Stars rebound with victory over Blues
DALLAS -- After a disappointing 5-1 home loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night, the Dallas Stars were intent on finishing a two-game homestand on a high note.
The Stars rolled to a 4-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Sunday at American Airlines Center before 16,633 fans.
"I think after the [Erik] Cole goal, we kind of got our mojo, got a little better in the first and carried it over to the second and third," Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan said. "We did simple things. We got pucks to the net and we didn't take penalties."
Dallas got a goal and two assists from Derek Roy. Cole scored his first goal for the Stars since coming over in a trade with Montreal on Tuesday, and Loui Eriksson and Jaromir Jagr added third-period goals.
"We wanted to come out strong right away," Roy said. "We know we have a lot of games in March and we want to make hay at home and get wins. We didn't start out the way we wanted to, but we battled back and got some good turnovers, we worked hard and moved our feet, we threw pucks to the net, got good bounces and some good plays."
Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen stopped 25 of the 26 shots he faced for his eighth win of the season.
"Solid," was how Gulutzan described Lehtonen's performance. "He didn't have to hang on a tightrope, and he shouldn't have to. I thought he was solid and gave us a shot to win."
The Blues struck first, taking a 1-0 lead when David Perron, who had two goals in a 4-3 win over the Stars in Dallas on Jan. 26, scored his seventh of the year just 4:20 into the game. After Dallas center Jamie Benn turned the puck over in his own end, Perron got the puck from David Backes, drew Lehtonen off the line and was able to tuck a two-foot wrister into the left side of the net.
But Perron's goal was the lone highlight for the Blues, who started a five-game road trip off in disappointing fashion.
"We had too many average performances. What can you say? Too many average performances doesn't get it done on the road," Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock said.
The Stars answered with Cole knocking in a 15-foot wrister at 15:59 for the equalizer. After St. Louis had two separate giveaways in its own zone, Antoine Roussel fed Cole by dropping the puck back, and he converted in the low slot to make it 1-1.
With 1:40 remaining before the first intermission, Dallas took the lead for good when Roy collected a bad pass from the Blues' T.J. Oshie on the left boards, dashed toward the visiting goal and scored his third of the season when a 33-foot wrister slipped past St. Louis goaltender Brian Elliott, giving Dallas a two-goal edge.
St. Louis looked like it might have tied the score at 2 at 8:59 of the third period, but Blues rookie Adam Cracknell was ruled to have kicked the puck into the Dallas net. After a quick review, officials determined it was not a goal and the score remained 2-1.
"The league told us that the league ruled on it and they said the goal was conclusive that it wasn't a goal from upstairs," Hitchcock said.
Eriksson's seventh goal of the season, a 20-foot wrister from the edge of the right faceoff circle that beat Elliott through the five-hole, made it 3-1. Jordie Benn got the primary assist with a well-placed cross-ice pass to Eriksson. Even though the Dallas winger didn't strike the puck cleanly, it was still enough to sail under Elliott's pads.
Jagr then made it a 4-1 final when he knocked an 18-foot snap by Elliott just one minute before the final horn. Roy picked up the primary assist, capping a three-point day. Eriksson also assisted to cap his two-point performance.
Elliott, who was making his first start since Feb. 11, stopped just 23 of the 27 shots he faced in his sixth straight loss of the season.
"I thought he rebounded well there," Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said of Elliott's performance in the loss. "He came back in the second and third and he was the reason why we had a chance to win. I think he did a good job coming off a long break there."
Both teams return to the ice later in the week against the Kings. St. Louis will visit the Staples Center on Tuesday and Dallas will face the reigning Stanley Cup champions on Thursday.
NOTES: Blues right winger Jamie Langenbrunner, a member of the Stars' 1999 Stanley Cup championship team, was honored before the game for being a member of the Stars' 20th Anniversary Team. ... Gulutzan shuffled his lines, moving wing Eriksson up to the first line from the second line. Cole, who made his Dallas debut on Thursday, moved up to the second line from the third line while Stars captain Brenden Morrow, who had been a fixture in the second grouping, dropped down to the third line. ... With his first-period goal on Sunday, Perron now has three goals in two games against Dallas this season. Perron also had two goals in a 4-3 win over the Stars in Dallas on Jan. 26. ... Roy's unassisted goal late in the opening period was his third of the season but first at home. Roy joined Dallas during the offseason from Buffalo in a trade for Steve Ott.
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