota North Stars.

“It is [a good feeling],” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “We wanted to get off to a good start, and we got off to a good start. For us, it is enjoy it for a little bit and put it behind us in about an hour from now.”

“It’s important,” Stars center Tyler Seguin said of the start. “But if you look at it we are only a couple of wins out of sixth or seventh place. There are some great teams in our division. It’s a long journey ahead still.”

Seguin and Patrick Sharp both had one goal and one assist for the Stars. Valeri Nichushkin and Cody Eakin also scored, and John Klingberg chipped in two assists. Kari Lehtonen stopped 21 of 22 shots to win his third straight start and improve to 6-1-0 on the season. The Stars wrapped up their four-game road trip with a 3-1-0 mark and are now 7-2-0 away from home.

“It wasn’t the prettiest game on our side, but we got an early lead and hung on,” Sharp said. “We won a few battles, and our goaltender played well. We played a lot in our own end, but I thought we limited the chances. It was a good win for us.”

The Stars dominated play early and built a 2-0 lead, but the Red Wings pushed back. For a 27-minute stretch from the start of the second to early in the third period, the Red Wings had a 26-5 advantage in attempted shots. But the Stars didn’t crack.

The Stars improved to 6-0-0 when leading after two periods, holding a 2-1 lead throughout the third until scoring the two late empty-net goals.

“We’ve got to be confident winning 2-1, 3-2, those low-scoring, low-chance games,” Seguin said. “Obviously, we are happy with how we played.”

The Red Wings had a three-game winning streak snapped and fell to 7-6-1 on the season.

“Our start was fine but once they scored it wasn’t good enough,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. “Momentum is a big thing, and we can’t allow a goal against to take away our momentum. We started fine, and then we let the momentum get away from us a little bit.”

The Stars had a 15-8 shots advantage in the first period and scored 7:22 into the game, cashing in on their first power play. Klingberg sent a slick pass to Sharp, who scored from close range to put the Stars up 1-0.

After Lehtonen came up with sharp saves on Brendan Smith and Darren Helm off the rush to keep it a 1-0 game, the Stars extended the lead to 2-0. Nichushkin circled behind the net, got the puck to the point and then scored off the rebound of a Jordie Benn shot at the 15:19 mark.

Detroit went on the power play late in the first and scored to cut the Stars’ lead to 2-1 when Gustav Nyquist deflected a Niklas Kronwall shot past Lehtonen with 27 seconds left in the period.

The Stars killed off two Detroit penalties in a second period that featured a total of six shots on goal, three for each team.

There was no scoring for the first 18:52 of the third period, but there was plenty of action. Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard left the game after getting hit in the head by the knee of Stars center Jason Spezza. Blashill said after the game that Howard was fine. Petr Mrazek finished the game in goal for Detroit.

Ales Hemsky hit Detroit defenseman Jonathan Ericsson high behind the Detroit net, cutting Ericsson on the head. There was no penalty on Hemsky, but Ericsson was called for roughing after throwing a couple of punches at the Dallas forward. Blashill appeared upset on the bench that there was no call on Hemsky, but wouldn’t discuss it after the game.

“I have no comment on that,” Blashill said. “Lots of stuff happens in the game. We have the best refs in the world. They are the best refs in the world for a reason, so I have no comment on that.”

Spezza and Sharp both went flying after they collided in the neutral zone, but both appeared fine.

Detroit pulled Mrazek with 2:15 remaining and Seguin scored into the empty-net a little more than minute later to put the Stars up 3-1. After the Stars took a penalty with 51 seconds left, Eakin scored a shorthanded empty-net goal with 19 seconds left to round out the scoring and send the Stars heading back to Dallas on a three-game winning streak.

*Tyler Seguin leads the NHL in scoring with 23 points (9 goals, 14 assists).

*With his goal and assist on Sunday, Seguin extended his points streak to eight games (5 goals, 8 assists, 13 points).

*With his two assists Sunday, John Klingberg moved into the scoring lead among NHL defensemen with 15 points (2 goals, 13 assists).

*Patrick Sharp has scored six goals over the past seven games.

*Jordie Benn has registered an assist in each of the past three games.

*Valeri Nichushkin’s goal was his first regular-season goal since March 28, 2014.

*The Stars outshot the Red Wings 26-22.

*Detroit had a 50-40 advantage in attempted shots.

*The Stars were 1-3 on the power play and 4-5 on the penalty kill.

*The Stars won 31 of 65 faceoffs (48 percent).

*Radek Faksa won 7 of 11 faceoffs (64 percent). Cody Eakin won 5 of 7 (71 percent). Vernon Fiddler won 8 of 16 (50 percent). Tyler Seguin won 8 of 17 (47 percent). Jason Spezza won 3 of 8 (38 percent).

*John Klingberg led the Stars with 23:10 of ice time.

A three-game homestand that will see the Stars take on Toronto, Winnipeg and Minnesota.

Jamie Benn- Tyler SeguinPatrick Sharp

Mattias JanmarkCody EakinJason Spezza

Ales HemskyVernon FiddlerColton Sceviour

Devin ShoreRadek FaksaValeri Nichushkin

Alex Goligoski
John Klingberg

Johnny OduyaJason Demers

Jyrki JokipakkaJordie Benn

Kari Lehtonen

Antti Niemi

Antoine Roussel (upper body), Patrick Eaves (lower body), Travis Moen (upper body), Curtis McKenzie (hip)

Scratched: Jamie Oleksiak, Patrik Nemeth

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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