Despite putting on one of the most energized and impassioned performances of the season, the Dallas Stars fell to the Pacific Division-leading Anaheim Ducks 2-1 in a game of desperation that mimicked a first round game in the playoffs.
The Stars started the game with an intensity not shown thus far in the season. Consistent and unrelenting pressure in the attacking zone provided the Stars with numerous goal-scoring opportunities, many of which were painfully close to crossing the goal line.
In his second game back from an injury to the foot in February, Ray Whitney sailed a loose and bumbling puck over the shoulder of Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller eight minutes into the game. Two minutes later the Stars went on the first power play of the night off a hooking penalty by now-Duck Sheldon Souray. The man-up-advantage wouldn’t prove to be successful, despite another four opportunities.
Dallas’ Vernon Fiddler and Anaheim’s Luca Spisa launched into a brawl only four minutes into the second period. Fiddler was also called for roughing and sat an additional two minutes in the box. The first of four video reviews came off a shot by Teemu Selanne that jumped off Lehtonen’s arm.
Three minutes later, Anaheim’s Andrew Cogliano scored off his own rebound in front of a sprawled Kari Lehtonen. Derek Roy was denied a clean goal by a hurried referee’s whistle that came just seconds before he could capitalize on a rebound in front of Hiller. It was the first of three near-goals for the Stars. Second later, Reilly Smith was denied a goal by review, bouncing a puck of the goal post that ricocheted in a near-straight line behind Hiller.
The final video review of the game came with three minutes remaining in the game off a shot by Jaromir Jagr that mimicked the earlier shot of Smith. Though an overhead view of the shot was not available for review on TV or in the arena, it was determined the puck did not cross the goal line.
Lehtonen faced Bobby Ryan to start the shootout following an embattled overtime period. Ryan flipped the puck just over Lehtonen’s shoulder to score the first goal of the shootout. Loui Ericsson attempted to squeeze the puck behind Hiller much like his victory goal against Columbus late last month, but couldn’t convince Hiller to over-commit. Teemu Selanne shot second for the Ducks but was denied the scoring wrist shot goal by Lehtonen. Ray Whitney shot second for the Stars, but also couldn’t outsmart Hiller. Ryan Getzlaf scored the second and final shootout goal for the Ducks, pushing Anaheim to the win.
The Stars continue their home stand at 7:00 p.m. Saturday against the Conference-leading Chicago Blackhawks and will be broadcast on Fox Sports Southwest.