The Stars were able to do the little things on the road to secure a big win.
Loui Eriksson scored twice, Mark Parrish added another, Mike Ribeiro assisted on all three tallies, and Marty Turco saved his best stop for last to give Dallas a much-needed 3-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night at Jobing.com Arena.
Turco finished with 25 stops, but none was larger than the one that saved the game with seven seconds left in regulation. With Phoenix goalie Ilya Bryzgalov pulled for the extra attacker, Tucro robbed Olli Jokinen's glorious chance at the doorstep, sliding to his right before kicking out his right pad for the incredible denial.
Before the amazing save, the Stars had done a marvelous job of protecting the puck, backchecking, and playing a tight defensive scheme all game long against the Coyotes, something that's been lacking from a team that was able to move to within a point of fourth-place Phoenix in the Pacific Division. Dallas committed just a single turnover, and played the type of game it needs to in order climb out of the early-season hole they've dug themselves.
"It was certainly something we needed desperately," center Mike Modano said. "We made a lot of our chances even though there were not a lot of them. This was something we needed. When you're patient and do your job it makes everyone's job lot easier. We had a simple gameplan and we didn't try to do too much."
"We got the win," said Eriksson, who recorded his second two-goal game of the season. "We needed those two points."
The Coyotes came in having won five of their seven home games, but had no answer for the disciplined Stars. Dallas won for the 10th time in the last 13 games played in Phoenix since the start of the 2005-06 season, and snapped its three-game losing streak in the process.
"Those are points that were needed," coach Dave Tippett said. "We played a solid first period and a solid third. We were solid defensively and we cleaned up a lot. We have to continue to limit the mistakes and play as a team to give us a chance to win."
A perfect example of Dallas' attention to detail happened with 90 second to go when Eriksson's errant shot traveled along the left boards and all the way into the neutral zone to Phoenix center Martin Hanzal. But before Hanzal was able to generate any type of offensive attack, the three Dallas forwards quickly retreated and suffocated Hanzal just a couple of strides inside the Stars blueline.
"That was probably one of our best third periods this year," Ribeiro said. "We didn't create much, but we clogged up the middle and played well in our end."
Steven Reinprecht and Kevin Porter scored for Phoenix, which lost its second straight following three consecutive wins. Bryzgalov finished with 16 saves after coming in having won two of his last three decisions against the Stars.
Down 1-0 after the first period, Reinprecht tied it up for the Coyotes, potting his third of the year 2 1/2 minutes into the second period. Reinprecht accepted a pass from Keith Yandle in the left circle before cutting to the middle of the slot and slipping the puck deftly through Turco's legs.
Parrish restored Dallas' one-goal lead with a power-play goal almost six minutes later. Standing in the slot, Parrish was able to deflect Sergei Zubov's slap shot from the middle of the blue line for his fourth of the year.
Eriksson made it 3-1 with his second of the game and eighth of the season with 55 seconds to go in the second. After Bryzgalov stopped Ribeiro's slap shot from the right circle, Toby Petersen pushed the rebound to Eriksson, who shoveled it in from a couple of feet away.
"I think he's been our best player (this year)," Ribeiro said. "He's been great and he knows how to play."
But the two-goal lead was short-lived, as Porter netted his third of the year 17 seconds later. While driving to the net, Mikkel Boedker's pass went off Porter's left skate and past Turco. The play was upheld after a two-minute video review, with the ruling being that Porter was in the midst of stopping and subsequently did not distinctly kick the puck in.
Eriksson started the scoring with just under three minutes to go in the first period. Off the rush, Ribeiro lugged the puck over the blue line along the right boards before sliding a pass to Eriksson, who was skating alongside. Eriksson took a few strides before beating Bryzgalov with a backhander from the bottom of the right circle.
"Loui has been playing very well for us and got some big goals," Tippett said. "He's also been solid defensively and just keeps getting better."
"It's always good to get the first goal and have the lead," Eriksson added. "Turks was good again for us and made a huge one there at the end."
The Stars return to Dallas where they will have the next three days off before hosting the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday at 7:30 at American Airlines Center (FSN). The Blackhawks defeated the Stars 5-2 on Halloween in Chicago, and will complete their five-game homestand on Sunday against San Jose.
Chicago will play at Phoenix on Tuesday before heading to North Texas.
"We have to keep building on our game and keep working," Modano said. "We have a few days off now and we will keep our focus."
--Defenseman Doug Janik was inserted into the lineup for the first time since sustaining a facial laceration against Colorado on Oct. 18. "He was a solid player for us tonight and he made the most of the opportunity," Tippett said.
--Defenseman Philippe Boucher was scratched for the first time this year.
--Zubov has points in each of his last three games.
--The Stars were whistled for only two minor penalties that put them down a man, with both committed by Sean Avery. Dallas killed both power plays off.
--Dallas won a whopping 71 percent of the faceoffs (34-of-48), a big reason for their ability to control the game.
--The Stars were outshot for the fifth straight game, and sixth in the last seven.
--Dallas improved to 4-6-1 on the road.
--It was Ribeiro's fourth multi-point game of the season.