For a team that is supposed to lack offense this year, the Stars made a statement Wednesday night at the American Airlines Center, receiving goals from four different players and two from winger Niklas Hagman to defeat the Los Angeles Kings 5-1.
It was the ninth straight time the Stars beat the Kings after sweeping all eight from their Pacific Division rivals last season. Dallas improves to 2-2-0 on the young season while the Kings dropped to 1-3-0.
The Stars received a big boost from the return to the lineup of center Mike Ribeiro, who made his season debut after coming off of injured reserve earlier in the day. Ribeiro, who led the Stars with 59 points last season, contributed a goal and an assist.
Stars 5, Kings 1 PHOTO GALLERY
Dallas also got a goal and an assist from Joel Lundqvist and Antti Miettinen also scored, while goaltender Marty Turco stopped 32 shots, including 18 in the third period, to get the win in net.
“He was excellent,” Stars coach Dave Tippett said of Turco. “The thing about Marty tonight is that it’s one of those games where he makes a couple of key saves to keep the game moving in the right direction, ones that push the game along and give you a chance to get into position where you can take leads, so your goals stand up and mean something. here were a couple there that were key saves.”
While Turco kept the Kings off the board, Hagman, skating on a scoring line with Ribeiro and captain Brenden Morrow, helped generate the offense, scoring the Stars’ first two goals and barely missing his first career hat trick when a third-period attempt slid wide. He now leads the club with four goals, which is also tied for second in the entire NHL.
“I’m happy with two goals, but when you get two, you are looking for three,” Hagman acknowledged. “I wasn’t pushing too hard, though. I got a lot of good help tonight and I had some good chemistry with Ribeiro and Morrow tonight. I am just going to continue to create chances and play to my strengths.”
“He’s so fast that he keeps the defense on their heels,” Ribeiro said of Hagman. “Maybe it doesn’t seem like he’s got a lot of skills, but with his hands and the speed that he has - he has both - and is doing good for us, going hard in the corners and a good shot. It’s a good fit right now.”
With the Stars holding a commanding 4-0 lead going into the third, Lundqvist added to it just 16 seconds in. He raced into the Kings’ zone on a breakaway, with LA defenseman Rob Blake hacking at him from behind and getting called for a delayed penalty, but Lundqvist maintained his composure and deked around LA netminder Jason LaBarbera and slid it just inside the post.
The Kings began to ratchet up the desperation level after that, peppering Turco with 19 shots in the third period overall, and Turco had to come up with some big saves. He had two nice stops on Michael Cammalleri about five minutes into the third, turning aside his wrist shot from the left face-off circle and then the resulting rebound from in front. Just 30 seconds after that, Turco made a scintillating glove stop on Kevin Dallman’s point-blank wrist shot from the slot.
LA finally broke through, ruining Turco’s shutout bid at the 9:03 mark, as Kyle Calder scored his first of the season. After Jack Johnson fed Raitis Ivanans cutting down the slot, Turco made a nice save, but the rebound went right to Calder in front, and he managed to flip the rebound over the fallen Turco.
Turco made some more nice stops later in the period, turning aside Patrick O’Sullivan’s wrist shot from the right circle just 20 seconds after the Calder goal and then denying Dustin Brown’s in-close wrist shot two minutes after that on a power play.
Hagman had his opportunity for the hat trick with about two and a half minutes remaining, when he broke out of the Dallas zone, carried it into the LA zone, and cutting into the slot, fired a wrist shot that deflected off a King defenseman and wide.
Leading 1-0 about a minute into the second period, Dallas thwarted a Kings’ best scoring opportunity in the game up to that point. Racing into the Stars’ zone on a 2-on-1 rush, Calder carried down the right side with just Trevor Daley back. Daley smartly prevented a pass across to Jack Johnson, who joined the rush, but Calder still tried to get the puck across and his pass attempt ended up sliding past Johnson and ricocheting off the far post and harmlessly into the corner.
Hagman made it 2-0 at the 4:18 mark, benefitting from a beautiful feed from Morrow. Behind the net, Morrow slipped a behind-the-back backhand pass that had everyone expecting him to skate around the other side to Hagman out front, and he jammed it past LaBarbera for his second of the night.
“That was nice,” Hagman said of that pass. “(Morrow)’s really good at it. We’ve seen many goals that guys have scored from his passes, and he uses it every now and then. He gets it and quick toss to the front of the net on his backhand. I kind of knew he was going to go for it, but Mini’s pass was good, and I was expecting it.”
Three minutes later, Dallas enjoyed a 47-second 5-on-3 power play, but LaBarbera made a nice stop on their only real scoring chance, turning aside Mike Modano’s booming slap shot from the top of the circles.
