This weekend’s games in Anaheim and Los Angeles were seen as big tests for the Dallas Stars and they passed the first one, winning 3-1 in Anaheim behind 35 saves from Kari Lehtonen and two goals and one assist from Loui Eriksson.
Mike Ribeiro also scored and Jamie Benn chipped in two assists for the Stars, who won their fifth straight game and improved to 6-1-0 on the season. The 6-1-0 record ties the franchise mark for best record after seven games, equaling the record set in 1996-97 and 2006-07.
"Every point we get is huge. Early in the season we've got to take advantage of that,” said Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas. “We've got to make sure we are ready to play every night. We're rolling four lines and six D and we're just trying to get on top of things right now."
The Stars were outshot 36-19, but they used a familiar formula to pick up two points: Lehtonen made the saves and the guys in front of him made the most of their chances.
“Kari is doing such a good job in net for us, making some really key saves,” said Eriksson, who has five goals in the last five games. “That’s always nice to have that confidence in him and then score on the opportunities that we get.”
The Stars got off to a quick start, scoring on their first shot just 13 seconds into the game. After Steve Ott dumped the puck into the Anaheim zone, Eriksson got to the puck, backhanded it on net from a sharp angle and the puck got past Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller.
“We came out pretty good on that first goal there, putting it on the net. We got a bounce,” said Gulutzan. “That’s important on the road. That gave us a little energy.”
The Stars extended the lead to 2-0 at the 7:40 mark when Ribeiro dropped the puck to Alex Goligoski with Dallas on the rush, went to the net and scored on the rebound after Goligoski put a shot on goal from the high slot.
The Ducks controlled the second period. They had a power play goal waved off 4:17 into the period when Corey Perry was penalized for goaltender interference. They did finally score with a tenth of a second left when Perry whipped the puck into the net after a Cam Fowler shot rebounded off the endboards with the Ducks on a power play.
But the Stars got their two-goal lead back early in the third when Benn got to a puck behind the Anaheim net and centered it to Eriksson, who scored from the top of the crease at 1:42 of the period to put the Stars up 3-1.
Lehtonen and the Stars shut it down the rest of the way.
“I thought today was a little bit of a step forward as far as the way we want to play and what we need to do to put ourselves in position to have success,” said Gulutzan. “It’s a process and we’re getting better and better, but we’ve still got a ways to go.”
*Goaltender Kari Lehtonen’s six-game winning streak to start the season is the longest in team history since 1993-94.
*Steve Ott ran his points streak to six games (two goals, four assists).
*Loui Eriksson ran his points streak to five games (five goals, two assists)
*Jamie Benn ran his points streak to three games (one goal, four assists)