DALLAS – Steve Ott doesn’t always agree with officiating decisions. This time, he thought the referees made the right call.
Ott scored a controversial goal in the sixth round of the shootout, and the Dallas Stars ended a three-game skid with a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday.
Dallas goalie Alex Auld and Detroit’s Jimmy Howard were perfect in the first five rounds before Ott backhanded a shot through Howard’s pads.
Howard pulled the puck off the goal line, but after a lengthy video review officials ruled that Ott’s shot had gone fully over the line.
“I thought I saw it cross the goal line,” Ott said. “It was close, but it looked like it was … over the line.”
Detroit’s Patrick Eaves missed the net in his sixth-round attempt, and the Stars celebrated their third shootout win in 10 attempts this season.
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock was fuming afterward, visiting the officials’ locker room to register his displeasure.
“The video replay showed the puck didn’t go in the net,” Babcock said. “I thought that’s why we had video replay. The referee on the goal line called it (no good), but then they determined I guess that he was blocked out (by Howard) and the (second) referee (trailing the play) decided it went in the net.”
Howard refused to comment, adding “because if I say anything, I’m just going to get in trouble.”
Said Stars coach Marc Crawford: “I’ve heard a lot of different versions, but we got a call to go our way tonight. Whether it was a break or whether it was just the right call, either way it was on the positive side for us. We sorely needed it.”
Brad Richards and Loui Eriksson had regulation goals for the Stars, who rallied from an early two-goal deficit to improve 10-2-2 in their last 14 home games. Dallas is winless in its last six games on the road.
Auld stopped 26 shots in his first start since Jan. 5, and the backup to Marty Turco could earn a second consecutive start Monday night at home against Minnesota.
Todd Bertuzzi and Brian Rafalski scored in regulation for Detroit, with Henrik Zetterberg and Nicklas Lidstrom assisting on both goals. Howard made 28 saves.
Detroit had been hot, going 6-2-1 in its previous nine games.
Bertuzzi came in on a breakaway and beat Auld with a backhander at 5:10 of the opening period.
With the Red Wings skating 5-on-4, Rafalski had a clear path to the net and fired a loose puck past Auld at 9:30 of the first period to extend Detroit’s lead to 2-0.
Richards capitalized on a power play to pull Dallas within 2-1 when he faked Howard out of position and scored from low in the left circle at 2:37 of the second period.
Eriksson tied it at 3:53 of the third period, backhanding a shot past Howard from the slot.
“We calmed ourselves down, played a great second half of the first period, and then scored a big goal in the third to get to the shootout,” Richards said.
Stars forwards Brenden Morrow and Jere Lehtinen left the game with upper-body injuries.
Morrow, a member of Canada’s Olympic team, went to the locker room late in the first period after blocking a shot. He was on the ice for one shift in the second period before being ruled out for the third period.
Lehtinen played only three minutes, 15 seconds of the opening period. A member of Finland’s Olympic team, Lehtinen has already missed 16 games with hip and groin injuries.
Crawford said both players are day to day.
“We have to hope they’re fast healers,” Crawford said.
NOTES: The Stars have won five straight over the Red Wings in Texas. … Detroit is 3-4 in shootouts. … Howard was making his 11th consecutive start. … Detroit D Niklas Kronwall has been skating before practices, but isn’t in game shape. Kronwall has been out since late December with a knee injury. … Dallas D Nicklas Grossman missed his fifth straight game with a knee injury.