ANAHEIM – In a battle of two of the NHL's fastest starters, the Dallas Stars left little doubt which team would remain hotter.
Behind the play of equally sizzling goalie Kari Lehtonen, the Stars knocked off the Ducks 3-1 for their fifth straight win, snapping a four-game Anaheim winning streak. Lehtonen, one of the top goalies in the league so far this season, had 35 saves as the Stars held onto the top spot in the Pacific Division at 6-1-0.
Dallas scored just 14 seconds into the game, and things didn't get a whole lot better for the Ducks on the night, as they fell to 4-2-0. Anaheim outshot Dallas 36-19, but a Corey Perry goal at the very end of the second period was the only damage they would do. Dallas was outshot 40-18 in a 3-2 win in Columbus three nights ago and has been outshot 170-119 during their streak.
"We have to be ready to play," said Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf. "I don’t know what it was, but the last couple of days in practice it wasn’t where we needed to be. We didn’t do a very good job in our locker room here to get ready. That is on us. It’s our responsibility to be ready for the hockey game."
Things went bad right at the start of a sluggish first period for the Ducks, who went down 1-0 on a Loui Eriksson goal just 13 seconds after the opening draw. Eriksson chased down a puck that caromed off the back wall and backhanded from a low angle on net, where it kicked off Jonas Hiller’s leg pad and got behind him.
"I think it went off our defenseman’s skate or stick," Hiller said. "It was a bad bounce. We just weren’t focused enough at the beginning of the game. The game starts when the puck drops. For us, a good start is crucial."
Dallas doubled the lead at 7:40 off a Ducks turnover at center ice, when a Alex Goligoski point shot dribbled into the crease, where Mike Ribeiro tipped it in with just the right hand on the stick.
"The very first shift of the game, the puck deflects off our defenseman. The second one deflects off our defenseman, so we were in for one of those nights," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. "But I really felt when we got back to 2-1 that we’d be okay for the third period. Then, they scored early in the third period and we didn’t have much left."
Anaheim turned the tables in a dominant second, outshooting the Stars 12-5, having one goal waved off and finally getting one to count at the absolute last moment of the period. Perry cut the Dallas lead in half on the power play, when a Cam Fowler shot from the high slot bounced off the end boards in front, where Perry slung it through. Replay reviews showed the puck crossed the stripe with just one tenth of a second on the clock.
Earlier in the period, Fowler and Perry were involved in an apparent goal that was called off, as officials ruled that Perry interfered with Lehtonen as Fowler’s shot went through.
Dallas killed any momentum Perry’s late goal might have provided on another Eriksson strike just 1:42 into the third period. Another Ducks giveaway was followed by Jamie Benn backhanding the puck from the corner in front, where Eriksson one-timed it home for his second of the game.
The Ducks battled to get back into the game, but couldn’t get any of their 14 third-period shots past Lehtonen, who improved to 6-0-0, best in the NHL.
"We came out pretty flat," Getzlaf said. "You can’t do that against a good hockey club and it obviously cost us tonight. We still have a lot of good things going here. We had won four in a row. We dropped one tonight and have to get a big win on Sunday [against Phoenix at Honda Center]."
20:00 - Dallas clears it down the ice to clinch the 3-2 victory.
19:53 - DAL Penalty - Niklas Grossman, w min. boarding. Perry gets thrown face first into the wall by Grossman as he battles around the net, and Perry is not happy. He manages to avoid getting a penalty of his own.
19:38 - Selanne tries a wraparound, but no go.
19:23 - Dallas ices it with 36.5 left. Ducks need a miracle.
19:00 - Hiller to the bench.
18:20 - Macenauer with a nice touch pass to Koivu, who fires off Lehtonen's shoulder.
17:10 - Lehtonen again in perfect position to deny Fowler. He's tough tonight, and Dallas finishes off a big kill.
16:38 - Lehtonen blocks a Getzlaf try and keeps Perry from poking in a temporarily loose puck.
16:15 - Getzlaf with a nice feed to Visnovsky, but his shot is wide of an open net.
15:06 - DAL Penalty - Niklas Grossman, 2 min. interference. Crunch time for the Ducks.
13:06 - Ducks swat away in the crease, but Lehtonen stays put and covers.
12:00 - Beleskey on the third line with Cogliano and Smith-Pelly now. He's been in more lines tonight than a kid at Disneyland.
10:55 - Timeout with 9:05 left. Ducks have to get things going.
6:35 - Ryan, playing on the second line, comes from behind the net and slings a shot wide.
5:30 - Beleskey playing with Perry and Getzlaf right now.
