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Wild Pummel Stars With Six-Goal Third Period

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars had a rough third period Saturday night against Detroit. It was worse Sunday night in Minnesota. The Stars took a 1-0 lead into the final period at Excel Energy Center, but surrendered six goals over the final 20 minutes and lost, 6-2, to the Wild.

“We set ourselves up after 40 minutes with a 1-0 lead. And then we go lay an egg like that this time of year, there are no words for it,” said Stars center Vernon Fiddler. “It’s just embarrassing.”

“We have a 1-0 lead after two periods and we come out in the third period, lay an egg and give up six goals. It’s embarrassing,” said Stars captain Jamie Benn. “We left our goalie hanging tonight when he played a really good game.”

The Stars, who gave up four third-period goals and blew two-goal leads twice in Saturday night’s 7-6 overtime loss to Detroit, have given up ten third period goals over the past two games. Sunday night, the Wild erased a 1-0 deficit by scoring two goals in less than two minutes early in the third period. That opened the door for the onslaught that would follow.

“We just crumpled, fell apart,” said Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski. “Between last night and tonight, it’s just unacceptable.

The Stars have been outscored 72-49 in third periods this season. The 72 goals against are the third most in the NHL. Only Buffalo (77) and Arizona (73) have allowed more.

“For a team that is trying to make the playoffs, you’d think you’d want to hunker down in your D zone. But it just doesn’t seem like we are doing that,” Fiddler said.

The Stars lost their third straight game (0-2-1) and fell to 27-24-9 on the season. They had a chance to pull to within three points of the final playoff spot with a win, but instead find themselves six points out of that spot, which is now held by Minnesota.

“I know how tough it is getting. It’s no secret,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “We’ve got to go on a real good run. It’s still there. We’ve got to win some games.”

Jason Spezza scored both goals for Dallas. Jhonas Enroth got the start in goal and stopped 29 of 35 shots.

Zach Parise scored two goals and Mikael Granlund had one goal and two assists for the Wild, who improved to 11-1-1 in their past 13 games and climbed back into a playoff spot for the first time since November.

“It feels good,” Parise said on the NBC Sports Network postgame show. “We’ve been playing some good hockey along time but it felt like we were winning but we weren’t moving anywhere. We’ve got a lot of work, but at least we are in the conversation now.”

After a scoreless first period in which Enroth made 11 saves including four on a Minnesota power play, the Stars got three power plays in the second period and cashed in on the third one. Spezza scored off a blast from the right circle to give Dallas a 1-0 lead at the 14:33 mark.

Minnesota then rattled off six straight goals in the third period. Parise scored 1:40 into the third to tie the game, taking a pass from Christian Folin and firing the puck past Enroth from close range. Mikko Koivu scored from a sharp angle 1:43 later to give Minnesota a 2-1 lead at the 3:23 mark. Stephane Veilleux scored off a rebound at 8:41 and the Wild had a 3-1 lead. A Matt Dumba power-play goal made it 4-1 at the 13:25 mark. Mikael Granlund scored on a breakaway to push the lead to 5-1 at the 14:33 mark and Parise tallied off a close range backhand at 17:52 of the third to make it a 6-1 game. Spezza scored less than a minute later to round out the scoring in the game. But that way too little way too late for the Stars.

“It was embarrassing,” Ruff said. “Their determination was better than ours.”

Notes

*The Stars have allowed 18 goals over the past three games.

*Minnesota outshot the Stars 35-20, including 15-5 in the third period.

*Jason Spezza led the Stars with five shots on goal.

*The Stars were 1-3 on the power play and 1-2 on the penalty kill.

*The Stars won 41 of 72 faceoffs (57 percent).

*Cody Eakin won 13 of 20 draws (65 percent). Jason Spezza won 10 of 18 (56 percent). Vernon Fiddler won 7 of 12 (58 percent). Shawn Horcoff won 6 of 12 (50 percent). Jamie Benn won 4 of 9 (44 percent).

*Trevor Daley led the Stars with 23:25 of ice time.

*The Stars recalled LW Brendan Ranford from Texas (AHL) Sunday morning because Ales Hemsky was questionable for the Minnesota game. The Stars then sent Ranford back to Texas once it was determined that Hemsky would be able to play Sunday night.

Stars lineup

Jamie BennJason SpezzaErik Cole
Antoine RousselCody EakinBrett Ritchie
Curtis McKenzie - Vernon FiddlerAles Hemsky
Ryan GarbuttShawn HorcoffColton Sceviour

Alex GoligoskiJohn Klingberg
Jyrki JokipakkaTrevor Daley
Jordie BennJason Demers

Jhonas Enroth
Kari Lehtonen

Scratched: David Schlemko

Injured: Tyler Seguin (knee), Patrick Eaves (concussion), Travis Moen (upper body), Valeri Nichushkin (hip)

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.

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