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Miettinen's two goals lift Stars past Wild

Jan 8, 2008 - 6:16 AM
By John Tranchina PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

DALLAS (Ticker) -- Their power play may still be struggling, but the Dallas Stars are just happy to have ended their season-long losing streak.

Antti Miettinen scored two goals and Marty Turco made 18 saves to lead the Stars to a 3-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Monday night.

Rookie Matt Niskanen also scored and captain Brenden Morrow and Mike Ribeiro each had two assists for Dallas, which snapped a four-game losing streak and climbed back into a tie with the San Jose Sharks for the Pacific Division lead.

With Dallas ahead, 2-1, early in the third period, Miettinen scored his second goal of the night at 2:11. Ribeiro won a battle for the puck behind the Minnesota net and fed a slick cross-crease pass to Miettinen, who slammed home an easy tap-in at the left post.

"It's a pretty typical pass from Ribby," Miettinen said. "We try to hang out around the net and look for open seams and he's the guy who's going to find us. I just drove to the net and knew he was going to throw it there and was able to put it in to the empty net. Pretty easy."

The Stars had plenty of opportunities to extend their lead but their struggling power-play unit, which has scored in just one game out of their last nine, failed to capitalize on two 5-on-3 advantages, including one for 1:56 late in the second period.

"We got some chances there, so it wasn't like it was a bad power play," Miettinen said. "It has to get better for sure, because in tight games, that's something that's going to make a difference, and also gain the momentum by working hard and getting opportunities. Getting a 5-on-3 twice like that, you should score, that's for sure."

But even though Dallas didn't score on the long advantage, it did take a toll on Minnesota by tiring out its key penalty killers and giving the Stars - who controlled the puck in the Wild zone for the entire time - a boost of adrenaline that led to a big third period.

"The second period, what gave them the momentum is the 3-on-5, they really played really well after that," Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire said. "You could see that they elevated their game, they really felt they had a chance to win at that point. When you kill a 5-on-3, first of all your top defensemen are there and after the 5-on-3, they're half-dead."

"It was good tonight to play the way we did in the third period," Ribeiro said. "We still need to bear down on our chances on the power play, but I think our penalty kill played great again."

Dallas' penalty-killing unit, ranked first overall in the NHL, nullified all four of Minnesota's opportunities, giving them a streak of 34-of-35 kills over its last nine contests.

Ribeiro, the Stars' leading scorer who was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after the season, had his new five-year, $25 million contract extension announced during the contest.

"I am very happy to sign here, I've made a home here," Ribeiro said. "The family and kids love it here. This is a great organization and this is a team that can win the Cup. There was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to stay here."

"Ribeiro is a very good, committed player and his offense is a big part of our team," Stars coach Dave Tippett said. "He and Brenden have earned the right to be cornerstone players for this team's future."

Niskanen, a Minnesota native, started the scoring with his second goal in three games - both against the Wild - at 5:50 of the second period when he roofed a one-timer over goaltender Niklas Backstrom after receiving a nice pass from Jeff Halpern.

"That was nice for the kid," Tippett said. "There are probably a lot of people watching him up there. Last two games against Minnesota, two goals for him."

Minnesota evened the score just four seconds after a power play ended on Mark Parrish's 12th goal of the season.

Shortly after an apparent goal by defenseman Brent Burns was disallowed when the net came off its moorings just before the puck entered it, Marian Gaborik blasted a slap shot from the high slot that Parrish expertly deflected waist-high with the shaft of his stick over Turco's shoulder.

Dallas struck back less than two minutes later, as Miettinen connected on his first goal in seven games to make it 2-1 with 8:54 left in the middle session. Miettinen ripped a slap shot off the rush from the top of the right faceoff circle after taking a drop pass from Morrow.

"We had a lot of guys play well and do the little things that lead to wins," Tippett said. "Turco played very well and made key saves for us. We were trying to stop the bleeding and we know we are a team that needs certain things in order and we got those tonight. We had enough positives to push us through and work our way to a victory."

Ribeiro had the best scoring chance of the first period after he was pulled down by Burns on a breakaway with 8:16 left and was awarded a penalty shot. Skating in on Backstrom, he slowed as he approached the goal, making a wide move to his backhand, but the puck rolled off his stick.

Backstrom stopped 27 shots for Minnesota, which has lost two straight games.

"You can't ask the goalie to do it all, but there's no doubt that when the games are tight, you get certain shots that are stoppable or maybe make a huge save to keep the team in the game, you need that," Lemaire said of Backstrom. "It would be great to have that at times. Every team that does it has a chance to win."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MINNESOTA 0 1 0 1
    DALLAS 0 2 1 3 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: DAL - MATT NISKANEN 4 (JEFF HALPERN, STEVE OTT) 5:50
    MIN - MARK PARRISH 12 (MARIAN GABORIK, KIM JOHNSSON) 9:19
    DAL - ANTTI MIETTINEN 8 (BRENDEN MORROW, MIKE RIBEIRO) 11:06
    3RD PRD: DAL - ANTTI MIETTINEN

    Jan 7 10:59 PM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 1
    DALLAS 3
    3RD PRD: DAL - ANTTI MIETTINEN 9 (MIKE RIBEIRO, BRENDEN MORROW) 2:11

    Wild vs. StarsJan 7 10:32 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MINNESOTA 0 1 1
    DALLAS 0 2 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: DAL - MATT NISKANEN 4 (JEFF HALPERN, STEVE OTT) 5:50
    MIN - MARK PARRISH 12 (MARIAN GABORIK, KIM JOHNSSON) 9:19
    DAL - ANTTI MIETTINEN 8 (BRENDEN MORROW, MIKE RIBEIRO) 11:06
    MISSED PENALTY SHO

    Jan 7 10:10 PM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 1
    DALLAS 2
    2ND PRD: DAL - ANTTI MIETTINEN 8 (BRENDEN MORROW, MIKE RIBEIRO) 11:06

    Wild vs. StarsJan 7 9:56 PM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 1
    DALLAS 1
    2ND PRD: MIN - MARK PARRISH 12 (MARIAN GABORIK, KIM JOHNSSON) 9:19

    Wild vs. StarsJan 7 9:52 PM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 0
    DALLAS 1
    2ND PRD: DAL - MATT NISKANEN 4 (JEFF HALPERN, STEVE OTT) 5:50

    Wild vs. StarsJan 7 9:41 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MINNESOTA 0 0
    DALLAS 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    MISSED PENALTY SHOTS: DAL - MIKE RIBEIRO, 8:16 1ST.
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MIN 5 5
    DAL 8 8
    GOALIES: MIN - NIKLAS BACKSTRO

    Jan 7 9:13 PM
  • 15
    roots
    lpickrell Added 5 roots

    Wild vs. StarsJan 7 6:17 PM
  • nothernrinkrat3 Should be an amazing game. Both team are at about the same skill level, I think.

    Wild vs. StarsJan 7 2:11 PM
  • 10
    roots
    nothernrinkrat3 Added 5 roots

    Wild vs. StarsJan 7 2:10 PM
  • 5
    roots
    Flyboy Added 5 roots

    Wild vs. StarsDec 30 1:39 PM