Hosting the NHL-leading Vancouver Canucks, the Dallas Stars aimed to remain in a playoff spot by the end of the night. Dallas upheld its end of the job, rallying to win, 3-2 in overtime, extending its win streak to four games.
The first period ended scoreless, even after a few quality chances from both teams -- although neither team had the an advantage. The shift in pace changed just 56 seconds into the middle period, when Ryan Kesler caught the Dallas defense off-guard after a bit of end-to-end action and placed one over Kari Lehtonen's shoulder. Mason Raymond tacked on another goal, this one a flukey badly-angled shot that also fluttered over Lehtonen's shoulder to give the Canucks a 2-0 lead.
With Vancouver's penalty kill on the road at 88.6 percent and Dallas with the league's fourth-worst power play, when Manny Maholtra went up ice for the shorthanded opportunity, it wouldn't be wrong to think the Canucks would put this one away. However, Lehtonen made the save. On the ensuing counterattack, Mike Ribeiro quickly rushed along the boards and found Michael Ryder, who banked one in past Roberto Luongo on the one-timer near the end of the Stars' man advantage.
Dallas was still down 2-1 with less than a minute in regulation, but a tip-in from Ribeiro with the extra skater sent the game to overtime. Vancouver appeared a bit uncomfortable on their own end, and the scatter allowed enough open ice for a well-executed set of passes from Steve Ott to Trevor Daley, and then from Daley to Loui Eriksson for the game-winner.
In 12 of his last 17 decisions, Lehtonen has given up two or fewer goals. You can count that as a big reason why the Stars were able to hang in there against the Canucks. Despite the two softies he let in earlier, Lehtonen remained level and kept the Stars in the game on many occasions, finishing the game with 24 saves.
Vancouver, meanwhile, remains on top of the NHL in points.