Bill Meltzer: Star Gazing: Stars Stun Pens With Dramatic Comeback


The Dallas Stars concluded a three-game road trip with a dramatic 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night. Dallas trailed 2-0 early in the game and were still behind by a 2-1 count with time ticking below three minutes left in the third period before waging a comeback victory in regulation.

With 2:57 remaining in the third period, Jamie Benn tied the score at 2-2 as he got to a loose puck in a scramble around the net and stashed it home.

Just 36 seconds earlier an apparent tying goal by Jason Spezza was disallowed.

On the disallowed goal, the officials ruled that Tyler Seguin interfered with Pittsburgh goaltender Marc-Andre Fleuy (25 saves on 28 shots). It was a debatable judgment call, as Seguin appeared to have been pushed into the goaltender. Immediately after play resumed, the Stars came close again to tying the game, as former Penguins defenseman Alex Goligoski ripped a shot that beat Fleury but clanged off the crossbar and stayed out of the net. Finally, on the Stars’ next scoring opportunity, team captain Benn potted the tying goal.

The Penguins’ collapse continued as Sidney Crosby was whistled off for tripping Benn. With just 2.9 seconds left in regulation, Seguin sniped the game-winning goal from the left circle off a perfect cross-ice feed from Spezza.

Earlier in the night, a win for the Stars seemed improbable. It took a 27-save performance by Kari Lehtonen, line juggling by Lindy Ruff and the dramatic late-game rally to pull out the victory against one of the NHL’s top team.

Dallas played with fire early in the game, putting themselves repeatedly shorthanded against the Penguins’ fearsome power play. The Pens struck twice on four tries to grab a 2-0 lead.

At 2:28, an own goal by the Stars put Pittsburgh on the board first. Crosby was the last Penguin to touch the puck as it pinballed into the net off the stick of defenseman Jordie Benn. At 7:49, Goligoski was unable to contain Chris Kunitz in front of the net and Kunitz got free to bury the rebound of a Kris Letang point shot.

The Penguins, who have outscored opponents in first periods by an 8-1 margin in the young season, could easily have put the game away early. Lehtonen came up big several times to keep the damage limited to two goals.

In the second period, Ruff significantly jumbled his line combinations. Antoine Roussel and Ales Hemsky were put a line with Vernon Fiddler while Jason Spezza on a line with Cody Eakin and Ryan Garbutt. At 6:08 of the middle frame, Roussel cut the Dallas deficit to 2-1. On the play, Fiddler made a centering pass from the behind the net out to Roussel at the right circle. The feisty French forward snapped a shot past Fleury.

The Penguins hung on to the one-goal lead until the Stars’ late-game explosion. Late in the second period, Pittsubrg forward Pascal Dupuis suffered a frightening injury. On the play, he was cross-checked to the ice by Goligoski and, a split second later, was struck in the head by a Letang shot. After being down for several minutes, Dupuis was carried off on a stretcher. In an extremely encouraging sign, Dupuis gave a thumbs up signal to the crowd as he was carried off.

In the third period, Goligoski himself had to briefly leave the game after getting struck in the leg with a puck. He returned shortly thereafter.

The Stars are back in action on Saturday night. The winless Philadelphia Flyers will pay their lone visit of the season to the American Airlines Center.

This post originally appeared on and we thank them for permission to rebroadcast it here.

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