Ducks 4, Stars 2
Special teams can give, and they can take away. The Dallas Stars were done in by the latter on Tuesday night.
Todd Bertuzzi and Ryan Getzlaf scored power-play goals, and Scott Niedermayer added a goal and two assists to give the Anaheim Ducks a 4-2 win over the Stars on at Honda Center.
Dallas' top-ranked penalty-killing unit was victimized twice -- on seven power-play opportunities -- for the first time since an overtime loss to Los Angeles on Nov. 10, while it was only the fourth time this year the Stars have allowed two or more man-advantage goals in a game.
Bertuzzi and Getzlaf both added an assist, and Todd Marchant also scored for the surging Ducks, who leapfrogged over the Stars and into second place in the Pacific Division after winning for the seventh straight time at home.
Niklas Hagman had a goal and assist, and Loui Eriksson
also scored for Dallas, just 2-6-1 since a four-game winning streak. The Stars lost for the first time in four tries against the Ducks this season, and failed to garner a point for the first time in the last eight meetings with Anaheim.
Marty Turco, making his second consecutive start, kept Dallas in the contest by stopping 32 shots in the first two periods combined, and 32 overall. Turco also denied Chris Kunitz's penalty shot with 4:06 left in regulation after Kunitz was awarded the attempt after being slightly hooked by defenseman Sergei Zubov.
"We knew the kind of game we were going to get tonight," Turco said. "That's a good team over there that is playing great. But it's more about us and what we can do better as a team."
The Stars sealed their fate in an ominous second period when they allowed Anaheim to score twice and pepper Turco with 19 shots. With the score tied after the first 20 minutes, the Ducks found the back of the net two times in a 4:40 span -- including Getzlaf's power-play tally -- to take a 3-1 lead.
"Our special teams weren't good, and we got beat in the physical game and on the scoresheet," coach Dave Tippett said. "We made some critical errors with the puck and it was in our own end for extended periods. We lost momentum in the second period and couldn't get it back."
Anaheim's Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 22 saves to improve to 8-1-1 since Dec. 18.
"We need to start playing better and cleaning up some of our mistakes," Tippett said. "By no means am I pinning this one on Marty because he was under siege all night. Our goaltender needs to be the backbone of our team and clean up the mistakes in front of him."
Up 3-2 heading into the final frame, Bertuzzi gave Anaheim an insurance goal when he scored his ninth 8:37 in while the Ducks were on the power play. Bertuzzi was able to squirt the puck through Turco from in tight to put Dallas on the ropes.
Prior to Bertuzzi's goal, the Stars had two glorious opportunities to tie the game, but Giguere foiled both Mike Modano's and Antti Miettinen's redirect attempts.
"We've been in a lull lately, not playing as well as we can, and we need to recognize where we are and what we can do," Turco said. "We have to start making each other better and doing the little things that win hockey games."
With the game tied at 1 after the first period, Anaheim began to pour it on in the game-changing second, and took its first lead of the game nine minutes in when Marchant scored his fourth. After Turco saved Ryan Carter's shot from the right circle, he shoved the rebound behind the goal line, but Marchant picked up the loose puck and stuffed it in on a wraparound.
The Ducks took a 3-1 lead on the power play under five minutes later, with Getzlaf notching his 18th of the year. After Turco made consecutive saves on Niedermayer and Brandon Bochenski, Getzlaf shoveled the second rebound home.
At one point in the second, Anaheim had sent 12 consecutive shots at Turco.
Undaunted, the Stars cut the deficit in half when Eriksson was the beneficiary of a loose puck in the slot, scoring his sixth with just 23 seconds left in the middle frame to make it 3-2. Hagman started the play when he began driving to the net at the right circle, but he soon lost control of the puck. After it bounced in the slot, Eriksson chipped it past Giguere for his third goal in the last four games.
Dallas opened the scoring when Hagman potted his 15th of the year just 3:13 into the game. Modano sent a pass to the front of the net from the right corner, but the puck ricocheted off Bertuzzi's leg. After it bounced haphazardly a couple of times, Hagman did his best to corral it before swatting it past Giguere.
Bertuzzi made amends when he started a nifty tic-tac-toe passing play that resulted in Niedermayer's second of the season 88 seconds later. Bertuzzi lugged the puck into the Dallas zone before feeding Corey Perry with a slick behind the back pass from the right circle. Perry accepted the dish along the goal line, and then quickly passed the puck to Niedermayer in the inner edge of the left circle. Niedermayer deposited puck into the net before Turco was able to get a piece of it.
"It's our responsibility to make the right reads back there and get the puck out of our zone," defenseman Mattias Norstrom said. "Our job is to simplify things and win battles, and we just didn't do a good job of that."
Anaheim outshot Dallas by a 13-12 margin in the fast-paced opening stanza.
"We need to look in the mirror and do the things that can help this team win," captain Brenden Morrow
said. "We have to take care of what we can control, and a lot of guys in here can do more. We've had lots of great games with the Ducks the last few years, and we shouldn't need anything more to motivate ourselves. It was a hard fought game and we just didn't have enough."
The Stars wrap up their five-game road trip on Thursday when they visit San Jose to play the Sharks (9:30, my27). The Sharks lost to Phoenix 5-3 on Tuesday night, but remain in first place in the Pacific Division.
Dallas is 2-2-1 against San Jose this season, with both wins coming away from American Airlines Center. The Stars defeated the Sharks 4-2 in San Jose in the last meeting between the two teams in mid-December.
After Thursday, the next encounter with San Jose won't be until late March.
-- Zubov returned after missing Saturday's game in Los Angeles because of a right foot injury. He wore a protective covering over the top of his skate while moving past Derian Hatcher and into sole possession of third place on the Stars all-time games played list with 828.
--Modano has six assists in his last four games.
--Krys Barch fought Brad May in a spirited bout in the middle of the second period, with both players left standing after landing rights and lefts throughout the tilt.
--Coming in, the Dallas penalty-killing unit had killed off 45 of the past 48 opportunities.
--Hagman picked up his third multi-point game of the season.
--Nicklas Grossman registered his third point of the year when he assisted on Eriksson's goal.
--Dallas dropped to 1-2-1 on its current road trip, and is 12-11-3 away from home this season.
--The club held a closed-door meeting following the game.
|Three star selections