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Eriksson's two goals help Stars edge Flames

The SportsXchange

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars found a way to rebound from a clunker on home ice.

Loui Eriksson scored twice, and Dallas held on for a 4-3 win over the Calgary Flames at American Airlines Center on Monday.

The Stars were coming off an 8-1 home loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.

"It's huge (to bounce back), but we're pros," Stars winger Eric Nystrom said. "Games like that happen, and they're not all going to be blowout wins or 2-1 losses. Sometimes you're going to suffer like that during the course of a season. We just knew that we had to come back and play hard tonight. It wasn't about us tic-tac-toeing the puck around, it was just playing hard and putting the effort forward, and I think everyone did that tonight. That's why we were successful."

Stars coach Glen Gulutzan juggled lines at the morning skate, and his top line of Ray Whitney, Jamie Benn and Eriksson produced big results. Benn and Whitney had two assists apiece, while Eriksson delivered his first two-goal game of the season.

"It was a big win," Gulutzan said. "We had a good start, didn't have the second (period) we wanted, then stabilized in the third. We were doing simple things to win the game. Our leadership was real good throughout. We have to continue with that mindset and continue to push each other."

Calgary (11-12-4) is now 0-6-1 in its past seven road games and hasn't won away from home since a 4-3 loss in Dallas on Feb. 17, a fact not lost on Flames coach Bob Hartley.

"We have to learn to play defense, plain and simple. If we can't play in our zone, it's pretty tough to win games," Hartley said. "That's where championship teams start the building blocks from, and most definitely, if you'll look at tonight, we have lots of work to do."

Dallas, which scored just one even-strength goal in its previous four games, led 3-0 after one period thanks to goals from Erik Cole, Nystrom and Eriksson. However, the score easily could have been 5-0 after 20 minutes, as the Stars (13-12-3) misfired on several other high-quality chances.

"These three games on this road trip are all four-point games for us," Flames winger Curtis Glencross said. "Can't expect to jump up in the standings and only play a 40-minute game or 30-minute game. That's unacceptable."

Just 8:24 into the game, Dallas, which was playing inspired hockey from the opening faceoff, had its first serious opportunity when Antoine Roussel was hooked by Calgary defenseman Dennis Wideman as he was skating toward the Flames net, resulting in a penalty shot. However, Roussel misfired on his attempt, knocking a backhand just wide of the right post.

Cole opened the night's scoring at 13:07 by firing a 49-foot wrister from the right side. The puck ricocheted off the left skate of Calgary defenseman Derek Smith and into the back of the net to make it 1-0.

The Stars nearly doubled their advantage at 14:27 when Cody Eakin fired a 24-foot wrister from the right side that careened off the far post. The deflection landed in the crease, where it was quickly covered by Calgary goaltender Joey MacDonald.

Dallas made it 2-0 just 1:22 later when Nystrom scored for the first time since Feb. 13, a span of 10 games, beating McDonald with a 13-foot wrister from the left side. Nystrom, the son of former NHL defenseman Bob Nystrom, also scored his previous goal against Calgary, in a 7-4 loss at the Saddledome over one month ago.

After Eakin and Calgary's Jarome Iginla squared off with 3:28 remaining before the opening intermission, Eriksson scored his eighth goal of the season with 1:49 left in the first to make it 3-0.

Whitney received the puck behind the Flames' goal. The veteran winger skated around the right side of the Dallas net and then hit Eriksson, who was rushing toward the visiting goal, in stride. Eriksson finished beautifully with a 10-foot wrister that went top shelf.

The Stars outshot the Flames 12-5 in the opening period. However, Calgary outshot Dallas 9-6 in the middle frame.

Much as it did in the prior meeting between the clubs, Calgary rose up after trailing. The Flames found the back of the Dallas net twice in the middle frame, getting goals from Jiri Hudler and Jay Bouwmeester, both on the power play, to make it 3-2 after 40 minutes.

Hudler's goal, his sixth, came at 11:30 of the second when he deflected T.J. Brodie's blast from distance. Bouwmeester's sixth of the season came after some nice passing among him, Curtis Glencross and Lee Stempniak, a sequence capped by a 14-foot backhand that first struck the crossbar before landing over the goal line to make it a one-goal game.

A hard hit by Eakin on the Flames' Matt Stajan earned the young Dallas center two minor penalties to set up the first power-play goal. After the game, the play still didn't sit well with the Calgary coach.

"I remember when they instituted the five-minute (penalty) for interference," Hartley said. "I think that's a classic case. That's one of the dirtiest hits that I've seen. Those hits can end careers."

Eriksson's second tally, a 10-foot flip from the right side of the Calgary net, came after a Jamie Benn pass deflected off the skate of Calgary's Matt Giordano. Eriksson finished for his ninth of the season.

Calgary again pulled within a goal when Alex Tanguay scored off a nine-foot backhand with 4:46 remaining to make it 4-3. However, even after pulling MacDonald with 1:27 remaining for an extra attacker, the Flames couldn't force overtime.

Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen stopped 16 of the 19 shots he faced for his 10th win of the season. MacDonald stopped 20 of 24 shots in the loss.

"We just worked as a team, played more simple," Lehtonen said. "It was just nice to see everybody coming together. I guess sometimes you need a really bad game to make you stop for a second and think what you should be doing. We just worked hard, and it was nice to get the win."

Calgary continues its three-game road trip on Thursday night at Nashville, while Dallas hits the road for a quick two-game trip that starts Wednesday at Colorado.

NOTES: Flames center Mikael Backlund, who was a game-time decision after suffering a lower-body injury in Friday's 6-3 win over Nashville, skated in warm-ups and played for Calgary. ... Dallas defenseman Philip Larsen was a late scratch due to illness. Rookie Jamie Oleksiak replaced him at the blue line. ... Calgary had won both meetings of the season against Dallas, 7-4 at the Saddledome on Feb. 13 and 4-3 four days later at American Airlines Center. ... Saturday's 8-1 loss to Chicago was Dallas' worst home defeat since the franchise relocated from Minnesota in 1993. ... During the first period, Guy Carbonneau, a member of Dallas' 1999 Stanley Cup championship team, was honored as a member of the Stars' 20th anniversary team. ... Whitney, who assisted on both of Eriksson's goals, now has at least a point in three of the four games since returning from a 16-game absence caused by a foot injury.
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