Dallas (Sports Network) – Mike Ribeiro scored the go-ahead goal with 3:19 left in regulation, lifting the Dallas Stars to a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues in the opener of a home-and-home set.
Jamie Benn tallied a shorthanded equalizer and set up Ribeiro’s score for the Stars, who have won two in a row. Brad Richards also scored, while Kari Lehtonen made 25 saves in the victory.
“We persevered as a team, I think we’re starting to grow a little bit,” said Stars head coach Marc Crawford. “We’re not opening it up too soon, we stayed with the game long enough tonight, we got some fortunate bounces — but we worked for them, too. Very pleased with the two points, as should our guys be.”
Andy McDonald netted both goals for the Blues, who had won their last three. Jaroslav Halak turned aside 19 shots in the loss.
The Stars entered the third period trailing by one, but drew even on Benn’s unassisted tally. As Blues defenseman Erik Johnson handled the puck at the left point, Benn skated up and poked it away.
Benn collected the puck by the boards as he raced through the neutral zone and into the St. Louis end, then deked Halak before shifting forehand-to-backhand to get the shot in net at 7:53.
“I think [Johnson] just tried to make one too many moves up there and I kind of just poked it away,” Benn said. “Pretty lucky, I just did my part and scored the goal.”
It was still a 2-2 game down the stretch when another hustle play from Benn resulted in the decisive score.
Halak went behind his net to collect a puck that was dumped into the St. Louis end, and sent a short pass to the right. But the puck got by defenseman Eric Brewer, and Benn picked it up. He moved into the right circle and dove forward to send a pass to Ribeiro, who was moving toward the goal on the left side and one-timed the puck into an open net.
Lehtonen made eight saves in the period to secure the win.
McDonald got the Blues on the board late in the opening period with a shorthanded goal of his own. A turnover in the Dallas end sprang a 3-on-2 Blues rush, and McDonald poked a rebound past a scrambling Lehtonen at 5:07.
Richards made it a 1-1 game at the 10:53 mark of the second period, when he buried a high wrister from the right circle, but McDonald scored seconds after a faceoff later in the period to put St. Louis back in front.
Dallas has won both meetings between the clubs so far this season. The Stars hadn’t beaten the Blues twice in a season since 2007-08…McDonald has 12 points in his last eight games.