The Sports Xchange, Published January 21 2014
Stars shut out WildDALLAS – On Tuesday morning, Dallas Stars coach Lindy Ruff told his team that he wanted to see more energy and emotion from them against the Minnesota Wild. His team delivered, scoring twice on the power play in a convincing 4-0 win against the Wild at American Airlines Center.
“I thought really all levels were fine, and we got rewarded,” Ruff said.
The Stars won for just the second time in 2014, getting two assists from defenseman Alex Goligoski. Goalie Kari Lehtonen made 18 saves to earn his second shutout of the season and 24th of his career.
“They (our defense) just played really well,” Lehtonen said. “It was nice to be back there. The third goal was huge. It settled things even more and made it less stressful for me.”
Dallas (22-20-8) struck first when center Vernon Fiddler beat Wild goaltender Darcy Kuemper with a wrister from the high slot at 13 minutes, 38 seconds of the opening period. Fiddler’s shot whistled over the glove of Kuemper for his third goal of the season.
The Stars added a second goal in the first period when left winger Erik Cole scored his 14th as Dallas was on the power play at 16:45 of the first period. Cole’s wrister from the left faceoff circle sailed into the far side of the Wild net over Kuemper’s glove.
Goligoski picked up his second assist of the game on the power-play goal. Dallas went on the power play after Minnesota right winger Justin Fontaine was called for delay of game at 15:53.
The Stars outshot the Wild 12-3 in the first period.
“We have to execute better. This game goes in the garbage,” Wild coach Mike Yeo said. “We didn’t execute. We didn’t defend. We were passengers. We were spectators through the whole game.”
Dallas added a third goal and their second power-play goal of the night at 13:18 of the second when left winger Ray Whitney faked out Kuemper with some stellar stick work at the far post for his sixth of the season. Whitney drew Kuemper to the ice by faking to his forehand and skated around the Wild netminder before slipping the puck over the line to make it 3-0.
Once again, the Stars were on the power play due to a penalty on Fontaine, who was called for high-sticking at 11:20.
“The entries are clean,” Ruff said of his power play. “We’re getting into the zone. Then one or two passes and we’re going to the net. We were able to make a couple of plays.”