Stars 3, Coyotes 2
Tuesday, 03.01.2011 / 11:02 PMGLENDALE - Jamie Benn
wouldn't let a terrific Stars effort go to waste.
Benn scored the winner on the power play with just 4.8 seconds left in regulation, and Kari Lehtonen
made 25 saves to lift the Stars to a dramatic 3-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena on Tuesday night.
Benn's tally capped a furious final four minutes of regulation, and gave the Stars their third straight win that helped them move into seventh place in the Western Conference with 74 points.
Dallas nearly squandered a two-goal lead when Phoenix scored twice in a three-minute span late in the third period, but Benn, who has been a workhorse since returning from his shoulder injury sustained in Vancouver last month, kept the game from going into overtime when his wicked snap shot in the slot whizzed past Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.
"We're a team that wins together," Benn said. "I think we had a shooting mentality tonight, and we want to have that every game. We're getting mores shots and more opportunities to score. We just have to bear down."
and Jamie Langenbrunner
also scored for the surging Stars (34-23-6), who snapped a three-game losing streak to Phoenix with only their second victory in the last seven visits to the desert.
"Our power play was effective most of the night and finally cashed in at the end of the night," coach Marc Crawford said. "We didn't like the goals that we gave up, but they did a good job in desperation to get pucks to the net. Overall we played a very intelligent game, the type of game you need to play at this time of the year."
Lehtonen's shutout bid was spoiled by newly acquired Phoenix defenseman Rostislav Klesla's goal with 3:39 left in regulation, and his win was almost snatched away when Ray Whitney tied the game at 2-2 with just 37.7 ticks on the clock left.
But soon after that, Phoenix forward Radim Vrbata was called for a hooking penalty with 13 seconds left, and that's when Benn brought his heroics into play, converting consecutive passes from Mike Ribeiro
and Loui Eriksson
for the winner after captain Brenden Morrow
was able to dig the puck out of the left corner.
The second-year winger Benn has averaged over 20 minutes a game over the last four contests after missing 10 games because of the shoulder injury, and he now has registered a point in eight of his last 11 games.
Up 1-0 after two periods, things were looking good for the Stars after Langenbrunner stretched the lead with his eighth of the season with 7:13 left in the third. The goal came after Dallas had survived Phoenix's push during the first half of the third period, thanks in large part to the spectacular goaltending of Lehtonen.
"It was a crazy last few minutes," Langenbrunner said. "You go through all the emotions there. We played a very good game, then we gave them two late ones. Credit them for battling. Then it was a great play by Benner to bury the winner there with no time left."
"The last couple of minutes it just opened up a little bit," Lehtonen said. "It was a pretty crazy finish. I wish I could have done more, but we still got the two points and that's great. We had a pretty bad stretch for about 10 games but the last three we've been very good, especially in our end."
Langenbrunner's goal was his eighth of the year, and came when the puck ricocheted in off his left skate in the crease after Steve Ott
took a shot at the net from a sharp angle near the right corner.
"It was a good play by Otter to just throw it to the net," Langenbrunner said. "This time of the year it's pretty tough to score pretty goals. It's a lot of battling, going to the net, and getting bounces."
The Stars opened the scoring on Wandell's fifth of the season with 1:44 left in the opening frame. From the outer edge of the left circle, Wandell drilled a slap shot off his wrong foot that blew past Bryzgalov.
"It's huge to win in regulation," Crawford said. "For us, our goal was to get two points. We played a solid game, and a strong game."
The Stars continue their four-game road trip on Friday when they visit Anaheim to play the Ducks (9 p.m., FS-SW+). The Ducks defeated Colorado on Sunday to snap an 0-4-1 stretch.
"This team all year has kept on going and kept on pushing." Langenbrunner said. "It was another game like that tonight."
-- Brian Sutherby
was the lone healthy scratch.
-- Brad Richards
(upper body) and Nicklas Grossman
(lower body) remain out, but both hope to join the team and return to practice later in the week.
-- Dallas has the second-best record in the NHL in one-goal games (19-5-6).
-- Lehtonen started his fourth straight game, and played in his 50th game of the season. It's the second time in his career that he's played at least 50 games.
-- The game was the first of nine against divisional opponents during the month of March.
-- Of Dallas' final 19 games, 15 are against teams that entered Tuesday ranked from third place to 11th place in the West, with only seven points separating those clubs.
-- The Stars improved to 2-2-1 against the Coyotes this season.
-- Dallas was 1 of 5 on the power play, and has cashed in on six of 21 (28.6 percent) man-advantage opportunities this season against the Coyotes.
-- The Stars won their second straight on the road.