Dallas, TX (Sports Network) – Loui Eriksson registered two goals and one assist as Dallas downed Pittsburgh, 5-2, at American Airlines Center.
Stephane Robidas added a goal and a helper, while Brad Richards and Steve Ott also tallied for the Stars, who have won two in a row after losing three straight.
Kari Lehtonen was strong in net, making 21 stops in the win for Dallas, which snapped a five-game losing streak to Pittsburgh.
“That’s the name of the game. We needed to play desperate today and other guys were stepping up where they weren’t before,” Eriksson said about his team’s overall effort.
Tyler Kennedy and Matt Cooke scored for the Penguins, losers in four of their last five contests. Brent Johnson took the loss after yielding all five goals on 29 shots.
“This was a game where we just got out-battled in every phase,” said Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma. “We had opportunities to seize control on the power play and we didn’t make the most of our chances.”
Robidas hit Ott for a slam-dunk at the left side of the crease for a 3-1 Dallas edge at 10:52 of the second period, then Eriksson was given a penalty shot after being taken down from behind on a partial breakaway just 59 seconds later.
On his first career penalty shot, the 25-year-old Swede beat Johnson with a slick forehand-to-backhand move while stopping inside the crease for a 4-1 game.
“I thought about doing that maybe in the shootout,” noted Eriksson on his thought process during the free shot. “I did that in practice a couple days ago and fortunately it worked out for me tonight.”
The Pens had a goal wiped out with roughly three minutes left in the period as a review determined that Chris Kunitz redirected an errant point shot into the net with his glove.
Eriksson then buried a Penguins turnover from between the circles to put Dallas ahead 5-1 at the 5:13 mark of the third period, and the visitors weren’t able to counter until Cooke’s goal with 4:24 to play.
Robidas opened the scoring at 3:51 of the first period, before Richards doubled the advantage at 7:57 on a one-timer from the left circle from a James Neal pass.
Despite misfiring on a 5-on-3 advatage for 1:37 in the late stages of the first, Pittsburgh halved its deficit at 6:20 of the second, when Kennedy’s weak backhander off a left-circle faceoff win somehow eluded Lehtonen.
Dallas’ last win over Pittsburgh came on March 2, 2003 in a 3-1 decision at Reunion Arena…The Stars improved to 5-1-0 against Eastern Conference teams this season…Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin returned after a one-game absence with a bruised knee, while defenseman Zbynek Michalek, who has not played since October 11 with a shoulder issue, was also back in the lineup…Penguins captain Sidney Crosby scrapped with Stars defenseman Matt Niskanen in the second period and appeared to have scored most of the punches in the bout.