Oilers roll to 5-1 win over Stars
DALLAS (AP) — With the puck bouncing their way, the Edmonton Oilers had no trouble notching a rare win in Dallas.
Ales Hemsky scored a goal and two assists, Jeff Petry added a goal and an assist, and Devan Dubnyk made 33 saves in helping the Oilers roll to a 5-1 victory over the Stars on Thursday night.
The win snapped Edmonton’s six-game losing streak against the Stars, including two meetings earlier this season. The Oilers had been 1-10 in Dallas since Dec. 8, 2006.
“I think mathematically, we were due and when you look at the two games in Edmonton, we played well against Dallas and today we definitely had the bounces on our side,” Oilers coach Ralph Krueger said. “Devan Dubnyk played an outstanding game and it was an excellent overall game for the team.”
Sam Gagner, Justin Schultz and Ben Eager also scored for the Oilers, while Jordan Eberle and Lennart Petrell added two assists each.
“We’re not the same team we were in the past, so you can’t look at our record and think we’re going to have a tough time,” said Gagner, who had five shots on goal. “I think for us, for the guys that have been here, it’s always nice to come into a building you’ve had some trouble in and get a win. It’s a good feeling here tonight.”
Dallas gave the Oilers nine power plays on the night in losing for the third time in its last four home games.
“It was an odd night,” Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said. “They got a couple bounces early and the penalties didn’t allow us to get back in the game. This was a stinker.”
Jaromir Jagr scored Dallas’ goal, while Kari Lehtonen made 33 saves in his return to the Stars’ net after missing five games with a groin injury. He made a number of big saves and was victimized by two shots from the corner that deflected off teammates in front of him.
“It certainly wasn’t the way I wanted to come back and play,” said Lehtonen, who was activated off injured reserve on Wednesday. “It was good to play, but the result was awful. I wasn’t able to make too many of those key saves I need to make for us to win these games.”
Edmonton, on the second stop of a nine-game road trip, led 2-0 late in the second period before delivering the crushing blow on Petry’s second goal of the year with just 13.9 seconds left. Petry received a fortunate bounce when he backhanded the puck from the left corner into the crease, where it pinballed off Lehtonen’s stick, off Trevor Daley’s arm and over Lehtonen’s shoulder.
The Oilers increased the lead to four when Hemsky connected on a power play just 50 seconds into the third, retrieving a Dallas turnover in the high slot and unleashing a wrist shot that beat a screened Lehtonen over the shoulder.
“The last two games, they beat us in the third period. It was just different tonight,” said Hemsky, who leads Edmonton with eight goals on the season. “We didn’t spend too much energy chasing the puck the way we did a lot before, and you have more energy for offense, and I think that helped us.”
Eager made it 5-0 at 11:37 following another Stars turnover, blasting a one-timer from the right face-off circle past Lehtonen after a nice cross-ice pass from Lennart Petrell.
Jagr spoiled Dubnyk’s shutout bid with 5:55 remaining when his snap shot from the high slot found its way over Dubnyk’s glove.
Four different Oilers had to be helped off the ice during the game and the simmering hostilities came to a head with four minutes left when Dallas’ Jamie Benn was ejected for cross-checking Ryan Jones from behind. Jones, who had run into Lehtonen seconds earlier and was heading to the penalty box for goaltender interference, stayed down for about two minutes before heading to the locker room.
“Well, I’m sure they’re going to look at it. It’s not a suspendable offense in my mind,” Gulutzan said of the possibility Benn might be suspended. “The guy goes off looking at your bench kind of smirking, you’re probably all right. Not a high hit or a head hit.”
The Oilers struck first, as Gagner notched his sixth of the season just 1:13 into the opening period. Standing in the right corner, Gagner fired the puck into the crease, where it appeared to ricochet off Benn’s skate and past Lehtonen.
“We’ve talked a lot about getting pucks to the net and we were able to do that tonight,” said Gagner, who leads the Oilers with 19 points in 19 games. “Sometimes you get those types of bounces when you’re getting pucks into traffic there.”
The teams traded prime scoring opportunities off the rush starting at 8:43 when Dubnyk made a nice pad save on Stephane Robidas’ one-timer from the high slot.
Seconds later, Petry raced into the Dallas zone with Taylor Hall on a 2-on-1 rush, and Lehtonen got just enough of his wrist shot to deflect the puck just wide of the right post.
Schultz made it 2-0 Edmonton at 13:52 when he sneaked into the slot and received Eberle’s beautiful saucer pass from the left corner for a one-timer that fluttered over the sliding Lehtonen’s pad and under his glove.
The Oilers had a great chance to go up by three when back-to-back boarding penalties on the Stars gave Edmonton a 5-on-3 power play for 1:03 that carried into the second period. They had several opportunities, but Lehtonen made sparkling saves in succession on Gagner’s one-timer, Schultz’s wrist shot and Ryan Smyth’s point-blank wrister.
Dallas then had three consecutive power plays through the second period, but came up empty-handed.
With the clubs skating four aside with 4:24 left, rookie defenseman Brenden Dillon took off on a breakaway, but Dubnyk slid out and stacked the pads to deny Dillon’s wrist shot from the slot.
A too many men on the ice penalty against Dallas less than a minute later gave the Oilers another 5-on-3 advantage, but again they couldn’t cash in.
NOTES: LW Erik Cole made his Dallas debut, registering one shot on goal and a -2 plus/minus rating. Cole was acquired by the Stars on Tuesday from Montreal in exchange for Michael Ryder and a 2013 third-round draft choice. ... Edmonton LW Taylor Hall was back in the lineup after serving a two-game suspension for kneeing Minnesota’s Cal Clutterbuck on Feb. 21. ... Oilers D Corey Potter left the contest late in the first period after he was leveled by a hit from Dallas’ Eric Nystrom and did not return. ... The Stars honored former RW Jere Lehtinen, who played in Dallas from 1995-2010 and ranks among the top five in franchise history in virtually every offensive category, as part of the squad’s all-time team.