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Stars Sweep Road Trip with Win Over Wings

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars made it three for three on their road trip, rallying to beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-3 in overtime Thursday night at Joe Louis Arena.

The Stars used a script familiar to their win in Boston Tuesday night, scoring a late game-tying goal and then picking up the extra point in extra playing time. This time the late game-tying goal game from Cody Eakin, who scored a power play goal with 1:10 left in regulation. Rich Peverley, who scored the shootout winner in Boston, scored with 19 seconds left in the extra period to give the Stars the win.

“I think our group is building a lot right now and we’re getting better,” said Peverley. “To come into this building, they played well, they have some dominant players, but I thought we did a good job of being persistent.”

The Stars were down 2-0 late in the second period, but got a goal from Shawn Horcoff with 20 seconds left in the second, and then got a spectacular goal early in the third from Jamie Benn to get back in the game. They fell behind 3-2 with just under nine minutes left in the third after a brilliant goal by Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk, but bounced back again.

“It was a hard-fought game. We expected that,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “The chances were low for both teams. Their marquee player scored a marquee goal and our marquee player scored a marquee goal. It was a little bit see-saw. We did a lot of good things. We finally got a power play goal. We did a lot of good things and it turned out to be a real good road trip.”

The Stars ended up going 3-0-0 on their road trip with the victory and improved to 5-1-2 in their last eight games overall. They are now 8-6-2 on the season.

“It’s huge not only for our confidence, but in the standings and for us to build off to know that we have the capability to play like that every night,” said Eakin. “It’s going to help us climb.”

There was no scoring in a sloppy first period for both teams. Detroit had a 7-4 shots advantage. The Stars had the only power play and had a great chance, but a Tyler Seguin one-timer from the left circle hit the post.

The Red Wings took a 1-0 lead at the 7:16 mark of the second. Datsyuk won a puck battle in the corner and got the puck to Henrik Zetterberg, who put the puck into the slot and Todd Bertuzzi rifled it past Kari Lehtonen.

Detroit made it a 2-0 game with 5:10 left in the second when Zetterberg set up defenseman Adam Almquist, who scored from the slot.

The Stars finally got on the board with 20.1 seconds left in the second to cut Detroit’s lead to 2-1. As Alex Chiasson battled for the puck along the right boards, Ray Whitney stepped in and fired it to a wide open Horcoff in front of the Detroit net and Horcoff put it past Wings goalie Jimmy Howard.

“That was a huge goal by Shawn Horcoff with 20 seconds left in the second,” said Peverley. “That got us going and put us within reach.”

The Stars came close to tying the game 33 seconds into the third, but a Jamie Benn snap shot from the left circle hit the crossbar.

But Benn got the equalizer with a highlight reel goal less than four minutes later. Benn stole the puck at the Dallas blue line, skated through several Red Wings, and beat Howard with a close range backhand shot at the 4:08 mark to tie the game at 2-2.

“Pretty lucky,” said Benn. “I didn’t even see the net when I let the backhand go. It found a hole.”

“That was a highlight reel,” said Ruff. “That will go down to one of those at the end of the year where they are comparing goals of the year.”

The Red Wings took the lead with 8:26 left when Datsyuk scored his own highlight reel goal, taking a pass from Zetterberg, stickhandling through Horcoff in the slot and then whipping the puck by Lehtonen to put Detroit up 3-2.

The Stars went on a power play with 2:44 left when Justin Abdelkader ran into Lehtonen while driving the net. The Stars pulled Lehtonen during the power play for a 6-on-4 advantage and Eakin scored from the right circle with 1:10 remaining to tie the game and force overtime. It was Dallas’ first power play goal in five games.

In OT, Valeri Nichushkin circled behind the net, dropped the puck to Peverley, who skated from the left boards to the slot and beat a screened Howard with a wrist shot.

“Val made a nice play to me, I just tried to come off and there was a lot of traffic in front,” Peverley said. “I don’t think he (Howard) saw it.”

It was the fourth straight home loss for the Red Wings, while the Stars made it three straight on the road with their wins in Ottawa, Boston and Detroit.

“It’s going to give us a lot of confidence,” said Benn. “Our road record wasn’t too good before we came on this trip and we got three pretty big wins in three pretty tough buildings. … It’s not pretty, but we’re finding ways to win and that’s all you can ask for.”

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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