DALLAS - Free-wheeling and easily controlling the play, the Dallas Stars seemed well on their way to yet another victory after a solid first period Tuesday night. Unfortunately, then came the second period.
Anaheim changed the complexion of the game and stole momentum away from the Stars with a three-goal second stanza outburst that helped lift the Ducks to a 5-2 win over the Stars at American Airlines Center.
Staked to a 1-0 lead after Loui Eriksson tallied in the first period, the Stars were stung by the three Ducks goals that were scored in a span that was nearly 11 minutes in length. It was a cruel blow to a Stars team that held a whopping 30-16 shot advantage through the first 40 minutes, including a 16-9 advantage in that pivotal second period.
"They hung around and got some opportunistic goals," center Brad Richards said. "For us, we have to be more realistic. Just because we step onto the ice doesn't mean we're going to score goals. It takes more work than that. We're getting frustrated but you have to stay with it. It's mental toughness of the team."
Brian Sutherby also scored, and Kari Lehtonen, making his eighth straight start, finished with 21 saves for the Stars, who've now lost two straight following a solid 5-1-0 start to the season.
The second period started harmlessly enough when Bobby Ryan deflected in a shot from the point just 28 seconds in. The roof caved in halfway through when Ryan and George Parros scored just 53 second apart to give Anaheim a 3-1 lead.
Veteran forward Teemu Selanne and Corey Perry each had a goal and assist for the Ducks, who concluded a four-game road trip with a 2-2 mark.
Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller, a standout for Switzerland in the Olympics this past February, played marvelously and stonewalled the Stars at every turn. Whether shots were from in tight or along the perimeter, Hiller stayed strong in net to help the Ducks win for the third time in five games.
"We got some opportunistic goals at the start of the year, there were some pretty goals, and there were some (opponent) breakdowns," Richards said. "The league will tighten up. When you get off to a 4-0 or 5-1 start, teams are going to realize what you're doing and they are going to bear down. We just have to stick with it and keep battling."
Sutherby cut the Dallas deficit to 3-2 with his first of the year with 13:52 left in the third period. Hiller made the initial stop on Toby Petersen's shot from the left circle, and then blocked Brandon Segal's rebound whack in mid-air. The puck trickled down to Sutherby, who shoveled it in while standing just to the left of the post.
But the Ducks regained their two-goal edge when Selanne scored his 611th career NHL goal midway through the third. On the power play, he easily tapped in Perry's nifty behind the back pass down low to move into sole possession of 15th place on the all-time goals scored list.
The Stars comeback bid was dealt a blow when Stephane Robidas was handed a 5-minute major for boarding with 9:36 left in regulation after he sent Anaheim winger Matt Beleskey violently into the corner boards after Beleskey let go a shot on Lehtonen.
Dallas, though, was able to kill off the major penalty, but just six seconds after it ended Perry popped home a bouncing puck with 4:30 to go to make it 5-2.
In all, the Stars went 1-for-5 on the power play, while the Ducks were 1-for-3.
"I think we made a lot of mistakes, but nothing from a lack of effort," captain Brenden Morrow said. "But once again it was special teams that kind of let us down. The power play could have been huge for us early. I think we had the first three or four opportunities, and against a team like this who is aggressive, you have to put them away. We could have done that early."
Down 1-0 after the first period, the Ducks began their second-period blitz by tying things up at 1-1 just 28 seconds into the second. In the middle of the ice near the blue line, Anaheim defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky's shot knuckled toward the net about three feet off the ice. Ryan, skating through the slot, was able to deflect it down and past Lehtonen.
The Ducks took their first lead of the game at 10:30 of the second when Ryan notched his second of the game. From the high slot, Visnovsky slid a slick pass to Ryan, who whipped in a wrist shot one-timer from the right faceoff dot.
Just 53 second later Anaheim pushed its lead to 3-1 on a breakaway goal by Parros. The Ducks' tough guy blocked Dallas defenseman Karlis Skrastins shot from the point before going in alone on Lehtonen. Parros snapped a shot from the slot that floated in after Lehtonen got a piece of the puck with his pad.
Dallas struck first when Eriksson delivered his fifth of the year with 3:54 remaining in the first period. Standing in the slot, the Swede was able to deftly re-direct Mike Ribeiro's pass from the right point into the top-right corner.
The goal snapped the Stars' 96 minute, 40 second scoreless drought.
Dallas continues its elongated six-game homestand when the Los Angeles Kings invade American Airlines Center on Thursday (7:30, FS-SW). The Kings won their second straight on Monday following a 3-2 shootout victory over Minnesota.