Sunday, March 3, 2013
Dallas Stars 4, St. Louis Blues 1
Stars get back in the playoff hunt with solid team effort.
DALLAS The Dallas Stars' defense and goaltending finally showed up Sunday afternoon at the American Airlines Center, as they defeated the St. Louis Blues 4-1. The win snapped a three game streak of surrendering four or more goals and improved them to 11-9-2. The Blues fell to 11-8-2.
The Stars appeared to be headed to another defensive catastrophe early on, when the Blues' David Perron made a slick move to slide one past Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen at 4:20 of the first period. It was Perron's seventh goal of the season, four of which have come in two games against the Stars.
Immediately after the goal Stars surprising sparkplug Antoine Roussel engaged in a fight with Chris Stewart which seemed to wake the moribund Stars up. Roussel's second line responded with two quick goals off of Blues turnovers in their own zone, the first coming 15:59 when Roussel and Derek Roy played keepaway with the puck as they streaked toward the net, with Roussel finally dishing it off to new addition Erik Cole for his first goal as a Dallas Star and a 1-1 game.
That line struck again at 18:20, when Roy intercepted a weak clearing attempt, fought his way toward the net and wristed a shot that somehow escaped struggling Blues netminder Brian Elliott for Roy's third of the season and a 2-1 lead.
Neither team scored in the second period, but things picked up in the third. Shortly after a Blues goal was disallowed for a questionably-called kicking motion, the Stars got an insurance goal when rookie Jordie Benn deked out a Blues defender, skated down the left side and got a cross-ice pass to Loui Eriksson. Eriksson whiffed on the shot, but got just enough to fool Elliott for his seventh of the season and a 3-1 lead.
The Blues came on strong in the final minutes, pulling Elliot with nearly three minutes still remaining, but Perron was called for a hooking penalty on Jamie Benn. Dallas converted when Roy got the puck behind the net and launched a no-look backhand pass to Jaromir Jagr, who potted his seventh for the 3-1 final score.
Lehtonen was excellent following the debacle in Edmonton, stopping 25 of 26 shots to improve to 8-3-1. Elliott's goaltending problems continued, with the struggling netminder making just 23 saves on 27 shots.
Dallas next plays Thursday night at the AAC in their first game against the 2012 Stanley Cup champs, the 10-7-2 Los Angeles Kings.