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Stars Continue Charge To Playoffs

Brian Waddle for CBSDFW.COM
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141131133 Stars Continue Charge To Playoffs

Michael Ryder #73 of the Dallas Stars is congratulated by teammates after scoring an empty net goal against the Anaheim Ducks during the third period of a hockey game at the American Airlines Center on March 10, 2012 in Dallas, Texas. Dallas won 2-0. (Photo by Brandon Wade/Getty Images)

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Reinforcements hit the ice for the Dallas Stars Saturday night in a 2-0 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. The Stars got their captain Brenden Morrow and left winger Steve Ott back into the lineup as the playoff race continues to heat up.

The Pacific leading Stars have been hot lately riding a four game win streak coming into the matchup. After the victory, the club is 9-0-1 in their last ten games.

“Tonight still wasn’t a Picasso but I thought our goalie to me did not look like he was going let anything in just looking at his body language,” said Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan, “That gave us some confidence.”

Both teams were quiet in the first period, each blocking a lot of shots. A combined 20 shots were blocked by the teams in the first period. The final total blocked shots were 43. The Stars gave up only 21 shots compared to their 48 in the previous victory over San Jose.

“We wanted to be a little tighter and we had to clean a couple things up from last game,” said Gulutzan.
Morrow opened the scoring for Dallas in the second period scoring a power play goal just as a five on three expired. Jamie Benn hit Morrow with a cross-ice pass just above the crease for an open net to give the Stars the 1-0 lead.

“Those four footers with an empty cage are pretty easy to hit sometimes and Daley came low to Benn who hit me back door for an open net,” said Morrow.

The Stars would hold the lead all the way through the third forcing the Ducks to take out the goalie for an extra skater. Michael Ryder would take advantage of the open net and score his 30th goal of the season. Ryder extended his point streak to ten games.

“You know me, Ribs (Ribeiro) and Loui (Ericksson), we have something good going there and we have a lot of chemistry and we work well,” said Ryder, “You can tell the way we play that we get a lot of chances and we use one another which makes a big difference.”

Dallas has been getting excellent goaltending from its two backstops during this stretch and Kari Lehtonen got his third shutout of the season.

“Both our goalies have been giving us opportunities to win games and Kari made some huge saves tonight. He is really kind of in a zone and looks real comfortable back there. Pucks probably looking like a beach ball for him,” praised Morrow.

With this victory, the Stars push their point total to 81 giving them a three point lead over the Phoenix Coyotes going into the two road trip starting Monday in Minnesota. The Ducks continue to slide in the playoff race sitting last in the division and 13th in the conference and the window is closing.

“We are running out of time. It’s not fun when you’re running out of time but it wasn’t for lack of effort. They’re giving it everything they’ve got right to the end and we’re really proud of their effort right now. We’ve played the last two games against the hottest two teams in the National Hockey League save the Pittsburgh Penguins. You lose a one-goal game here and two-goal game in St. Louis where you’re in it right until the end. It’s a tough pill to swallow,” said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau.

Brian Waddle is the Producer for the K&C Masterpiece heard Sunday mornings on 105.3 The Fan from 9am to 1pm.

Notes:

Stephane Robidas injured Ducks winger Corey Perry in the second period with a check into the boards. Perry would sit out the rest of the period and return in the third. Robidas received a two minute minor for boarding on the play. After the game, Boudreau had this to say:

“Of course, any hit that’s into the boards for a defenseless person, isn’t that one of the criteria? Even if he didn’t extend his arms, he pushed him or if he didn’t, he held him and pushed him and held his arm to where he couldn’t protect himself. That Robidas guy does it every game and we tell him. He gets away with murder all the time. And then he says well, I didn’t try to or didn’t mean to. It’s not good enough,” said Boudreau.

Stars forward Radek Dvorak took a bad fall trying to get off the ice and did not return. His injury was listed as a lower body injury.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS Local. All Rights Reserved.)

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