Missed opportunities costly as Stars fall to Ducks

The Dallas Stars had their chances Tuesday night in Anaheim, but they couldn’t capitalize and it proved costly in a 5-2 loss to the Ducks at Honda Center.

“We’ve got to capitalize on our opportunities,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “We did have some opportunities early and especially in another team’s building if you get a chance you’ve got to make good on it. That’s the key. I didn’t mind our defensive game and structure, but at the end of the day you’ve got to get points.”

The loss snapped a two-game winning streak for the Stars, who hit the midway point of the season with a 23-17-1 record. They currently rank ninth in the Western Conference in points with 47 and are two points behind eighth place Los Angeles. They are in eighth place in the West based on points percentage.

The Stars fell behind 1-0 Tuesday night when Saku Koivu, who scored three goals for Anaheim, tipped a Toni Lydman shot past Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen 1:30 into the game.

After that, the Stars dominated the first period and had several chances. Jamie Benn hit the post with Dallas on a power play. Ducks goalie Jeff Deslauriers, called up from the AHL due to injuries to Jonas Hiller and Dan Ellis, stopped back-to-back quality bids by Michael Ryder. Nicklas Grossman hit a post. Benn had an open side of the net, but couldn’t get a shot off.

“Capitalizing on your chances is the key,” said Gulutzan. “I think we hit four posts in the first period. “Maybe if one of those goes maybe we’re not chasing the game.”

The Ducks extended the lead to 2-0 midway through the second period when defenseman Luca Sbisa fired a shot from the left board that flew into the net over Lehtonen’s shoulder.

The Stars scored two goals 1:04 apart early in the third period to tie the game, but the Ducks called a timeout and then took control of play after that and scored three unanswered goals.

After the puck slipped under the stick of Benn in the Anaheim zone, Teemu Selanne gathered it up in the neutral zone, raced into the Dallas zone and dropped the it to Koivu, who drove the net and scored on a backhand shot to put Anaheim 3-2 at 9:32 of the third.

Matt Beleskey scored off the rebound of a Andrew Cogliano shot with Anaheim on an odd-man rush to give the Ducks a 4-2 lead with 5:20 left in the game.

Koivu rounded out the scoring with an empty-net goal, giving him the hat trick and sealing the Ducks’ third straight win.

“We stuck with the game plan and you saw the result early in the third. They called a timeout and came at us pretty strong and put a lot of pressure on us,” said Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas. “There were a few breakdowns and that’s what happened. I think we played a pretty good game for the first two periods and early in the third, but after that they just took over.”

Notes: Ribeiro day-to-day with knee injury

*Stars center Mike Ribeiro, who missed Tuesday’s game with a knee injury, is listed as day-to-day. An MRI revealed Ribeiro has a slight MCL tear. He is not expected to play Thursday against Los Angeles.

*Stars defenseman Sheldon Souray returned to the lineup after missing six games with an ankle injury. He logged 14:14 of ice time in the game.

*Stars forward Jamie Benn missed a few shifts in the second period after needing some stitches over his left eye.

*The Stars were 3-3 on the penalty kill and are now 13-13 over the last six games.

*The Stars were 0-3 on the power play and are now 2-27 (7.4%) over the last nine games.

*Toby Petersen and Jordie Benn were healthy scratches for the Stars. Ribeiro, Philip Larsen and Tomas Vincour are out with injuries.