Hockey
Stars Shutout Anaheim, Lead Series 2-1
By Rudy Martinez
Apr 22, 2014 - 1:27:33 PM

DALLAS—A change of venue helped the Stars break back into playoff contention against the Ducks. Scores from Jamie Benn, Valeri Nichushkin and Ryan Garbutt in each period helped Dallas shutout Anaheim in game 3 of the Western Conference quarterfinal.

 

Having not been in the postseason since 2008, the first game back at American Airlines Arena was one to make sure not to mess up being down 2-0 in the series against the best team in the conference. It began as a tough fight against the Ducks who were looking to sweep the series against their foes from the Lone Star State. Anaheim came out hard in the Stars zone, but the determination to play better on defense came in the opening minutes, where goaltender Kari Lehtonen made big saves with the support of his teammates out front.

 

Midway through, the Stars got on the right side of the puck and charged forward to put pressure on Frederik Andersen on the Ducks netminder of the first round. His attempts were as good as the first two games making a stop in the crease. More could be said about his support that ran close with the Stars as they struggled to gain any ground on sending a clean shot to Andersen. Dallas’ last chance came in the final seconds of the period as Benn scored his second of the series with a snapshot on the glove side to give the Stars the lead. The Ducks outshot them 13-9 through 20 minutes. showing some restraint at letting the game get out of hand.

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Stars forward Ryan Garbutt celebrates goal in 3-0 shutout of Ducks on Monday.

 

The Stars tenacity in the first disappeared in the second, as the Ducks controlled the period, but had trouble keeping an offense above par. They couldn’t find any clean shots to the net and were making bad passes that they somehow got back to control. Anaheim’s first great chance came from Nick Bonino who fired from the stick side of Lehtonen, but couldn’t get any lift as it bounced off the pad for him to make the save. Benn helped take the game back to the Anaheim end where a wrap around chance failed as Andersen closed out the net with the left pad.

 

The Stars wouldn’t go empty handed as they caught a 3 on 2 play, where forward Tyler Seguin backhanded the puck to Nichuchkin, now on his right, where a wrister gave the Stars a 2-0 lead elating the crowd. Though they were still held down on shots to the net, the score was the main figure that looked to be a step in the right direction for Dallas.

 

Fatigue began to show in the strength of both teams, but with a pair of goals by the Stars, a comeback from Anaheim in the current situation was becoming unlikely. The Stars began with possession where a shot destined to find the back of the net was whacked down by the glove of Andersen. He wasn’t allowing anymore cheap goals from the opposition. The fight still kept on in the Ducks zone where Dallas had an eight minute dominance of the game decreasing the speed from the Anaheim defense.

 

Time became the second hurdle that Anaheim wouldn’t be able to knock down, as the offense didn’t follow through inevitably ending in defeat. Their loss was the Stars huge gain as they crowd who hadn’t seen their team play in six years finally got the overdue victory back on home ice. It also became Lehtonen’s first career postseason win and with it being a shutout made it only ten times better. The Finn made a total of 37 saves moving his average to .923 so far.

 

With game 4 scheduled for Wednesday, the chance for the Ducks to make up for the loss will depend on whether mistakes can make figured out as the game play from them was unseen in quite some time. While giving the puck away seven times through regulation the Ducks failed to convert on five power plays. Things were made worse with Devante Smith-Pelly and Patrick Maroon receiving game misconducts late in the third. The fight could be put to better use on offense or might help the Stars even the series.



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