1:42 - DALLAS GOAL - LOUI ERIKSSON - Eriksson gets his second of the game after another Ducks turnover, as Benn backhands the puck in front from the corner and Erikkson is left alone to one-time it under Hiller's glove. It's 3-1. That one hurt.
0:00 - Off and running in what promises to be an entertaining third.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - A much better second for the Ducks includes one goal waved off and another that just barely counts. It's 2-1 Dallas going into the third.
19:59 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - COREY PERRY - Fowler's slap shot from the ladies tees flies over the net, but it comes off the back wall in front, where Visnovsky swings at it and misses. But Perry is also there to throw it into the back of the net as Lehtonen scrambles. Replay review shows the puck crossed the stripe with literally 0.1 remaining on the clock. It's a good goal and an absolutely huge one for the Ducks, who cut the lead to 2-1.
19:08 - DAL Penalty - Jamie Benn, 2 min. hooking. Perry gets the call he's been looking for when Benn hooks the stick nearly out of Perry's hands. Ducks finish the period on the PP.
18:05 - Koivu gets loose in the slot off a Gordon feed, but his shot is tipped away.
14:39 - Ducks outshooting Dallas 20-10 for the game, 10-3 in the period. It's all Lehtonen so far tonight.
11:40 - Perry gets tripped behind the net by Burish away from the play. No call.
10:00 - Lehtonen looking very good tonight. He's never gonna let a goal in. Never. You hear that, hockey gods?
8:15 - Macenauer gets a burst of speed on the right wing and flings a backhander on net that is shooed away by Lehtonen. The Ducks are outshooting Dallas 18-8, but still trail 2-0 on the scoreboard.
7:23 - The Ducks are unable to cash in, as all of the penalties come off the board at Honda Center.
6:05 - Selanne gets free in the slot and takes two cracks at Lehtonen that are denied.
5:23 - DAL Penalty - Sheldon Souray, 2 min. holding. Bobby Ryan gets free to the left of the net, but Souray hangs on to him in the process.
4:17 - ANA Penalty - Corey Perry, 2 min. goaltender interference. An apparent power play goal by Cam Fowler is waved off, as Perry gets called for interfering with Lehtonen. Crowd is not liking this call at all.
3:38 - DAL Penalty - Trevor Daley, 2 min. tripping.
1:05 - Visnovsky fires a slap shot that rings the far post with Perry in front.
0:00 - Here we go in the second.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - A rough opening 20 minutes for the Ducks results in a 2-0 Dallas lead.
19:10 - Koivu with a one-timer that Lehtonen knocks away. Ducks attacking a little more in the second part of this period.
18:45 - Perry gets tangled with a Star back in the Dallas end. Crowd wanted a call.
15:59 - Ryan takes the puck away in the Dallas end and drops to Getzlaf, who fires into Lehtonen's gut.
14:30 - Cogliano gets a nice cross-ice feed on the rush from Macenauer, but Lehtonen doesn't let one in.
13:45 - A Dallas slap shot is blocked by a sliding ... Mike Ribeiro ... of Dallas. That's not usually how it happens. Crowd seems to like it.
12:41 - ANA Penalty - Luca Sbisa, 2 min. tripping. Sbisa goes for the hip check on Nystrom, but he trips over Sbisa's stick. Or maybe not.
10:15 - Getzlaf rips a slap shot, knocked down in front. Ducks trying to get something going.
7:40 - DALLAS GOAL - MIKE RIBEIRO - Ducks turn it over again and the Stars transition in a hurry, with Ribeiro feeding Goligoski for a one-timer that Hiller stops, but it sneaks behind him into the paint. Ribeiro is on the spot to tip it in with only the right hand on the stick. It's 2-0 and this place has gotten very quiet. That's 10 goals and 39 points in 38 games vs. Anaheim for Ribeiro.
6:45 - Visnovsky with a rocketed one-timer, trying to repeat his hat trick from last year.
5:03 - A little pushing and shoving after the whistle, but not much else.
3:46 - Lydman with the shot, and it's deflected in front into Lehtonen's feet.
1:35 - Dallas threatens to make it 2-0 when Benn sneaks behind the Lydman into a breakaway, but Hiller makes a huge glove stop to knock it away. That might turn out to be the save of the game.
0:13 - DALLAS GOAL - LOUI ERIKSSON - Just 13 seconds after the opening draw, Eriksson chases down a puck that came off the back wall and backhands it on net from the extended goal line. Somehow it hits Hiller in the leg pad and it's behind him. It's 1-0 like that. First time the Ducks have trailed at home this season.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center.
7:07 p.m. - Dawn Wright, one of the few singers whose name is in lyrics, belts out another anthem.
Ducks start out with that adjusted second line of Selanne, Koivu and McMillan. Starters in bold/italics.