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Dallas Stars win in shootout 3-2

It's becoming a troubling trend: the Dallas Stars heading into overtime and shootout in order to secure a victory. In nince of the past 14 games the Stars have played an extra frame was needed to name a victor. While the Stars are 6-0-3 in those games, the extra point given away to the opposition could come back to haunt them later in the season as they push for a playoff spot.

It was an up and down afternoon as both teams struggled to find a rhythm for most of the game. The Stars were able to maintain a strong forecheck and presence in the offensive zone but Kings goaltender Erik Ersberg was outstanding and allowed his team to stay in the game. Dallas outshot the Kings 23-13 through two periods yet both teams were scoreless heading into the third frame.

Stars nemesis Dustin Brown put L.A. ahead 1-0 off a cross-crease pass during a rush into the zone. Marty Turco had time to slide across yet made his move to soon and Brown was able to slip the puck under a sprawling Turco.

Jere Lehtinen then tied the game with 8:31 remaining in the third with a great individual play up the middle of the ice. Receiving a nifty tip-pass from Mike Ribeiro he bowled through several Kings defenders and fought his way to the front of the net. Off-balance and with the puck at his feet he deftly flicked the puck at the net and past Ersberg.

The game seemed destined for overtime until Mike Ribeiro tipped in a Daryl Sydor shot with 1:12 remaning. The goal ended a series of strong forechecking shifts by the Stars, mainly by a rambunctious and energetic fourth line of Krys Barch, Mark Parrish and Brian Sutherby.

Steve Ott got into a heated shoving match with Kings defensemen Jack Johnson which led to a 4 on 4 situation for the remainder of regulation. The Kings pulled the goalie and with the ensuing man advantage tied the game up just 17 seconds away from a Stars win. Anze Kopitar swept a pass through the crease and past Turco who was unable to get across in time to block the shot from Alexander Frolov.

With neither team able to score in overtime the Stars once again had to rely on their shootout skills to secure the two points. Mike Ribeiro scored the only goal in the second round with Turco stopping all three Kings players during the shootout, including a tantalizing glove save on Dustin Brown.

The Stars (45 pts) are now two points back of Minnesota for eighth place in the Western Conference with three games in hand on seventh place Anaheim (49 pts.

Random notes:

>The Stars were 0 for 3 on the power play yet were successful in killing off all four Kings power play opportunities.

>Dallas once again had trouble clearing space in front of Marty Turco and several players were caught out of position in the defensive zone. This directly led to the tying goal with under a minute remaining as Stephane Robidas and Lehtinen were crossed up covering the same player.

>Marty Turco was excellent in the third period, stopping several point blank opportunities. He was much more calm and sure footed than Thursday night and rarely was out of position in net. he was tentative moving the puck and took a (barely) delay of game penalty for playing the puck inside the trapezoid.

BW's three stars of the game:

Jere Lehtinen: Helped spark a listless team and scored the tying goal in the third period off a great individual play. Had a goal and assist and led the team with six shots on net.

Alexander Frolov: Tied the game with under a minute remaining and was a nuisance to Stars defensemen all afternoon.

Mike Ribeiro: Had several great scoring chances and made a nifty deflection in the third period on the go-ahead goal. Consistently put the puck on net and scored the only goal in the shootout to get the Stars the win.

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