Then, when the first penalty to Alexander Frolov expired, he stole the puck from Sergei Zubov at the LA blueline and sped in on Turco on a breakaway, in a play that looked like it would be a carbon copy of Hagman’s first goal. Frolov tried the ‘Peter Forsberg stamp’ move, but Turco managed to extend his left skate enough to make the save.
Antti Miettinen then scored the third goal of the night by a Finn, taking the puck into the LA zone and drilling a quick snap shot from the right circle over LaBarbera’s glove for a 3-0 advantage at 13:03.
“He was a good player tonight,” Tippett said of Miettinen. “He was physical, he was hard on people, I thought he played pretty well tonight on that line (with Lundqvist and Jeff Halpern). We’ll see if we can continue to build on that.”
Dallas continued to pour on the pressure, as LaBarbera came up with a nice save on Philippe Boucher’s blast from the blue line about a minute later. The Stars kept up the momentum and LA was forced to take more penalties to stop them, resulting in another 5-on-3, this one for 28 seconds.
Again, the Stars didn’t capitalize on the two-man advantage, but did score while still enjoying the second power play, as Ribeiro collected his first goal in his first game back with 3:55 left in the second. During a mad scramble in front of the Kings net, Ribeiro managed to pull a loose puck out from a maze of fallen bodies that include Morrow and Jere Lehtinen and flip it off LaBarbera’s arm and over him into the net.
“The first 5-on-3, we had a lot of point shots, and I think on the second one, we tried to create more low plays, and we had a few chances,” Ribeiro said. “Lehts tried to create a few chances, and I think most of it was second effort from Brenden and Lehts there, they both dived to get the puck and I was kind of alone for a few seconds there.”
Dallas had the contest’s first scoring chance less than three minutes into the first period while on a power play. Hagman received a quick pass from Ribeiro behind the net, cut across the top of the crease and whipped a backhander towards an empty net, but LaBarbera lunged out with the glove and snagged it.
Then about two minutes later, with LA on the power play, it was Turco’s turn to flash the glove. Anze Kopitar unleashed a point-blank wrist shot from the right circle, and Turco made the big save.
Dallas dodged a bullet a minute later when Daley was whistled for holding at 5:43 with Mattias Norstrom already in the penalty box, giving the Kings a 22-second 5-on-3 advantage. Not only did the Stars keep LA off the board, they scored a short-handed goal while still down one player.
Hagman, quickly making up for his previous missed opportunity, stole the puck from Calder at the Dallas blue line and then raced away on a breakaway. Coming in on LaBarbera, Hagman shifted forehand to backhand and then slid the puck between LaBarbera’s pads for the 1-0 lead at 7:24.
“I kind of managed to read that (Calder) wanted to pass there and it hit my glove, and I managed to get a breakaway,” Hagman explained. “I probably went through 25 different scenarios between those two bluelines, but after the blueline, I figured I’m going to put it on my backhand. Usually, I try to go backhand shelf, so I figured I’d put it on my backhand and try to go five-hole.”
Stu Barnes almost extended the lead to two with six minutes remaining in the period with a sneaky wrister through a screen from a sharp angle in the lower left circle, but LaBarbera made the save.
Dallas next hosts Calgary at the American Airlines Center on Friday (7:30 pm, FSN).
- As usual, Zubov led the Stars in ice time with 23:45. He also earned an assist, giving him four points (one goal, three assists) on the season.
- Morrow led the Stars with five shots on goal. Defenseman Stephane Robidas led the club with five hits and Daley had four blocked shots.
- In his first game back after missing several weeks with an ankle sprain, Ribeiro played 16:48. “I had maybe one or two tweaks during the game, but I feel good,” Ribeiro said. “A few mental mistakes there, a few turnovers, but other than that, I felt good physically, mentally.”
- In recognition of the 10th anniversary of the NHL’s Hockey Fights Cancer program, October is Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness Month, and this game was Hockey Fights Cancer night in Dallas. As such, Stars players wore pink decals on their helmets, and the ceremonial first puck was dropped by Kimberly Simpson, Chief Administrative Officer of the Susan G. Komen Race of the Cure. Tippett and the rest of the Dallas coaching staff all wore special pink HFC ties behind the bench, as did broadcasters Ralph Strangis and Razor Reaugh. Even the Ice Girls wore pink outfits.
- Tennis star Jim Courier also made an appearance, hitting signed tennis balls into the crowd during one of the intermissions.
- The Stars swept all eight games from the Kings last season, outscoring LA by a 30-16 margin, including 13-2 in the first periods of those contests. Dallas also went 13-for-50 (26 %) on the power play during those eight games. Boucher led the Stars in scoring in those games with five goals and nine points.