Kari Lehtonen Saves Stars in 4-3 Shootout Win

Kari Lehtonen saves the day as the Stars win 4-3 in a shootout over the Phoenix Coyotes. Dallas stays atop the Pacific Division and third place in the Western Conference.

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That's A Wrap: Stars win a 4-3 thriller over the Coyotes

In the biggest game of the season, it was the MVP of the team that stepped up when it mattered for Dallas. Kari Lehtonen saved this team and possibly the season.

Lehtonen made the save of the game with 1:30 left in overtime when he made a flailing, on his back, stacked pad, leg wheeling save on a wide open Oliver Ekman-Larsson. The Coyotes would immediately follow that up with a shot that pinged off the post and the Stars barely made it through the overtime.

Jamie Benn also took another huge hit in the OT that made him leave the game and sit out the rest of the period. He was slipping when he took a hit in the back and went awkwardly headfirst into the boards. He struggled off the ice, falling once, before reaching the bench and heading right back into the tunnel to get looked at. He returned to bench for the shootout.

In the shootout, only Mike Ribeiro was able to score a goal. Mike Smith attempted to poke check Ribs but he made a deft little move to his right and easily slid it past Smith. Lehtonen saved tries from Mikkel Boedker, Ray Whitney and that hated Shane Doan to seal the win for the Stars.

The three stars in this were Loui Eriksson, Michael Ryder and Ribeiro. Loui had one goal and two assists, Ryder had two goals and one assists while Ribs had three assists and the winner in the shootout. Ryder's two goals puts him at 32 on the season, a new career high.

Kari Lehtonen saved 27 of 30 shots and everything when it really mattered. He kept this game going in the OT and was perfect in the shootout.

Dallas remains in first in the division and third in the West.

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3rd Period Over: Stars 3 - Coyotes 3, Overtime ahead

Things really unraveled for the Stars in this period as they had bad penalties and bad turnovers.

The Coyotes got things going when they scored a shorthanded goal midway through the period. The Stars got caught in the offensive zone and did a terrible job back checking, which led to the Coyotes going on a three-on-two break. Oliver Ekman-Larsson was the third man for the Coyotes on the break and his slap shot got by Lehtonen for his first shorthanded goal of his career and cutting the lead to 3-2. This was all made worse because a key player in this goal was elbow thrower Shane Doan,

A terrible too-many-men-on-ice penalty put the Stars on the penalty kill with five minutes left in the game and it came back to haunt the Stars. While on the penalty kill, Sheldon Souray was just nonchalantly skating the puck along the left boards near neutral ice when he pick-pocketed by Shane freaking Doan .This is the same Shane Doan who should have been ejected from the game for throwing an elbow at Jamie Benn's head. Doan passed the puck to Ray Whitney, who ended up with the game tying goal.

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2nd Intermission Report: Stars 3 - Coyotes 1, Fistric Injured

The second period could not have gone any better for the Stars.

They came out in this period firing again. Vernon Fiddler had a great one-on-one chance against Mike Smith and couldn't beat him low. He tried to do a small little shimmy but it didn't fool Smith at all and he made the huge save.

Loui Eriksson would have another great chance a couple of minutes later as he had a point blank shot on net that Mike Smith somehow saved. Eriksson shot the puck from Smith's left from about four feet away and Smith made an incredible glove save. It was a robbery of the highest order.

Dallas would finally get the goal a minute later on a power play, the Stars first man advantage in nearly nine periods. Tic-tac-toe passing from Ribeiro to Eriksson to Ryder gave him a wide open, point-blank one timer that he was able to put by Smith. A rare power play resulted in an even rarer power play goal and the Stars were ahead again 2-1.

Chaos ensued 30 seconds later when Shane Doan threw a dirty elbow that hit Jamie Benn right in the jaw. Benn went down and struggled back to the bench as multiple fights broke out on the ice. The Doan hit was as dirty as you would ever see as he chicken winged Benn, but luckily it looked like Benn was okay. Somehow, Doan was only assessed a five for fighting to go along with his elbowing penalty and stayed in the game.

The last 10 minutes of the period weren't as angry, but it still provided fireworks. Michael Ryder scored his second goal of the game just minutes after Fiddler was stuffed again. Eriksson had his chance near the net stopped but the rebound went right to Ryder, who put it high and by Smith for a 3-1 lead. The play was all started by a fantastic pass from Ribeiro on the lefthand boards over to Eriksson, who was sitting on the doorstep.

The Stars were aggressive and quick to the punch in this period. The scrum midway trough the period got the crowd really rowdy the team answered the call.

There was one piece of bad news though as Mark Fistric had to leave the game with an upper body injury. He's questionable to return to the game.

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1st Intermission Report: Stars 1 - Coyotes 1

In a reversal from the previous two games, the Stars actually got off to a quick start in this game. Loui Eriksson scored the first goal of the game just three minutes into the period on a shot that Mike Smith probably should have stopped (but it's one that Stars fans will not be complaining about).

Eriksson took a pass from Michael Ryder, skated into the zone pretty easily and wristed a low shot that got by Smith.

The lead wouldn't last very long though as the Phoenix Coyotes scored just three minutes later on a blast from the slot by Lauri Korpikoski. He set up in an area above the slot with no defenders around him and Ray Whitney from him from the boards. The shot might have been tipped by Michael Ryder, but nevertheless it ended up dipping under Kari Lehtonen. Momentum lost and game tied.

The Stars went on the penalty kill twice this period and were able to stop the Coyotes each time. The problem with those penalties though is that Dallas has now gone eight periods without a power play. That's nearly three games in which Dallas has no power plays while the opponent has been on the advantage nine times.

It was a pretty even period with each team controlling play for different times, though the Coyotes were probably better. The Stars just couldn't gather much momentum as they had two power plays to kill and only got five shots on goal. The defensive coverage needs to be better. They can't allow free shooters anymore or this game will get out of hand.

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Stars Vs. Coyotes: NHL Game Preview, TV Info And More

The Dallas Stars enter a Western Conference head-to-head with the Phoenix Coyotes Tuesday night.

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