Recap: Stars Stop Red Wings

The Dallas Stars, powered by a three-goal second period, defeated the visiting Detroit Red Wings 5-2 Thursday night.

Afterward, Stars captain Jamie Benn summed up the contest perfectly. “We did what we had to do to get two points,” said Benn. “Our goalie played an unbelievable game, kept us in it early, and we got some pretty good penalty killing early, too. I know they scored on the five-on-three, but it was kind of a lucky bounce and a good play, but like I said, we did what we had to do to get the win.”

Antti Niemi not only kept his team in the game early, but he also protected Dallas’s two-goal lead throughout Detroit’s 16-shot third-period onslaught.

“He played fabulous. Three or four highlight-reel saves for us,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff of Niemi, who finished the night with 31 saves, including big third-period stops on Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou and Nick Jensen.

The victory, the Stars’ first home win over Detroit since October 2010, earned Dallas a much-needed two points. With the teams immediately ahead of them in the standings all earning at least a point Thursday, the Stars kept up the pace in the race for a playoff spot. For the visitors, the loss marked another missed opportunity, another step toward missing the postseason for the first time since 1990.

First Period

Though the home team was battling jet lag after two West Coast games earlier this week, it was the visitors who looked rather out of sorts early. The Stars took advantage just 3:39 into the period, when Lauri Korpikoski redirected a Jordie Benn shot from the blue line past Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek.

After taking the lead, Dallas proceeded to give the NHL’s worst road power play multiple opportunities to even the score. The Stars killed off penalties to Cody Eakin and Brett Ritchie before getting whistled for too many men. Seven seconds into the Wings’ third power play, Radek Faksa was called for high-sticking. Detroit needed just 59 seconds of five-on-three time to tie the game.

The game wasn’t tied for long, however: 93 seconds later, Detroit winger Anthony Mantha forced a turnover below the Dallas goal line. Gustav Nyquist fed Henrik Zetterberg in the low slot, and the Red Wings’ captain didn’t miss.

Detroit carried a 2-1 lead on the scoreboard and an 11-4 lead in shots into the dressing room at the end of one.

Second Period

One can only guess what was said in the Dallas dressing room after the first period. Whatever the message was, the team received it clearly.

The Stars began the second period with purpose. Just 47 seconds in, they earned their first power play of the night, as Mantha went off for boarding Esa Lindell. The power play proved pointless, but Dallas scored less than a minute after it ended when Ritchie tipped in Faksa’s shot from the left point.

Though the score remained tied for much of the period following Ritchie’s goal, Dallas applied pressure throughout. Mrazek and luck combined to keep Detroit in the game against the swarming Stars, while at the other end of the ice, Antti Niemi only had to make one big stop on a charging Athanasiou to keep the game level.

With just over four minutes remaining in the period, Dallas’s Devin Shore cut to the net and was stoned by Mrazek. John Klingberg poked in the loose puck to give the Stars a 3-2 lead.

Dallas continued to press the attack. Less than a minute later, Stephen Johns took a shot from the right half-wall. The puck went off Red Wings defender Jonathan Ericsson’s stick and into the net, extending the Stars’ lead.

Shots were 17-16 Detroit after forty minutes.


Third Period

The Red Wings opened the third period with energy and never let up, outshooting the Stars 16-5 over the final 20 minutes.

Nursing a two-goal lead, Dallas seemed content to collapse into a defensive shell and focus on keeping the puck on the perimeter in the defensive zone. Detroit penetrated the Stars’ defense several times, but couldn’t get past Niemi. The Finnish netminder came up big for Dallas, making several key stops to frustrate the visitors.

Detroit coach Jeff Blashill brought Mrazek to the bench for an extra attacker with 3:28 remaining, but Dallas tightened up defensively and denied the Wings at every turn. With just over a minute remaining, ex-Red Wing Patrick Eaves found the empty net from his own blue line to put the game away.


Scoring Summary


DAL – Lauri Korpikoski (6) assisted by Jordie Benn (10) and Patrick Sharp (5)

DET – Gustav Nyquist (5) (PPG) assisted by Thomas Vanek (17) and Henrik Zetterberg (22)

DET – Henrik Zetterberg (8) assisted by Gustav Nyquist (15) and Anthony Mantha (9)


DAL – Brett Ritchie (9) assisted by Radek Faksa (13)

DAL – John Klingberg (6) assisted by Devin Shore (10)

DAL – Stephen Johns (4) assisted by Johnny Oduya (6) and Jason Spezza (19)


DAL – Patrick Eaves (15) (ENG)

THW Three Stars

First: Antti Niemi (31 saves)

Second: John Klingberg (1 goal)

Third: Gustav Nyquist (1 goal, 1 assist)


Minnesota Wild at Dallas Stars

American Airlines Center  7:00 p.m. CST on Saturday, Jan. 14

Broadcast channels: FS-SW, FS-N, FS-WI

2016-17 Season Series: Oct. 29 – Wild 4, Stars 0

Nov. 21 – Stars 3, Wild 2 (OT)

Pittsburgh Penguins at Detroit Red Wings

Joe Louis Arena  7:00 p.m. EST on Saturday, Jan. 14

Broadcast channels: NHLN-US, FS-D, ROOT

2016-17 Season Series: Dec. 3 – Penguins 5, Red Wings 3