The Dallas Stars finished the last 30 minutes against the Ottawa Senators out-gunned and on their heels Sunday afternoon, but escaped with a 4-3 win thanks to the customary brilliance of Kari Lehtonen, a shootout goal from Jamie Benn, and the first goals of the season for Antoine Roussel, Valeri Nichushkin and Ray Whitney.
They now have collected points in five of their last six games, 8 of the 12 available to them in that stretch, good for a .667 pace. The two road wins in the group came against the Eastern Conference, as so many points in the West's favor have this season.
The game itself was disjointed and sloppy.
A noon start (Central time) led to what Razor likes to call "unvarnished" play. The team's traded poor defense and odd-man rushes for much of the afternoon en route to a 38-36 shot advantage for the Stars and Kari Lehtonen pulled their feet out of the fire repeatedly, as he always must if they're to collect points.
Ray Whitney opened the scoring with his first goal of the season in the late stages of the opening frame with a blistering slap shot from the right wing that beat Anderson short side to give Dallas the 1-0 lead.
Dallas out-shot the Senators 19-9 in the first, then made it 2-0 when Valeri Nichushkin scored his first NHL goal just 30 seconds in to the second period on a beautiful wrist shot from the high slot set up by Cody Eakin and Brenden Dillon on a rush.
The Stars out-shot them 29-24 at even strength overall, but the Senators made up for it on special teams and that's where the game nearly turned.
With a 2-0 lead and a four-minute power play on which to put it away, as it were, the Stars did nothing but surrender shorthanded opportunities. Shortly after Erik Karlsson scored to cut the lead in half and then the ice seemingly tilted in Lehtonen's direction before Jason Spezza tied things at 16:40 of the second.
The Senators power play did come through when they needed it.
Unfortunately for them they'd score again early in the third, and it wasn't on Kari Lehtonen. Antoine Roussel was given credit for the Stars' third goal of the afternoon when his pass in front was batted away by Mark Borowiecki and right past his own goaltender.
A lucky break to be sure, but the Senators kept coming and the Stars had just five shots in the period (including the one they didn't really take leading to the goal). 10 seconds away from victory the puck popped free in the slot and who else, Bobby Ryan, slammed it home to send it to overtime.
Val Nichushkin pulled some jaw-dropping moves in the extra period on a rush to the net that nearly scored the game-winner but inadvertently kneed goaltender Craig Anderson in the head in the process, halting the game in a scary scene that saw the Ottawa keeper taken off on a stretcher with an apparent head or neck injury.
Robin Lehner came in two make two stops in relief and the only player to score in the shootout was Jamie Benn, securing a tenuous victory for Dallas after blowing a 2-0 lead halfway through the game.
It's off to Boston now for Tyler Seguin's first game back after the Bruins sent him to Dallas. Loui Eriksson is skating but is not expected to participate. Today's win was the first of a seven road games in nine overall stretch.