Stars 5, Devils 3
The Dallas Stars were determined not to be more road kill for the New Jersey Devils.
snapped a third-period tie after the Devils had erased a two-goal deficit, and Stephane Robidas
had two goals and two assists to lift the Stars to a 5-3 win over the Devils on Saturday night at American Airlines Center.
Playing against the team with the league's best record on foreign ice, the Stars didn't panic when New Jersey battled back to knot the game early in the third period on a goal by Travis Zajac. Instead, they pushed harder, scoring twice in a 5:03 span to secure their second win in their last three games.
"They came back, but we bounced back right after that," said Robidas, whose four points set a new career high. "I think that showed a lot of character."
added a goal and assist, Warren Peters also scored, and Brad Richards
finished with four assists for the Stars, who continue to alternate wins and losses over their last seven games.
Marty Turco steered aside 31 shots, including all but one attempt in the second period when the Devils peppered him with 15 shots.
After Zajac tied the game, 3-3, with a power-play goal 6 1/2 minutes into the third, Wandell and Robidas came through against Devils goalie Martin Brodeur, who was brought into the game to start the second period after starter Yann Danis allowed three goals on nine shots in the opening frame.
Wandell struck first, converting a nifty between-the-legs pass from Richards at the side of the Devils net midway through the third. Wandell took a couple of swipes at the puck before finally depositing it past a sprawled Brodeur.
Robidas then gave the Stars a two-goal cushion with his second of the night with 5:51 to go, blasting a one-timer from the right circle after creeping in from the right point.
"For us the most important thing was the win," Robidas said. "Everybody's pretty happy about that. I never put big numbers up, I just try to focus playing defensively and physically, so when I can contribute offensively to help, it's really nice."
Brian Rolston scored twice, and Brodeur finished with 15 saves for New Jersey, which has lost its last three after winning eight straight.
"I thought putting Marty in there might wake up the guys," New Jersey coach Jacques Lemaire said. "We came back, but you make a couple mistakes around the net, and the puck's in the net. That's how it works. You can't afford to do that."
The Stars played without leading goal scorer James Neal
, who was serving the first of a two-game league-mandated suspension for his hit on Columbus' Derek Dorsett on Thursday that knocked Dorsett out of the game.
That didn't matter, though, as Robidas and Co. picked up the slack with Dallas' first five-goal effort since a wild 6-5 shootout loss to Florida nine games ago.
"(Stephane's) a warrior," Richards said. "He does the things game in and game out that only teammates see. And in the end, that's all that really matters. We know he's there every night and he's going to produce."
Zajac tied it at 3 on the power play with his seventh of the year at 6:31 of the third, corralling a pass below the left circle, taking a couple strides toward the net, and whipping a shot that went through Turco's legs.
Ironically the reverse effect happened after the goal, as the Stars seemed more energized while the Devils began to fall flat.
"We did the things we had to do to be successful against these guys," Stars coach Marc Crawford said. "Protecting the puck, not turning it over, making sure we're solid going into the offensive zone, getting pucks, trying to create rebounds and really winning the battles after the initial shot."
Down 3-1 after one period, the Devils cut the lead with another power-play goal at 9:49 of the second period when Rolston fired a slap shot from the point that whistled past a screened Turco.
Rolston opened the scoring with his fifth of the season just 55 seconds into the game. Rolston accepted a long pass from former Star Jamie Langenbrunner that was deflected by Patrik Elias at the Stars' blue line, and went in alone before neatly slipping the puck between Turco's legs.
The Stars responded by scoring three times on their first seven shots, starting with Peters tying it when he scored his first of the year 87 seconds later, deftly deflecting a shot in the right circle by Robidas from the right point.
Ribeiro gave Dallas its first lead of the game at 7:59 of the first when he popped in his seventh of the season on the power play to make it 2-1. After Danis was able to turn aside Robidas' shot from the point, Ribeiro swatted home the rebound while standing to the left of the goal.
Robidas upped the Stars' edge to 3-1 with his fourth at 14:46 with Dallas enjoying another power play. Richards' shot from the point ricocheted off the end boards and right to Ribeiro, who was in the left circle. Ribeiro quickly released a cross-ice pass to Robidas, who wristed it past Danis from the right circle.
The goal chased Danis, as Brodeur took over to start the second period.
"Any time you go down 1-0 in the first minute, obviously you're going to be a little bit rattled," Crawford said. "Warren Peters came in and went strong to the net, and he got his stick on a point shot from Stephane Robidas
After playing one of the best teams in the league in New Jersey, the Stars will now host one of the worst when the Carolina Hurricanes invade American Airlines Center on Monday night (7:30, FSN). The Hurricanes entered Saturday's action with the second-lowest point total (13) in the NHL, but were able to pull out a 3-1 win over Tampa Bay Saturday night.
"We have to go out and respond on Monday night," Richards said. "Maybe it's not quite as exciting, and the record might not be the same, but it's going to be an NHL team coming in here, and we've got to play harder and harder."
--Richards' final assist on Robidas' second goal was the 400th of his NHL career.
--The Stars are 1-1 on their current four-game homestand.
--Neal will also miss the Hurricanes game before becoming eligible again to play on Wednesday against St. Louis.
--Richards has six points in his last three games.
--The Stars have not outshot their opponent in four straight games, going 2-2 in that stretch.
--The Stars have won four straight over New Jersey at home. The last time the Devils beat the Stars in Dallas was March 2002.
--Dallas improved to 2-1-1 against Eastern Conference teams this year.
--Eriksson had a pair of assists one game after having his six-game points streak snapped.
|Three star selections