GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) – The Dallas Stars had only four road wins this season, and their test Tuesday night was compounded by having to travel to Arizona on game day because of a long flight delay. That forced them to hold a morning skate in Texas before finally taking off for Phoenix.
And yet Dallas still came out a winner. Jason Spezza had a goal and assist and Kari Lehtonen made 35 saves, helping the Stars beat the Arizona Coyotes 3-2 in a heated contest.
“It was a trying day and it was a day where we could have easily gotten frustrated and made excuses,” Spezza said.
“We still came out and played well,” Lehtonen said. “Good road win.”
A series of fights in the second period resulted in four players serving at least four penalty minutes each. It started when Dallas’ Radek Faksa popped Coyotes goalie Mike Smith in the side with his stick after a shot.
Smith retaliated, and players from both sides intervened. Arizona’s Lawson Crouse and Dallas’ Curtis McKenzie were given five minutes each for fighting.
“It’s an intense game,” Spezza said. “The only way to score nowadays is to get around the net, so somebody took exception to it, but that’s our guy’s job, to get there and try to get goals.”
Jamie Benn also scored for Dallas, and John Klingberg’s empty-net goal with 1:08 left made it 3-1, but the Coyotes were awarded a penalty shot with 6.6 seconds left that Radim Vrbata converted. Anthony Duclair also had a goal for Arizona.
The Coyotes ran out of time, however. The Stars have points from four straight games, and Arizona lost its fifth straight and fourth consecutive game at home.
Benn’s power-play goal at 12:03 of the second period put the Stars in front for good. Benn, who’d missed a breakaway earlier in the period, tapped in a shot from Tyler Seguin while standing next to the goal.
Benn leads the Stars in points with 30 and has 10 goals. Dallas is 9-0-2 this season when leading after two periods.
The Stars had a short-handed breakaway early in the second period, but Benn got his chance blocked when he tried a soft backhand too close to the net. Still, Dallas scored on the same Coyotes power play.
Spezza glided around Vrbata and beat Smith at 2:48 to take the lead with his seventh goal of the season. The Stars entered Tuesday with one goal in 12 power plays over the past four games.
“I knew their (penalty kill) unit, so when I got it I just tried to get my head up and knew that it was him,” Spezza said of the mismatch against Vrbata, a forward. “I was fortunate enough to get around him.”
The Coyotes answered less than a minute later. Duclair chipped away at a loose puck that Lehtonen couldn’t cover and nudged it over the goal line at 3:37 of the period. It was Duclair’s second goal of the season.
Arizona has just 27 goals in its last 15 games.
“When you’re not scoring, your margin for error is very slim,” coach Dave Tippett said. “It’s part of where we are as a team.”
NOTES: With F Antoine Roussel out due to injury, the Stars called up C Jason Dickinson from Texas of the AHL. Dickinson appeared in his second game this season. … Ds Patrik Nemeth and Stephen Johns and C Cody Eakin were scratched for Dallas. Eakin served the last of a four-game suspension. … C Ryan White (lower body injury), D Kevin Connauton and F Josh Jooris were scratched for Arizona.
Stars: Host Colorado on Thursday night, the first of three straight games at home.
Coyotes: Host the New York Rangers on Thursday night, the finale of a five-game homestand.