The Dallas Stars got back in the win column Thursday, defeating the Edmonton Oilers, 3-2, at American Airlines Center. The victory snapped a four-game losing streak, the longest of the season for the Stars.
"It's always tough to get a win when you're losing a few games in a row, so it was a big win for us,” said Stars center Jason Spezza.
The Stars, who won for just the second time in their past nine games (2-5-2), scored 83 seconds into the game to grab the early lead and would extend it to 2-0 by the 13-minute mark of the second period.
"It was huge [to get the lead],” said Stars captain Jamie Benn. “Obviously, it's part of the game that you want to have the lead. We got a few breaks tonight. I think they hit three or four posts, so that's a big win for us. We're going to enjoy it for a little bit and then move on."
Benn, Spezza and Jyrki Jokipakka scored goals for Dallas. Antti Niemi stopped 23 of 25 shots for his first win since Dec. 31. The Stars improved to 30-13-5 and pulled to within three points of Chicago in the race for the top spot in the Central Division.
“One hundred percent [this is a game we can build off],” Benn said. “I think we didn’t come out with the results on the road trip, but we were definitely going the right direction. We saw a little bit more of that tonight.”
The Oilers dropped their second straight game and finished their three-game road trip with a 1-2-0 record. The Oilers had some good chances and hit the post/crossbar three times.
“Both teams had a lot of looks,” said Oilers forward Teddy Purcell. “It’s tough when you give up one early, but we got better as the game went on and that’s a positive. But at the end of the day, it seems like we’re on the wrong side of those more than the good side, so we've got to find a way to bury our chances when we can.”
The Oilers came close to taking the lead just 11 seconds into the game, but Tyler Seguin blocked a point-blank scoring bid by Iiro Pakarinen to keep Edmonton off the board. A little more than one minute later, the Stars took a 1-0 lead when Spezza beat Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot with a backhand shot at the 1:23 mark.
The Stars appeared to take a 2-0 lead at 9:31 when Jokipakka scored off the rush, but Edmonton challenged the goal saying the play was offside. Video review showed Ales Hemsky was just offside, and the goal was waved off.
The Stars did extend the lead a little less than four minutes later when Benn grabbed a loose puck in the slot and beat Talbot with a wrist shot to make it 2-0 at the 13:16 mark.
The Oilers cashed in on their second power play of the night to cut Dallas’ lead to 2-1. About 20 seconds after he hit the post, Purcell scored from the slot at 17:04 of the second.
But the Stars answered 15 seconds later when a Jokipakka shot deflected off traffic and into the net to put the Stars up 3-1.
“I got the pass from [Cody] Eakin and I just tried to get it through to the net,” Jokipakka said.
Jokipakka was asked if he was determined to get a goal after he lost the first one on the offside call.
“Yeah, maybe,” he said. “I was feeling it today.”
The goal was a key moment in the game, taking away some momentum from the Oilers.
“That was actually a big point in the game for us because all of a sudden they got on the board and had a chance to get some momentum, but I thought we got it right back,” Ruff said.
The Oilers made it interesting late in the third, getting a goal from Nail Yakupov with 3:03 remaining to cut the Dallas lead to 3-2. But the Oilers couldn’t get the tying goal and the Stars were back in the win column for just the second time in their past nine games.
“It was a big win for us. We really needed that,” said Jokipakka. “We have two more games before the [All-Star] break and we need to keep going now.”
*The Dallas Stars are 10-2-0 in their past 12 home games and are 18-5-0 at home on the season.
*The Stars outshot the Oilers 35-25 but the attempted shots were even at 65-65.
*Jamie Benn led the Stars with six shots on goal and nine attempted shots.
*Benn’s goal was his 27th of the season. He ranks third in the NHL in goal scoring.
*The Stars were 0-2 on the power play and 2-3 on the penalty kill.
*The Stars won 38 of 65 faceoffs (58 percent).
*Vernon Fiddler won 12 of 13 faceoffs (92 percent). Jamie Benn won 7 of 10 (70 percent). Tyler Seguin won 8 of 13 (62 percent). Jason Spezza won 4 of 9 (44 percent). Mattias Janmark won 4 of 13 (31 percent).
*Alex Goligoski led the Stars with 24:12 of ice time.
The Stars continue the homestand, taking on Colorado Saturday. This will be the second meeting of the season between the two teams. The Avalanche won, 6-3, in Colorado on Oct. 10. It was the second game of the season for both teams.
Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Patrick Sharp
Valeri Nichushkin – Cody Eakin – Jason Spezza
Antoine Roussel – Mattias Janmark – Ales Hemsky
Colton Sceviour – Vernon Fiddler – Patrick Eaves
Alex Goligoski – John Klingberg
Johnny Oduya – Jason Demers
Esa Lindell – Jyrki Jokipakka
Injured: Jordie Benn (lower body)
Scratched: Patrik Nemeth, Travis Moen
Conditioning: 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 DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.