DALLAS (AP) — Anaheim’s power-play unit woke up Monday night.
Bobby Ryan jump-started a three-goal second period with a power-play tally and Viktor Fasth made 26 saves for his third shutout of the season, leading the Ducks to a 4-0 triumph over the reeling Dallas Stars on Monday night.
“He made big saves, we weren’t perfect tonight,” said Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau. “We had breakdowns and I think all Viktor did was frustrate that team. I’ve been on that end. Whether it’s a player or a coach and he’s stopping everything that you’re throwing at him. You just sit there and your shoulders drop. Viktor held the door.”
Corey Perry and Matt Beleskey also scored, and Ryan Getzlaf added two assists for the Ducks, who completed a four-game road trip (2-1-1). Teemu Selanne capped the scoring with an empty-netter in the last minute.
“I think we did a lot of good things tonight,” said Ryan, who had scored just once in his previous 11 contests. “The guys were committed to the overall 60-minute effort. When you survive the first period, they had a little momentum there, Viktor made some saves there that helped us get through that and we rolled from there.”
Both squads were coming off disappointing losses the night before, the Ducks 2-1 in overtime at Columbus and the Stars 3-2 at home against Los Angeles.
Despite having to travel, it was the Pacific Division-leading Ducks that displayed more energy and passion, one night after Dallas coach Glen Gulutzan challenged his team to come out with more urgency and desperation.
“We came out hungry, I thought we had some really good chances, we just didn’t capitalize, and I thought their goalie made some good saves,” Gulutzan said. “Obviously, the result isn’t what you want. We didn’t lose, we got beat. We had enough there, if we’d have capitalized, to win it.”
Kari Lehtonen, making his 15th straight start, came up with 26 saves for Dallas, which is 1-3-0 in its last four outings — allowing 16 goals in the process.
After completing a crucial 11-game stretch in which they played nine at home with a 4-6-1 mark, the Stars’ playoff chances look to be in jeopardy, as they trail St. Louis by three points for the final Western Conference playoff spot.
“Pretty disappointing,” said Stars center Jamie Benn, who fired a game-high five shots on goal. “We’ve got 14 games or whatever left, there’s no bigger points than the game you’re playing that night and we came out with none tonight, so it’s a pretty (crummy) feeling.”
With the trade deadline Wednesday, there has a lot of speculation that Dallas could ship out some veterans with expiring contracts such as Derek Roy or Jaromir Jagr.
Dallas general manager Joe Nieuwendyk admitted he was listening to offers, but wasn’t sure what he was going to do.
“We’ll just have to wait and see. We’ve got 48 hours here,” Nieuwendyk said. “They’re difficult because these are very difficult decisions. They’re never easy.”
Gulutzan did not think the looming deadline had any effect on his club’s performance.
“We were focused, we wanted to play,” said Gulutzan. “I say focused and you lose 4-0, but I didn’t think it was a 4-0 game. We were playing to win. We weren’t worried about the trade deadline.”
Anaheim broke the scoreless tie at 10:13 of the second period on the power play, when Getzlaf fed a pretty cross-ice pass to Ryan in the left face-off circle, where he unleashed a wrist shot that beat Lehtonen past the blocker for his 10th of the season.
“I didn’t know if we were going to get one, but I loved it when we finally did,” said Boudreau, whose squad had gone 1-for-23 with the man-advantage over the previous 11 outings. “It was just right that Bobby scored it because he’s had so many chances. (Getzlaf) made a perfect play and when he gets that perfect pass, he knows what to do with it.”
The Ducks needed less than three minutes to push the lead to 2-0 when Perry notched his 12th of the year at 12:52. After Lehtonen made a pad save on Getzlaf’s shot from the point, Perry swooped in to pop the loose rebound home.
The hole for the Stars became deeper at 15:02 of the second when Beleskey, who missed the previous four games with an upper-body injury, scored his sixth. After curling out from behind the net for a backhander that Lehtonen stopped, Beleskey dug out the loose rebound from several skates in front and swatted it into the empty side of the net.
The Stars had a prime opportunity to get one back on a power play at 7:30 of the third period, but Fasth made a sliding pad save on Ray Whitney’s one-timer from the left side of the crease.
Anaheim almost made it a four-goal lead 26 seconds later when Perry sped in alone, but Lehtonen denied his backhand deke attempt.
Fasth came up with another big save at 11:27 to preserve the shutout when he stopped Alex Goligoski’s uncontested wrist shot from the right circle.
The Stars definitely heard some boos during two uneventful third-period power plays from the season’s smallest home crowd of 13,748.
In full desperation mode, Dallas pulled Lehtonen for an extra attacker for the final 1:34, but Selanne hit the empty net from his own blue line with 27.1 seconds left.
“I don’t think it’s good enough,” Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas said. “The first period, we were OK, but we let it slip in the second, we gave them momentum and we couldn’t recover after that.”
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