Ottawa defenseman Jason Smith hadn't scored a goal in forever. He couldn't have picked a worse time for the Stars to finally get one.
Smith found the back of the net for the first time in 104 games, as his goal with 1:30 left in overtime gave the Senators a 5-4 win over the Stars at Scotiabank Place on Saturday night.
Smith accepted a pass from Mike Fisher and let a wrist shot go from the lower portion of the right circle that sneaked past Dallas goalie Marty Turco on the short side.
The Stars still gained a crucial point in their quest to climb out of the depths of the Western Conference, but lost for the first time in their last four games that have gone past 60 minutes.
"We have to be more consistent, bottom line," said center Toby Petersen, whose goal in the second period gave Dallas its only lead in the contest. "This is a team that needs to bring it every night. Our penalty-killing needs to be better, and we need to play better in front of Marty."
"We have people digging in hard, and we are right there, but we can't get over the hump," coach Dave Tippett said. "But we have to recognize we are letting points get away by shooting ourselves in the foot. We have some people doing things and we have some people who are not."
Despite allowing three power-play goals, the Stars were in position to win it after Eriksson tied the game at 4 with his team-leading 18th goal of the season -- and sixth this week -- with 5:34 left in regulation.
Eriksson wristed a shot from the slot past Ottawa goalie Martin Gerber while moving backwards after defenseman Alexandre Picard gave the Senators a 4-3 advantage with Ottawa's third power-play goal of the night just 1:36 into the third period.
The power play came after Krys Barch's apparent slash on Senators forward Chris Neil with just .7 seconds left in the second period. With the impending period-ending faceoff in the Ottawa end, Barch was whistled for slashing after he appeared to barely tap Neil's shin pads.
"One point is ok, but we need all the points we can get," Eriksson said. "Pucks are going in right now, but I would rather have the win. We gave up too may chances and we have to clean that up. We can't turn pucks over like we did, and we can't give up that many goals."
Coming in, the Senators had lost five of six, and had scored a league-low 68 times while converting just once on their last 29 man-advantage opportunities.
"We are not going to score six every night," Richards said. "It's tough to win when you allow five goals. We lost the special teams battle and we have to better killing penalties."
The Stars were bolstered up front with the return of Jere Lehtinen, who had missed all but three games this season because of injuries.
Lehtinen made his presence felt when he knocked Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson out of the game with a punishing check along the left boards just inside the Dallas blue line. The Senators were on the power play with nine minutes left in the second period when Alfredsson appeared to try and spin away from Lehtinen before getting plowed into the boards.
Alfredsson sustained what the Senators said was an upper body injury.
Alfredsson, Antoine Vermette, and Jason Spezza also scored for the Senators, while Gerber finished with 25 saves.
Turco, meanwhile, made 28 stops, but lost for the first time in four decisions against the Senators.
Vermette made it 2-1 with a power-play goal four minutes into of the second period. Standing to the left of the goal, Vermette whipped a shot along the ice that eluded Turco.
Richards tied it with a power-play goal of his own almost four minutes later. Corralling the puck along the outer edge of the right circle, Richards scored his eighth of the year after wheeling into the high slot and letting a half-slap shot go that went passed a slightly screened Gerber.
Petersen then gave Dallas the lead two minutes later with his fourth of the season. After Landon Wilson chipped the puck into the Ottawa zone, Petersen picked it up in the right circle and, on his off wing, wristed a shot from the faceoff dot that handcuffed Gerber.
But Spezza tied it at 3 with another power-play goal with 8:09 left in the second. From the lower left circle, Spezza drifted to the front of the net before elevating a shot over Turco.
Ottawa drew first blood on the first shot of the game, as Alfredsson scored his ninth of the year just 1:27 in. Alfredsson did a nifty toe-drag to get around defensman Darryl Sydor before letting a wrist shot go that went over Turco's blocker.
Niskanen tied it with just 51 seconds left in the first period with his second of the year. Niskanen lugged the puck from his own blue line and into the Senators zone before letting go a wrist shot from the top of the right circle that squirted through Gerber's legs.
"There were lots of positives, but you hate to give a point away," Tippett said. "We fought back but have to find ways to win games."
The Stars will stay in Canada and play at Toronto on Tuesday night (6:30 p.m., my27). The Maple Leafs blasted Pittsburgh 7-3 on Saturday night.
--Forward Joel Lundqvist was given the night off because of a sore shoulder. Lundqvist returned on Thursday in the win over Columbus after a 21-game absence because of a shoulder problem, and registered a game-high nine hits against the Blue Jackets.
--Forward Fabian Brunnstrom picked up his first NHL career penalty in the second period. Brunnstrom was whistled for interference, and Vermette scored while the rookie was in the penalty box.
--Defenseman Doug Janik recorded his first point this season with an assist on Petersen's goal. It came in Janik's 13th game of the year.
--Trevor Daley is now the only defenseman that has played in all of the Stars games this season.
--Richards is on a three-game points streak (2-5-7).
--It was the first game in Ottawa between the two teams since Dec. 2005.
--The Stars fell to 6-9-2 on the road.
--Ottawa was 3-for-6 on the power play, while the Stars were 1-for-4.
1 - 0 OTT
1 - 1 Tie
2 - 1 OTT
2 - 2 Tie
3 - 2 DAL
3 - 3 Tie
4 - 3 OTT
4 - 4 Tie
5 - 4 OTT