NHL Game Summary - Dallas at Minnesota
(Sunday, April 10th)
Final Score: Minnesota 5, Dallas 3
St. Paul, MN (Sports Network) - Antti Miettinen scored the go-ahead goal in the third period, and the Wild held on to beat Dallas, 5-3, denying the Stars a postseason berth.
The Stars had 95 points entering the game, two fewer than Chicago, which lost to Detroit earlier Sunday to keep Dallas' playoff hopes alive. The Stars could have secured the Western Conference's eighth seed with a victory in regulation or overtime, but the Wild out-played them down the stretch to end their season.
Instead, the Blackhawks got the West's final playoff spot and will have a chance to defend their Stanley Cup title.
Minnesota got a superlative effort from goaltender Jose Theodore, who made 26 saves, including 11 in the third period. The Wild won their final two games to finish the season with a 39-35-8 record, and missed the postseason for a third consecutive year.
Kari Lehtonen allowed four goals on 22 shots for the Stars (42-29-11), who finished last in a stacked Pacific Division. Though they had a seven-point improvement from last season, they will also not participate in the playoffs for a third straight year.
It was a 3-3 game after two periods, and both teams were looking to get the valuable first score of the third.
The Wild got it early on in the period thanks to a series of quick passes, beginning with Mikko Koivu's dish behind the net to Andrew Brunette on the right side. Brunette moved out front before sending the puck to Miettinen, who was on the left side of the low slot and put the disc past Lehtonen at 6:47.
Dallas spent the rest of the period trying to net the equalizer, but Minnesota's defense held strong. Theodore stopped a number of quality shots and got help from his teammates, who often cleared loose pucks and rebounds in front of the net.
Still, the Stars had a few good chances down the stretch, including one with 3 1/2 minutes left. A pass from behind the Wild net found Steve Ott alone near the right edge of the crease, but Theodore sprawled out and stopped the shot with his glove.
Dallas removed Lehtonen from the net with about 80 seconds left, but the Stars couldn't generate a good opportunity. Minnesota's Pierre-Marc Bouchard secured the victory by chasing down a cleared puck and firing it into the empty net with 12.1 seconds to go.
Minnesota got on the board six minutes into the game, when Brad Staubitz grabbed a rebound in the slot and backhanded it into the net.
Dallas scored twice later in the period to move in front, however. Brad Richards finished a give-and-go with Loui Eriksson at 12:28, and during a power play, Brenden Morrow tipped in Eriksson's sharp wrister from the right circle with 3:53 remaining.
The Wild used their power play to even the game 7:19 into the second period, when Brunette set up Jared Spurgeon's one-timer in the right circle with a pass from behind the goal line.
Minnesota's Colton Gillies scored his first and only goal of the season later in the period, backhanding in a loose puck for a 3-2 Wild edge.
But Alex Goligoski evened the game with 1:43 left in the frame. During a 5- on-3, he unleashed a rocket that beat Theodore to the stick side.
Gillies scored his first goal since February 19, 2009...Dallas had won the first three meetings this season and six in a row vs. the Wild overall...Eriksson finished with three assists for the Stars...Minnesota went 19-17-5 at home this season, while Dallas was 20-18-3 on the road.
04/10 21:29:27 ET