Eriksson continues to thrive as Stars roll over Devils

DALLAS (Ticker) — The Dallas Stars have worked feverishly to
negate their horrid start to the season and Loui Eriksson has
made that an attainable feat.

Eriksson scored two goals and continued his impressive campaign
as the Stars defeated the New Jersey Devils, 4-2, on Wednesday.

Landon Wilson netted his second goal of the season, defenseman
Mark Parrish snapped a 2-2 tie with a power-play tally in the
second period and Brad Richards had three assists to help the
Stars win for the third time in four games.

“It was nice to contribute, but it was nicer to get two points
and get a win into the new year,” Parrish said. “I think you
can see it, you can feel it, there’s a confidence that wasn’t
here a few weeks ago.

“Actions speak louder than words, you can tell how we’re moving
forward in the third instead of just hanging on.”

Marty Turco finished with 25 saves and improved to 6-1-1 in his
last eight starts for Dallas.

“We’ve had some tough time with them over the years,” Turco
said. “They are a good team. These last two games have been
some very good teams, two of the best in the league.

“When you play as well as we did in the last two games, that is
a big sign. You can see it, we’re playing much better and we
need it. Tonight was a big win for us.”

Blue-liner Mike Mottau tallied and David Clarkson added a goal
with the man advantage in the first, but the Devils failed to
extend their two-game winning streak.

“We monitor our schedule very closely to make sure these guys
are as well-rested as they can be every night,” Devils coach
Brent Sutter said. “I don’t know how you can have a second
period like we did and come back and play much harder in the
third and say we were tired. I don’t buy that. We just weren’t
very good.”

Several months removed from losing in the Western Conference
finals to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings,
the Stars finished October with a pedestrian 4-5-2 record.

Their struggles continued once captain Brenden Morrow tore his
anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in a 6-3 loss to
the Chicago Blackhawks on November 20 and they entered December
as a last-place squad stuck with a 8-11-4 mark.

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Since then, Dallas has gone 8-4-1 and has Eriksson to thank.

“We rode that momentum,” Richards said. “I think we responded
well to the first period. Second period we started moving our
feet, it didn’t matter who went over the boards. We killed some
penalties and the winning goal came on the power play. More
importantly, we controlled the puck and got momentum.”

The 23-year-old left wing came into the 2008-09 campaign with 20
goals and 50 points over his brief career.

“No better guy to succeed this year, his all around play has
been phenomenal,” Dallas’ Steve Ott said. “He’s easily our MVP
horse right now.”

However, Eriksson netted his career-high 19th and 20th goals of
the season in this one and has recorded eight of those in his
last seven contests.

“Getting 20 goals midway through the season is a big milestone,”
Stars coach Dave Tippett said. “The shorthanded goal was big.
They played last night and you need to jump on teams quick. He
raised the bar for himself. He’s scored some big goals for us

Eriksson opened the scoring while shorthanded midway through the
first, but Mottau and Clarkson tallied within a two-minute span
in the waning minutes of the session to take 2-1 lead.

Wilson forged a tie 5:39 into the second by firing a wrist shot
from the low slot past Scott Clemmensen and Parrish gave Dallas
a lead it would not relinquish four minutes later by converting
passes from Richards and defenseman Stephane Robidas.

Eriksson struck again with 41 seconds remaining in the game,
sliding the puck into the vacant net to secure the victory.

“We had a lot of guys bring good energy tonight,” Tippett said.
“That was a good team win. We had strong contributions
throughout the lineup and we need that right now.”

Clemmensen made 40 saves for the Devils, who fell to 14-5-1 in
their last 20 games.