|The Dallas Stars began their West Coast swing against the Edmonton Oilers, a team that they had faced just three games earlier in a heated affair at the American Airlines Center. Dallas looked to take their road winning streak to eight games if they could get a victory at the Rexall Place.
Past the midway point of the first period, Adam Burish worked the puck along the boards and found an open Jamie Benn who made a nifty move to beat Nikolai Khabibulan to record his thirteenth goal of the season. Not long after, Ryan Jones converted a short-handed goal for the Oilers to even things at 1-1. Mike Ribeiro regained the Stars' lead in the second period before Benn set up James Neal for a one-timer power-play goal to give Dallas a 3-1 advantage. Edmonton's Jeff Petry was able to score his first career NHL goal before the second intermission.
The teams kept fighting it out but Burish scored an empty-netter just before the end of game siren, his sixth of the season. Kari Lehtonen had a strong performance in net, making 30 saves. Head coach Marc Crawford gave his net-minder special praise post-game. "Kari was very good tonight, especially when we needed him to be. We weren't very good in the first period tonight and the Oilers were. They had a number of chances and he was equal to the task," he said.
Next up for the Stars was a meeting at the Scotiabank Saddledome to face off against the Calgary Flames. Eventually, something had to give as Dallas finally surrendered their impressive road winning streak. Andrew Raycroft was given the goaltending duties in place of Lehtonen and gave up seven goals on just nineteen shots against.
The game looked to be an even contest as the teams exchanged two goals apiece in the first period. Brenden Morrow and Brad Richards each found their nineteenth goals of the year with Ribeiro contributing assists on both tallies. Ribeiro would later add a third assist to take his total to thirty-four. The floodgates opened in the second period as the Flames racked up three goals before Nicklas Grossman found his first goal of the season and gave the Stars a glimmer of hope going into the second intermission.
Grossman and Langenbrunner celebrate Grossman's first of the season in Calgary.
Early in the third period, Jamie Langenbrunner rushed down ice and hit the post before an opportunistic Neal shoved in the rebound for his twentieth goal of the season. It was Langenbrunner's eleventh assist as Richards found his thirty-seventh helper. Any chance of a Stars' comeback was halted by Jarome Iginla who made a superb individual effort to increase the Flames lead, before a David Moss power-play goal capped a 7-4 win for Calgary. On a positive note, defenseman Matt Niskanen returned to the Stars' lineup after missing the previous six games with a hand laceration.
The Rogers Arena in Vancouver was the setting for a night Stars' fans would like to forget. The Canucks unloaded 36 shots on net leaving Lehtonen helpless before giving way to Raycroft. Vancouver put 7 goals past the Finnish net-minder while Dallas couldn't take advantage of any of their four power-play opportunities. Richards was the only Dallas Star to end up on the score-sheet in the 7-1 Canucks' rout. All-Star winger Loui Eriksson made his return to the Stars' lineup that evening.
The Stars couldn't find a way to stop the Canucks in Vancouver, losing 7-1.
Back home at the American Airlines Center, Dallas faced a familiar opponent in the Oilers. Burish uncorked a rifle shot past Khabibulan to give the Stars the lone goal of the opening period. It was his seventh goal of the year as Ribeiro picked up the first of two assists of the night. Shortly into the second period, Morrow scored on the power-play as Langenbrunner picked up the primary assist. Soon after, Morrow added another to take his goal tally to twenty-one on the season. Langenbrunner was the architect of both goals as he brought his assist total to thirteen, while Ribeiro took his to thirty-six.
The Oilers' Dustin Penner later scored on the power-play before the close of the second period, bringing the score to 3-1. The Stars held on and shut down Edmonton, keeping them off the scoreboard for the third period. Lehtonen stood tall in net making 34 of 35 saves. Center Travis Morin, a 27-year old Minneapolis native, was called up from Texas of the AHL and made his NHL debut.
Grossman, Morrow, Langenbrunner, Ribeiro and Robidas celebrate after a goal against the Oilers.
Lehtonen spoke post-game. "It was a good effort. Everybody was trying hard and we ended up getting the win. We just tried to help each other out, and I think it was pretty evident. It was nice to see," he explained.
"We wanted to have a good feeling going into the break, and we didn't want to be thinking about three losses in a row for the next five days," captain Morrow added.