COLUMBUS, Ohio – Niklas Hagman’s shootout backhander powered the Dallas Stars to a 2-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night.
Hagman, the 10th player in the shootout, swooped in on goalie Pascal Leclaire and flicked a backhander past him. The Stars have won both meetings with Columbus this season in shootouts at Nationwide Arena – the only wins Dallas has in three shootouts this season. The Blue Jackets fell to 1-5 in shootouts.
Chris Conner had the Stars’ goal early in the third period, matching Nikolai Zherdev’s first-period goal for Columbus.
Dallas was playing its last game of a season-long six-game road trip, while Columbus was returning home after a Western swing to start five-game home stand.
Marty Turco had 25 saves for Dallas, with Leclaire stopping 33.
It was the latest bit of heroics for Hagman, who leads the Stars in game-winning goals with five, tying him with San Jose’s Jeremy Roenick for the NHL lead.
Zherdev scored in the shootout, with Mike Modano converting for Dallas. Columbus’ Curtis Glencross then scored and was matched by Mike Ribeiro. After the Blue Jackets’ Gilbert Brule was stopped on a poke check by Turco, Hagman supplied the winner.
Hagman redeemed himself for an early mistake.
Rick Nash set up the regulation Columbus goal, stepping in to steal the puck from Hagman deep in the offensive zone. Nash then slid a pass into the slot where Zherdev redirected it past Turco for his ninth of the year.
A year ago, Zherdev sulked and stumbled when he was criticized by Columbus general manager Doug MacLean. He had just 10 goals all season after signing a new contract just before the start of the season.
He didn’t score his ninth goal a year ago until Feb. 18.
Leclaire, who had missed the last two games because of a leg injury, was at his best in the final minute of the second period. He stopped three shots by Jussi Jokinen in the last 30 seconds and repeatedly got a piece of shots from point-blank range while the Stars had a man advantage.
Another time, earlier in the period, he deflected a shot while he was on all fours.
Turco also made several stellar saves, smothering Nash’s shot on a 2-on-1 and also stopping Jason Chimera on a breakaway.
The Stars finally broke through just over three minutes into the third period. Conner got behind two Blue Jackets – and was mugged by them, with a delayed penalty called – then faked and went backhand to slide the puck between Leclaire’s leg pads.
Notes: The loudest boos of the night came when a fan wearing an LSU football jersey – Ohio State’s opponent in the BCS national title game – was shown on the centre-ice video monitors. … Columbus D Adam Foote played in his 950th NHL game. … Dallas improved to 20-3-3 record against Columbus while Turco’s record soared to 11-1-1 against the Blue Jackets.