DALLAS -- Ryan Getzlaf's backhand on the Anaheim Ducks' third attempt of the shootout was the clincher as they defeated the Dallas Stars a 2-1 Thursday at American Airlines Center.
Getzlaf's goal, which was scored in almost identical fashion as the one teammate Bobby Ryan put in on the Ducks' first attempt, saw him flip a backhand into the left side of the net to beat Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen.
The Ducks win tonight in Dallas marked their 13th comeback victory of the season - and 11th when their opponent scores first. Both of those win totals are the most by any NHL club through the first 26 games of a season since the 1987-88 NHL campaign. *
Anaheim is now 20-3-3 this season, including five consecutive wins. The Ducks have also recorded points in nine straight (7-0-2) and 15 of the last 16 games (13-1-2). The nine-game streak equals the longest current stretch in the league (also Columbus). In addition to their franchise tying record 11-game home winning streak, the Ducks are also 9-2-3 on the road this season.
Hiller stopped 33 of the 34 shots he faced in regulation and overtime and both shooters in a shootout; Lehtonen stopped all but one of the 30 shots against him.
The Stars created plenty of chances in the first period, including a shot by rookie wing Antoine Roussel at 7:50 that glanced off the left post.
It was a fortunate bounce that helped the Stars break through at 12:35 of the opening period when Whitney scored his third of the season by lifting a backhand into the top of the Ducks' net.
After a shot by Dallas defenseman Alex Goligoski deflected off the right skate of Eriksson, Whitney collected the carom near the left post and scored on an 8-foot backhand on the short side to make it 1-0, his first goal since Jan. 24 against the Chicago Blackhawks. Whitney missed 16 games with a foot injury before returning on Tuesday against the Nashville Predators.
With 59 seconds left in the first, the Stars had a solid opportunity to double their lead when Eriksson had a breakaway against Hiller. However, Hiller stopped a backhand at the right post to keep it 1-0.
Anaheim had a solid chance to tie the game with 21 seconds left in the period when Andrew Cogliano intercepted an Eriksson pass in the slot and drove toward the Dallas net. However, his backhand was off target.
Dallas played its second straight game without first-line center Jamie Benn (wrist). However, captain Brenden Morrow, who missed Tuesday's loss to the Predators with a groin injury, returned and skated on a line with Roussel and Erik Cole.
At 4:25 of the second period, Anaheim's Luca Sbisa and Dallas' Vernon Fiddler dropped the gloves near center ice. Fiddler took exception to Sbisa boarding teammate Ryan Garbutt near the blue line and he and Sbisa quickly squared off. They received matching five-minute fighting majors but Fiddler earned a minor roughing penalty for initiating the scrum.
Things got even more interesting at 5:06 when a wrister by Selanne from the left side struck Lehtonen's right shoulder, leading officials to think the puck might have crossed the goal line. However, following a quick review, officials ruled it was not a goal.
The Ducks did score at 7:28 of the second when Cogliano collected his own rebound for his 10th goal of the year. After receiving a well-placed pass from Peter Holland, Lehtonen denied a 10-foot wrister by Cogliano, but he didn't quit on the play, collecting his rebound at the far post and knocking a backhand in for the equalizer.
A wrister by Roussel at 12:34 of the second struck Hiller in the mask but he was able to secure the puck. And at 11:09, Dallas nearly recaptured the lead when a wrister by Reilly Smith struck both the right post and crossbar before floating away from the Ducks goal. Officials quickly ruled it was no goal in the second review of the period.
With 3:37 left in regulation, the Stars again nearly took the lead. This time it was Jaromir Jagr attempting to one-time a wrister. However, his shot first rifled off the far post then the crossbar but never landed over the goal line, resulting in a no-goal call from the officials. The play was reviewed less than a minute later and the call made on the ice was upheld.
Dallas had several chances in overtime with Brenden Dillon and Jagr delivering shots which forced Hiller to make a pad save. Cody Eakin had two strong opportunities at the game-winner but his wrister was stopped by Hiller with five seconds left and his backhand on the ensuing rebound sailed wide.
The teams return to the ice Saturday with Anaheim visiting the St. Louis Blues; Dallas will continue a four-game homestand against Chicago.
* Statistical data from Stats, Inc. goes back to the 1987-88 season.
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