DALLAS — Dallas Stars coach Ken Hitchcock pulled goalie Kari Lehtonen less than a minute into the second period against the Edmonton Oilers. The move paid off as replacement Ben Bishop shut out the Oilers over the next 39 minutes.
After the game, Hitchcock had praise for his starter.
“Ben was good, but if it wasn’t for Kari in the first 10 minutes, we wouldn’t have been in the game,” Hitchcock said.
Bishop made 17 saves after replacing Lehtonen with Edmonton leading 3-2, and Dallas rallied behind goals from Devin Shore and Radek Faksa to win 6-3 on Saturday.
“I didn’t like our energy. At the start, we looked tired. We looked lethargic,” Hitchcock said. “It had nothing to do with (Lehtonen). It had everything to do with we were not energized.”
For the same reason, Hitchcock moved Antoine Roussel up to the first line with Jamie Benn and Alexander Radulov. Each of them scored a goal. Roussel had two assists, the others one each.
The Oilers had the first seven shots on goal, but Lehtonen stopped them all. Then Roussel and Radulov scored on Dallas’ first two shots.
Roussel’s goal was only technically a shot on goal. He skated in to the left of the net, and then swept the puck out in front, where it deflected off goalie Cam Talbot’s left skate and went in.
“Saw him moving, and took a chance a little bit there,” Roussel said. “I got the chance to play with two great players. And just play a simple game, and sometimes you get good things happening with that.”
Roussel had 12 penalty minutes, bringing his team-leading total to 43. He fits his coach’s definition of “greasy” — players who don’t look pretty but get the job done.
“Sometimes I think you get a team where the profile players become the focal point on the ice, off the ice, everywhere, for the team,” Hitchcock said. “You saw today how we’re built. This is what we’ve got. This is our team. This is the way we’re built, and we can really play greasy hockey.”
Edmonton features a more conventional star in Connor McDavid, who scored one goal and assisted on linemate Drake Caggiula’s two goals to put the Oilers ahead 3-2.
“He plays in every situation,” Oilers coach Todd McLellan said. “Those players have to be allowed to have the freedom to make plays. Ninety-nine percent of the time, they’re made. Sometimes it doesn’t work that way.”
Edmonton tied the game at 2 after one period on a short-handed goal by Caggiula and a power-play score by McDavid 52 seconds apart. Caggiula scored again 42 seconds into the second. That’s when Hitchcock went to Bishop in net.
Devin Shore pulled the Stars even with his first goal this season, and Faksa scored with 1:26 left in the second to put Dallas ahead. He took a pass from Tyler Pitlick that hit his right skate and managed to put his stick on the puck for a shot from the left of the net.
Benn and Jason Spezza, on the power play, scored in the third. The Stars had been outscored 12-0 in their last eight third periods.
NOTES: Benn has 29 points (17 goals, 12 assists) in 27 career games against Edmonton. … McDavid has seven goals in six games vs. Dallas. … Stars D Marc Methot (lower-body injury) missed his fifth straight game. … The first period ended with a fight along the boards. While Roussel and the Oilers’ Matt Benning wrestled on the ice, earning each a minor penalty and a misconduct Dallas’ Jamie Oleksiak and Edmonton’s Patrick Maroon threw punches and drew five for fighting. Those penalties accounted for 34 minutes of the 56 in the first period and 70 in the game. … Dallas has allowed power-play goals in seven of its last nine games.
Oilers: Play the second game on a five-game trip Tuesday at St. Louis. The Blues won 4-1 at Edmonton on Thursday.
Stars: Host Montreal on Tuesday in the second of two home games.
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