Stars snap Wild win streak; Jagr reaches assist milestone

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars ended the Minnesota Wild's seven-game winning streak in impressive fashion, handing the Wild a 5-3 defeat before 17,376 at American Airlines Center just four days after Minnesota had handed Dallas a 7-4 defeat on home ice.
"It was real big for us," Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan said. "We needed the points to claw our way into that top eight."
Dallas got a goal and an assist each from Jamie Benn, Cody Eakin and Ray Whitney while Jaromir Jagr became the 12th player in NHL history to reach 1,000 career assists when he assisted on Benn's third-period power-play goal.
"I never thought about any assists and points, I was happy to be able to play here [early in my career]," Jagr said. "I really was pretty lucky. I always said you have to be lucky with who you play with and I had a chance to play with so many great players."
The Stars, who were 3- of 6 on the power play, also got goals from Tomas Vincour and Erik Cole. Kari Lehtonen stopped 30 of the 33 shots he faced.
However, backup Richard Bachman, who filled in for Lehtonen for 2:32 in the third period when Lehtonen had an equipment issue, earn his third win for Dallas.
Dallas led 2-1 after one period. The game was tied at 2 at the second intermission. The Stars finished with three goals in the final period before Minnesota's Torrey Mitchell made it a 5-3 game with 1:00 remaining.
"It was a frustrating night," Wild head coach Mike Yeo said. "Bottom line is after two periods I thought we were in a good position. Unfortunately, we came out and let them get that rush chance a little too early in that period and then we're chasing after that."
Whitney gave the Stars an early 1-0 lead when he beat Minnesota goaltender Matt Hackett with a 37-foot slapshot from near the right faceoff circle 4:14 into the opening period with the Stars on the power play.
Whitney gained possession after Benn won a draw with the Wild's Matt Cullen and with the puck fluttering just outside the right circle, Whitney quickly fired a shot over Hackett's blocker and into the left side of the net for his sixth of the season.
Dallas had gone on the power play when the Wild's Mikko Koivu was called for hooking the Stars' Vernon Fiddler after the Dallas center went hard into the left goalpost. Fiddler left the ice after that shift, his second of the game and did not return with a lower-body injury.
"He's got a charley horse, so he'll be day-to-day," Gulutzan said of Fiddler's status.
The Stars went ahead 2-0 when Vincour scored just his second goal of the year, knocking a deflection into the right side of the Wild net. Aaron Rome took the initial shot from distance, but his blast was tipped by Dallas rookie winger Reilly Smith. That deflection landed at the skates of Vincour, who flipped in a six-foot wrister for the goal.
Momentum shifted in Minnesota's favor when Devin Setoguchi pulled one back for the visitors with 1:12 left before the first intermission. Dallas defenseman Alex Goligoski committed a costly turnover in the Stars end, which was collected by Cullen.
After Cullen skated around the back of the Dallas net, he found a streaking Setoguchi with a backhand pass and Setoguchi sent a 12-foot wrister over Lehtonen's right shoulder to make it 2-1.
Through 20 minutes, Dallas led 2-1 and outshot the Wild, 17-7.
For the most part, the second frame was uneventful for both clubs, at least until Dallas rookie defenseman Brenden Dillon earned a roughing call at 14:44, putting Minnesota on the power play for the first time.
The Wild converted just 32 seconds later, tying it up when Jared Spurgeon scored his fifth in the season off a rebound to make it 2-2. Kyle Brodziak took the initial shot, which Lehtonen stopped with a pad save, but Spurgeon collected the rebound and flicked a 22-foot wrister that struck the far post before landing in the back of the Dallas net.
However, the Stars had several quality chances to regain the lead late in the second.
Hackett denied Benn twice at close range and then made big stops on a long-range shot by Dallas' Stephane Robidas. He also stoned Eric Nystrom on an attempt at the far post 41 seconds before the second intermission.
The game was tied at 2 heading into the final period and it didn't take Dallas long to score.
At 1:02, Cole slipped a 23-foot snap from the slot past Hackett for his sixth goal of the year. Cole's primary shot had been denied by the Wild netminder, but he collected his own rebound and sent it into the left side of the Minnesota net to make the score 3-2.
And after gaining a two-man advantage when Koivu was called for hooking and Ryan Suter was called for crosschecking at 2:00 of the third, the Stars regained their two-goal lead when Benn scored his seventh of the season with Dallas again on the power play.
Whitney and Jagr assisted on the goal, giving Jagr 1,000 career assists. Jagr slipped the puck to Whitney at the near post, who then passed it to Benn at the far post. Benn knocked in a 14-foot wrister to make it 4-2.
Eakin added an insurance tally with 7:20 remaining, his sixth of the season, when the young Dallas center scored on a seven-foot backhand to make it 5-2.
With 6:37 remaining, emotions boiled over. Smith was dumped into the Wild bench by Minnesota's Mike Rupp. Dallas' Antoine Roussel dashed in to take up for his teammate and mixed it up with Minnesota's Zenon Konopka.
Once order was restored, Smith earned a minor for roughing while Roussel got a 10-minute misconduct. Konopka earned a double-minor for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct while Rupp earned a 10-minute misconduct.
"I'm not sure if you get penalties for airplane rides [like Smith did], but what I loved was the reaction," Gulutzan said. "I saw [Antoine] Roussel go in and I saw [Trevor] Daley go in and I saw Jaromir Jagr go in. That's what we need -- we have to play together and I like that.
Hackett stopped 28 of the 33 shots he faced for Minnesota, who will finish the back-to-back on Saturday night against the Kings in St. Paul. Dallas hosts Los Angeles on Sunday.
NOTES: Hackett, who was recalled from Houston of the American Hockey League on Thursday, made his first start of the season on Friday. Hackett's last start for the Wild came on March 25, 2012, at Washington. Hackett is the seventh rookie to play for Minnesota this season. ... Before the opening faceoff, Dallas honored franchise icon Mike Modano for his selection to the Stars' 20th Anniversary Team. Modano spent all but one of his 17 NHL seasons in Dallas and holds the record for most points by an American-born player (1,374)... Vincour's first-period goal was the Dallas winger's first tally since Jan. 26, 2013, against the Blues, a span of 11 games. ... Jim Craig, goaltender for Team USA that won the gold medal in the 1980 Winter Olympics, was in attendance.

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