EDMONTON – Dallas has had little trouble winning in Edmonton over the last few years, so the last thing the Oilers needed was to surrender a couple of freak gift goals as well.
Kari Lehtonen made 35 saves and Brenden Dillon and Eric Nystrom both scored strange goals as the Dallas Stars extended their winning streak to four games with a 4-1 victory over the Oilers on Tuesday.
“We got two pretty lucky goals today, just amazing bounces,” said Lehtonen of his team’s first two goals. “(Oilers goalie Devan) Dubnyk was playing great. He had a shutout going on in my mind until the last two goals.
“He had no business having those first two go in on him.”
The Stars tied the game 1-1 four minutes into the second period as a shot by Dillon caromed off a stick and then the glass behind the net and hit Dubnyk in the back and bounced into the goal.
“It was a weird play… it happens,” Dubnyk said. “There is nothing I can do about it.”
Both teams had some very good scoring chances in the second, the best one coming at the end when Jordan Eberle made a nice deke on the power play that Lehtonen was barely able to deflect with his toe.
Dallas got another gift goal just 44 seconds into the third period as a long shot by Nystrom hit the hand of one of the Oilers on its way to the net, then appeared to strike Dubnyk in the mask before hitting the post and going in to make it 2-1 for the Stars.
Jaromir Jagr and Ryan Garbutt also scored for Dallas (7-5-1), which has won five of its last six games overall.
The Stars have been incredibly successful against the Oilers since moving to Dallas, now holding a 55-13-4-2 record against Edmonton.
“It’s up to us how well we do,” Jagr said. “I don’t think we have the kind of team that can allow itself to play up and down hockey. We are a good cycling team and we have the goaltending. Some of our games aren’t going to be pretty, but as long as we win it is fine.”
Taylor Hall replied for the Oilers (5-5-3), who have lost six of their last seven.
Oiler head coach Ralph Krueger said it was a case of some awful luck on the night erasing what was otherwise a pretty good effort.
“Those first two goals were two of the most bizarre goals I’ve seen in a long time and back to back that way was tough for us to swallow,” he said. “The result was painful to look at when you look at our execution for most of the game. For the first two periods it looked like we were going to have our first real 60-minute game of the season. That second goal seemed to deflate us.
“We went back to some complicated habits after that and abandoned what had made us successful to that point.”
Hall agreed that it was a much better effort than in the Oilers’ 3-1 win over Columbus on Sunday, a game where they were outshot 40-14.
“In Columbus we didn’t deserve the win and didn’t play well,” he said. “The way we played tonight is going to win us games.”
Dallas had the best chance in the early running as Cody Eakin had a partial breakaway but was stopped by a nice pad save from Dubnyk, who finished with 25 saves.
Edmonton got on the board first with seven minutes to play in the first period as Hall unleashed a deceptive off-stride wrist shot from the top of the circle that beat Lehtonen to the glove side.
The Oilers had another good chance to score with six minutes to play in the third on a power play but Lehtonen was once again there to rob Ryan Nugent-Hopkins with a glove save at the side of the net.
Dallas got an insurance goal while the teams were playing 4 on 4 as Jagr picked up a loose puck in the slot and spun around with a shot that beat Dubnyk. It was Jagr’s fourth of the season.
The Stars put the game away for good with three minutes left to play as Garbutt was able to chip a shot past the Oilers goalie despite having defender Nick Shultz draped all over him.
“We are just trying to play hard right now,” Lehtonen said. “We know we are not the most skilled team out there with the biggest names. We are a hard working club and everybody in this room feels we have a chance to win on any given night as long as we push ourselves. We have done well the last few games here and hopefully we can keep it going.”
The Stars continue a three-game road trip in Calgary on Wednesday night.
The Oilers don’t play the second game of a five-game homestand until Saturday when they play host to the Colorado Avalanche.
Notes: It was the second of three meetings between the two teams this season. The Stars defeated the Oilers 3-2 in overtime last Wednesday on a goal by Jagr… The Oilers made a surprise move before the game as they decided to make veteran forward Ryan Smyth a healthy scratch. Defenceman Ryan Whitney was also benched for the third time in four games… Edmonton defenceman Mark Fistric made his first appearance against his old team since being acquired from Dallas just prior to the season… Edmonton remained without forwards Ryan Jones (eye), Shawn Horcoff (hand) and Anton Lander (foot) … The only significant injury for the Stars was forward Ray Whitney (foot) – on injured reserve and expected to miss 4-6 weeks… Oilers forward Darcy Hordichuk cleared waivers on Tuesday and was loaned to the AHL’s Oklahoma City Barons… The Stars win was their 759th since the franchise moved to Texas 19 seasons ago, eclipsing the victory total the team had in 26 seasons as the Minnesota North Stars.