Stars end homestand with win vs. Devils
DALLAS -- OK, so maybe it wasn't a truly dominating or resounding win for the Dallas Stars on Saturday night against the New Jersey Devils at American Airlines Center, but the Stars will take the two points, especially as they prepare to head out on a three-game road trip through Western Canada early next week.
Jason Spezza and Tyler Seguin had a goal and an assist each as Dallas edged the Devils 4-3 to finish their three-game homestand at 2-1-0.
"Two points. At the end of it, two points. And then we move on," Stars defenseman Trevor Daley, who had his sixth goal of the season late in the second period, said.
Dallas (11-13-5) led 2-0 after one period thanks to goals by Seguin, his NHL-leading 23rd of the season, and Spezza.
However, the Devils, who lost their second straight game, answered with two in the second, both goals coming from defensemen, the first from Jon Merrill and the second from Eric Gelinas, to tie the game at 2-2 nearly midway through the middle frame.
But the Stars hung tough and countered with two of their own later in the second, the goal from Daley and another from Shawn Horcoff, his first in 11 games and the eventual game-winner with 3:08 left in the second to give Dallas a 4-2 edge after 40 minutes of play.
New Jersey cut it to 4-3 when Scott Gomez scored his first of the season with 1:07 remaining in regulation as the Devils had the extra attacker since backup goaltender Keith Kinkaid headed to the bench with 2:27 remaining.
The visitors were unable to find an equalizer and the Stars had a solid win after a disheartening 5-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets earlier in the week.
"The third period was pretty much the way we needed to play," Stars head coach Lindy Ruff said. "We had a couple good looks. I thought there was a couple of opportunities where we didn't put the puck in the right place, but that's the way you need to play."
Ruff had put his players through the paces the past three days with rather strenuous practices at the team's home rink in Frisco and since the Dallas Mavericks were playing on Saturday afternoon against the Golden State Warriors at the AAC, the Stars held their morning skate in Frisco, a session which appeared more spirited than a typical skate the morning of a game.
Ruff wanted to see a good response from his club, something which Horcoff feels they definitely delivered with the win against the Devils, who are 2-6-3 over their past 11 games.
"We put a lot of work into those last three days and we were like 'listen, we deserve this. Let's make these last three days worth it.' I thought the guys responded really well," Horcoff said. "It's a big step forward for us because we have to make some hay right now."
After having a players-mandated day off on Sunday, the Stars will practice in Frisco on both Monday and Tuesday before leaving for Western Canada on Tuesday afternoon.
Dallas next hits the ice Wednesday night at the Vancouver Canucks before also playing at the Calgary Flames on Friday and at the Edmonton Oilers next Sunday, a trip Stars captain Jamie Benn knows is a pretty big one.
"It's very important," Benn said. "These are six points that you really want to get here, coming up to the Christmas break. We want to definitely improve our road record, and just keep moving forward and build on this."