DALLAS (AP) – Milan Lucic waited anxiously as his goal was being reviewed.
The Boston Bruins left wing had already seen a goal for each team disallowed when the puck went in off his raised stick.
Dallas Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen contended that Lucic’s stick was too high for the goal to count. But after a video replay, referees Mark Lemelin and Steve Kozari confirmed that the third-period goal counted and the Bruins went on to win 4-2 on Thursday night.
“I knew it was going to be really close,” Lucic said, “Thankfully they called it on the ice. I imagine the conversation was it was inconclusive on the video, so take ’em any way you can.”
All of the game’s scoring came in the final 20:04. Lucic assisted on the first goal, and his tip-in put Boston ahead 3-1 with 4:14 remaining. The goal was Lucic’s first in 10 games, and the Bruins’ first on the power play in 19 opportunities.
“Goals really haven’t come easy for me the last 18, 19 games,” Lucic said, “and it was nice to get one there, especially on the power play.”
Stars coach Lindy Ruff was more upset about Boston’s first goal. Lucic passed from the right corner to David Krejci on the inside edge of the right faceoff circle. He fired the puck past Lehtonen with 4 seconds remaining in the second period.
“You want to get out of that period,” Ruff said. “I thought all we needed was a little better coverage and not allowing that pass out of the corner. A little better stick, a little better feet.”
Lucic, Krejci and Patrice Bergeron, who scored into an empty net with 16 seconds to play, each had a goal and an assist.
Boston coach Claude Julien was pleased with the team’s overall performance after losing three of the previous four games.
“A much better compete level,” Julien said. “We did a pretty good job on the penalty kill and power play was good. I thought we were a really strong team in the third.”
Boston’s Chad Johnson made 32 saves, and stayed in the game despite being cut by his left eye when teammate Zdeno Chara’s stick hit him in the second period.
“It was such a quick play,” Johnson said. “I knew it was a blade and hit my cheek bone, and kind of came up and clipped my eye and my contact fell out.”
After a brief delay, he returned to the net and almost immediately stopped a Dallas shot in a still-scoreless game.
“It shows how good he is,” Boston forward Brad Marchand said.
Added Julien: “I thought (Johnson) played a real solid game and was square to the puck all night long. A good outing for him.”
Dallas tied the game at 1 at 1:18 of the third when Erik Cole tipped Tyler Seguin’s shot off Johnson into the net. Boston took a 2-1 lead two minutes later, when Marchand put in his own rebound.
Jamie Benn scored at 18:49 to pull Dallas within 3-2, but Bergeron stole the puck and scored his empty-net goal from a narrow angle.
“Just a tough, tight game, and they were able to get those couple goals there in the third,” Lehtonen said. “Every goal hurts, but those were especially tough goals.”
Boston (30-15-2) took over sole possession of first place in the NHL’s Atlantic Division, pulling one point ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning, who lost to the New York Islanders in a shootout.
In losing for the seventh time in eight games, Dallas dropped to 21-19-7. All seven losses have been against Eastern Conference teams.
Boston appeared to have a goal barely three minutes into the game, but a review of the play ruled that Gregory Campbell had kicked the puck past Lehtonen.
Dallas appeared to score from a scramble at 18:09 of the first, but a referee said he had blown his whistle before the puck crossed the goal line.
Campbell had another chance on a short-handed 2-on-1 rush, but the Stars’ Erik Cole hustled back to hit Campbell’s stick as he shot. During that power play, Dallas had a 5-on-3 advantage for the last 35 seconds of the first period but couldn’t score.
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