DALLAS – Playing for a team that’s used to relying on veterans, Loui Eriksson has gone mostly unrecognized in his third season with the Dallas Stars.
But the struggling Stars are short-handed these days and turning to a much younger lineup, so Eriksson is starting to garner some attention from some of his more established teammates.
Eriksson scored two goals, including the game-winner with 1:21 left in overtime, to help Dallas beat the Phoenix Coyotes 2-1 on Tuesday night.
“I’ve been a huge fan of Loui’s since he got here,” Stars goalie Marty Turco said. “We’re the ones getting rewarded for his work. He likes to score goals, I’ll tell you that.”
In overtime, Mike Ribeiro held the puck behind the net before passing to an open Eriksson, who put a rebound of his own shot past Ilya Bryzgalov.
Eriksson has 14 goals, equalling his career high set last season.
“Both my goals were in front of the net,” said Eriksson, the team’s leading goal scorer. “That’s where you have to score goals. You have to get out there and someone will make a play for you.”
The Stars played their first game since cutting ties with Sean Avery on Sunday. The forward was eligible to return Tuesday from a six-game suspension after making a crude comment about ex-girlfriends dating other hockey players, but the team instead decided to part ways with Avery.
The last-place Stars also are missing six key players because of injuries.
“Loui takes that responsibility with the guys we have out,” Stars coach Dave Tippett said. “Both goals were hard around the net. Those turned out to be very valuable.”
Turco, who made a season-high 37 saves to beat Detroit in his previous start Friday, had 22 stops. The Stars held a 1-0 lead for more than two periods before the Coyotes tied it at 10:51 of the third on Todd Fedoruk’s goal.
“Marty was excellent,” Tippett said. “He needs to be there. He’s a big part of our team that needs to be in place.”
Bryzgalov made 28 saves for Phoenix, which dropped to 0-4 in overtime. The Coyotes lost 5-4 in a shootout to Detroit on Saturday.
“We didn’t bury opportunities,” left wing Shane Doan said. “Give them credit. But we’ve got to find ways to win.”
Eriksson gave the Stars a 1-0 lead at 3:15 of the first period. He took a centring pass from Chris Conner in front of the net and barely got the puck past Bryzgalov.
It was Eriksson’s first point in six games.
The lead help up until midway through the third before the Coyotes, who are 4-1-1 in their last six games at Dallas, tied it.
Off a rebound from Peter Mueller’s shot, Fedoruk picked up the loose puck in front of the net and beat Turco at 10:51.
“We tie it up, have the momentum and don’t capitalize on it,” Doan said.
Notes: Dallas was without RW Jere Lehtinen (upper body injury), C Joel Lundqvist (shoulder), C Steve Ott (broken hand) and D Stephane Robidas (broken jaw). … Phoenix C Steven Reinprecht is two assists shy of 200. … The announced attendance was 15,387, but the arena looked about half full. Freezing rain hit Dallas late Monday night that iced over many highways and caused dozens of traffic accidents throughout the day.