Mike Ribeiro tied it with 1:04 remaining in the third period and Mike Modano struck for the game-winner at 3:34 of overtime to lead the Dallas Stars to a thrilling 4-3 OT victory over the Anaheim Ducks Saturday night at the American Airlines Center.
The Stars continued their recent turnaround, extending their point streak to five straight games (4-0-1) and improving to 8-3-1 in their last 12 while sending their Pacific Division rivals to their fourth loss in their last five games.
Dallas has now won four straight at home and are 6-1-0 in their last seven in the friendly confines of the American Airlines Center. The win pushes the Stars over the .500 mark to 15-14-5 on the season, leaving them in 13th in the Western Conference, but just two points back of Nashville in the eighth and final playoff spot.
“We’re in that mode right now where we’re trying to get points and we’re slowly climbing,” Modano said. “When you have everybody contributing, it helps the team as a whole. Guys are finding out their role and everybody’s helping out. Mike was making some good plays and getting some variety and eventually you need to get the puck to the net. Those guys were working hard down low.”
“The important thing is the two points and climbing the ladder,” Ribeiro said. “We have to keep a playoff mentality every night and we just need to keep pushing. We need to focus on the game at hand and keep winning at home. We’ve been showing some good work ethic, so we’ll try and keep this run going. We are gaining some confidence and pushing forward.”
Ribeiro ended up with a goal and two assists, while Modano, rookie James Neal and Brad Richards each scored a goal and an assist.
“Winning is addictive and losing is addictive. Right now we’re winning and it’s becoming addictive,” Richards said. “You’ve got to turn it your way and we’ve turned it our way with hard work. It wasn’t pretty at times, but we deserved to win this game.”
Meanwhile, Marty Turco was once again solid in goal, making 19 saves for the win.
But it was very nearly a disappointing loss, as the Stars let a 2-1 third period lead slip away and trailed 3-2 late in regulation. But Ribeiro scored the Stars’ second extra-attacker goal this season and Modano pulled it out in OT.
Modano scored on the Stars’ fourth shot in overtime, receiving a nice cross-ice pass from Richards and booming a one-timer from the left face-off circle over the flailing arm of Ducks netminder J.S. Giguere for his 12th goal of the season.
“We had some good chances, those guys worked hard down low to get it up high and my shot went in,” Modano said.
“Great to see us come back and send it to overtime, and Modano had a great shot at the end but we were sloppy and messy, lots of turkey involved,” Stars coach Dave Tippett said. “We’ll take the points though. We were very efficient at the start at the third, but we can’t keep turning pucks over and chasing the game. We were on our heels at times, and those are things we need to clean up.”
Heading into the final period deadlocked 1-1, Dallas seized the lead just 1:06 into the third by capitalizing on their fourth power play of the evening. With Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf in the penalty box, Modano boomed a slap shot from the point that Giguere stopped, but Ribeiro then slipped the rebound through Giguere’s pads before Neal nudged it in for his fourth goal in the last two games.
Anaheim then tied it again on a power play of their own on Brendan Morrison’s first goal of the net at 8:11. With Steve Ott feeling shame in the sin bin for an offensive zone interference penalty, Bret Hedican ripped a slap shot from the point that Andrew Ebbett deflected in front. Turco made the stop, but Morrison was right on top of him and popped the loose rebound past him and in.
The Ducks then made it 3-2 on Morrison’s eighth goal of the year with just 3:21 remaining. Rookie Bobby Ryan fed a slick pass from behind the Dallas net out front to Morrison, who slammed it past Turco for the go-ahead tally.
Dallas came right back on the next shift, but Giguere made a nice save on Ott’s wrist shot from the left face-off circle with 3:02 left in regulation.
Ott was deployed as the extra attacker for Turco with 1:20 left, and he helped the Stars hem Anaheim in their own zone, leading to Ribeiro’s equalizer with 1:04 on the clock. After Neal worked the puck to him in the right circle, Ribeiro beat Giguere with a wrist shot to send the game to overtime.
“I was just trying to put it in front of the net and it found a way through to Ribeiro,” Neal said.
Loui Eriksson had a prime scoring chance in OT, racing in on a breakaway a minute and a half into the extra session, but Giguere saved his wrister from the slot while Getzlaf was also whistled for slashing.
The ensuing power play had just ended one second earlier when Modano netted the game-winner.
“When you get a chance on the pp in overtime, you don’t want to miss that,” Richards said.
The Ducks got on the scoreboard first on Chris Kunitz’s ninth of the season at 6:20 of the first period. After Turco stopped Getzlaf’s bouncing backhander from the right face-off circle, Kunitz swatted the loose rebound on his backhand through Turco to put Anaheim up 1-0 early.
Anaheim kept pressing and held an 8-2 advantage in shots on goal through the first half of the period, but Dallas regained the momentum with back-to-back power plays and ended up outshooting the Ducks 10-9 for the period.
The Stars continued to have the territorial edge through the first nine minutes of the second period, finally cashing in on Richards’ 10th goal of the season at 8:27. After receiving a slick backhand pass from Toby Petersen along the left sideboards, Richards cut into the slot and fired a scorching wrist shot past Giguere’s glove hand to tie it.
At that point, Dallas led 4-0 on shots for the period, but the Ducks responded with their most spirited play of the contest to that point, and outshot the Stars 7-1 over the next nine minutes.
Turco’s best stop over that span was a big save on Corey Perry’s point-blank backhander with 9:10 left in the second to keep the game even.
The Stars continue their ‘holiday hat trick’ of home games with a date against the Pacific Division-leading (and NHL’s overall leading) San Jose Sharks Monday night (8 pm start, FSN).
“We’re trying to make a big push right here,” Neal said. “It’s our house and it’s where we want to win a lot of games. Every point is huge for us.”
- Ribeiro now has a five-game assist and point streak going, having compiled two goals and seven assists in that time. He led all skaters in the game with six shots on goal and also logged 22:50 of ice time, tops among all Dallas forwards.
- The OT winner was the ninth of Modano’s career, leaving him tied for seventh among active players in regular season overtime game-winners. He also now has three points (one goal, two assists) in the last two games after being held scoreless in the previous five contests. Modano fired five shots on goal.
- Richards extended his goal streak to four games and his point streak to five, having collected four goals and 10 points over that span. He skated 22:37 of ice time, second among Dallas forwards.
- Following his first career hat trick Tuesday night in Toronto, Neal now has five points (four goals, one assist) in two games and six (five goals, one assist) in the last four contests. “He had another great game,” Tippett said of the rookie. “It was great to see him follow that up and if he keeps this up, we will have a heck of a player on our hands.”
- Ott’s assist on Ribeiro’s game-tying tally was his third point (one goal, two assists) in the last two games. He led the Stars with a whopping eight hits.
- Defenseman Matt Niskanen’s four-game assist streak was snapped. He still has five points (one goal, four assists) in his last five games.
- With Brian Sutherby facing his former club in his second game in a Stars uniform after returning from a groin injury, winger Mark Parrish was a healthy scratch for the second consecutive contest, after going scoreless in his previous 10 outings. Sutherby registered two hits in 7:24 of ice time.
- Even without the game-winner counting as an official power play goal since it came one second after the penalty expired, the Stars were 1-for-5 on the power play, their fourth straight game connecting with the man advantage. They are now 6-for-16 over the last four contests after struggling through a 3-for-54 stretch over the previous 12.
- The Stars are now 10-2-3 in their last 15 regular season meetings with the Ducks, including 2-0-1 this season, outscoring them by a 43-27 margin over that span.
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