NHL

Stars too much for Flames

Kari Lehtonen
Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen made a successful return from injury against the Flames.
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DALLAS (AP)

Alex Chiasson didn't see his tiebreaking goal go in Thursday night.

Neither did Dallas Stars coach Lindy Ruff.

More important, the referees didn't see the puck hit the net.

At the other end of the ice, though, Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen saw the goal scored, and stopped the puck when it came to him. On review, the goal was ruled good.

That started Dallas toward three goals in barely a minute and a 5-1 victory over the Calgary Flames.

''When Kari stopped and froze the puck, that's when I knew it was a goal,'' Ruff said.

''Otherwise, he's risking a minor penalty, so I figured he knew it was a goal.'' Chiasson said, ''I didn't know it was in until I was on the bench and everyone was telling me it was in.''

Chiasson and Jamie Benn each scored two goals to lead the Stars.

The game was tied 1-1 when rookie Chiasson took a pass from Ray Whitney and shot the puck into the upper right corner over Calgary goalie Karri Ramo at 11:11 of the second period.

Just 18 seconds after the goal was reviewed, Benn's shot from the left circle went in for his second goal of the season.

Brenden Dillon then scored off a faceoff, assisted by Shawn Horcoff, at 12:12.

Chiasson said: ''It makes a big difference when you score, and then you score again. That usually kills the other team's momentum. I thought that changed the game right there.''

Flames coach Bob Hartley agreed.

''Those three quick goals, they definitely took lots of energy out of us and we just couldn't recover.''

Lehtonen, returning after five games on injured reserve because of a leg injury, appreciated the offensive support.

''It was good that we got those goals. That made it easier to relax,'' he said.

Dallas had lost four of the five games while Lehtonen was out. Against Calgary, he made 28 saves.

On Thursday, the Flames completed a five-game trip on which they were 1-4.

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''We're not quitters over here but it's a results-oriented business and it was a terrible road trip,'' Calgary left wing T.J. Gagliardi said. ''We just had breakdowns and off-man rushes. They're skilled enough where they're going to make you pay.''

Dallas (4-5) dominated the early going, with the game's first four shots on goal. Two of those were by Chiasson.

Ramo stopped the first from in front of the goal, but Chiasson retrieved the puck and tapped it in for a 1-0 at 4:04 of the first period.

''The first goal by Chaser was real good hands on his part,'' Ruff said. ''The play from Whitney was a real nice opportunity.''

The Flames (4-4-2) tied the game 4:30 into the second period. Lee Stempniak skated along the right wing. Defenseman Trevor Daley stayed with a Flame across the ice and when center Cody Eakin skated from behind Stempniak, he shot the puck past Lehtonen.

Chiasson had a chance for a third goal late in the second period from the left circle, but Ramo deflected the puck wide of the net.

Benn scored again at 3:36 of the third period. A missed shot went off the back boards. Chiasson picked up the puck and slid it behind the goal to Benn. His wraparound shot beat Ramo.

Hartley said: ''I felt that we started the third period on a good note. We had a huge hole to come back and they got that goal, so basically the game was over right there.''

Ruff was asked if the Stars were trying to get a hat trick for Chiasson or Benn.

''I think the players were. Every puck was getting funneled in one direction. When you've got that lead at that time of the game, you're looking for something good like that.''

Dallas twice in the third period failed to score on 5-on-3 advantages against a Flames penalty-killing unit that ranked last in the NHL.

Notes: Dallas defenseman Kevin Connauton made his NHL debut. He was on the ice for the first goal, and was penalized for holding at 16:41 of the first period. He later blocked four shots ... Stars forward Ryan Garbutt served the first game of a five-game suspension for charging Anaheim's Dustin Penner Sunday ... Calgary center Matt Stajan also returned from a leg injury that had kept him out since Oct. 3. He assisted on the Flames' goal. ... In his second NHL game, Calgary defenseman Christopher Breen drew a 5-minute penalty for fighting with Dallas' Lane MacDermid.

Tagged: Flames, Stars, Kari Lehtonen, Karri Ramo, Jamie Benn

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