Streaking Stars Stop Ducks, 3-1
ANAHEIM (AP) – Loui Eriksson had a fluke goal 13 seconds after the opening faceoff and scored again early in the third period, leading Dallas to a 3-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night and helping extend the Stars’ winning streak to five games.
Mike Ribeiro also scored for the Stars, 6-1-0 after missing the playoffs in each of the previous three seasons. It’s their best start since 2006-07, when they won eight of their first nine and finished 50-25-7 before losing in the first round of the playoffs. The only other time they started 6-1 was 1996-97.
Kari Lehtonen made 35 saves, giving up a power-play goal to reigning MVP Corey Perry with a tenth of a second left in the second period after the Stars took a 2-0 lead.
The loss ended Anaheim’s four-game winning streak.
Anaheim’s Lubomir Visnovsky hit the left post with a long wrist shot from the right point in the opening minute of the second period with Perry setting up a screen in the low slot.
Lehtonen got another break at 4:12 of the period, when a goalie-interference penalty against Perry negated defenseman Cam Fowler’s apparent power-play goal.
Lehtonen has a 1.48 goals-against average and has won all six of starts. It’s the longest streak at any point of a season during his NHL career and the longest by any goalie since the franchise moved from Minnesota to Dallas — eclipsing Marty Turco’s record. The Stars’ only loss came with Andrew Raycroft in net.
Lehtonen started Dallas’ final 23 games last season, going 11-7-5 with a victory and a pair of overtime losses against the Ducks. The Stars’ road loss against the Minnesota Wild in the regular-season finale prevented them from getting a playoff berth and cost coach Marc Crawford his job.
Anaheim’s Jonas Hiller, back between the pipes after watching backup Dan Ellis’ 3-2 victory win at San Jose on Monday night, stopped 16 shots. Hiller got an early wakeup call when Eriksson played the puck at the goal line to the right of the net after a dump-in by Steve Ott and banked it off Hiller’s pads with a backhander from a sharp angle.
Hiller, 3-0 with a 0.97 GAA in his previous three starts, thwarted Jamie Benn on a breakaway 1 1/2 minutes into the first period after Ott sent him in alone with a long pass from deep in the Stars’ end. But Dallas made it 2-0 at 7:40 of the period on Ribeiro’s first goal of the season. Hiller stopped a one-timer by Alex Goligoski, but the puck dribbled behind him in the crease and Ribeiro beat defenseman Francois Beauchemin to it for an easy tap-in.
Eriksson added his fifth goal at 1:42 of the third on assist from Benn behind the net, resulting in his 17th career multigoal game.
Notes: Had Dallas won its final game last season, the Pacific Division would have become the first to put five teams in the playoffs since 1997-98, when the Northeast Division had five of six teams get in. The following season, the NHL went from four divisions to six after expanding to Nashville. … Visnovsky, who led all defensemen in scoring last season with a career-high 58 points, has two assists through his first six games. His hat trick against Dallas on March 4 at Anaheim made him the first defenseman in franchise history to score three goals in a game. … The Ducks have killed all 17 opponents’ power plays at home. … The Stars haven’t lost a game in regulation when leading after two periods since Oct. 31, 2009, when Alex Auld gave up three goals in the third at Nashville in a 4-2 defeat. … The Stars have never missed the playoffs in four consecutive seasons. … Since the start of last season, Lehtonen is 14-3-2 when facing 35 or more shots.