DETROIT – Ian White lunged headfirst across the crease, trying desperately to protect Detroit’s one-goal lead in the third period.
As the defenceman slid in front of the net, Dallas’ Jamie Benn flipped the puck toward the goal. It hit White in the face and stayed out.
“He took one for the team, that’s for sure,” Detroit defenceman Nicklas Lidstrom said. “I think he saved a goal there.”
After White’s big defensive play, the Red Wings added two insurance goals and went on to a 5-2 victory over the Stars. Johan Franzen, Darren Helm and Brad Stuart all scored in the third period for Detroit. White also had a goal in the second.
The Red Wings have won four straight, part of a streaky start to their season. They won their first five games before an 0-5-1 stretch preceded this run.
“We have a lot of talent in here,” Lidstrom said. “I think we believed in ourselves when we hit that slump, but now, we’re shooting the puck and we’re getting traffic, too. That’s something we talked a lot about.”
With the game tied at two, Valtteri Filppula drove to the net from the left. After his backhanded attempt, Franzen was on the opposite side to poke the puck across the goal-line.
Helm scored by redirecting a nice pass from Jiri Hudler with 10:41 remaining. Stuart added another goal 73 seconds later.
Dallas has lost two in a row after an 11-3 start.
Loui Eriksson and Brenden Morrow scored for the Stars.
Niklas Kronwall had a goal in the first period for Detroit, which outshot Dallas 40-27.
“They’re a good team,” Stars goalie Andrew Raycroft said. “They had a couple of chances and they scored on them. They cycled and played a good possession game.”
Franzen’s goal was his ninth of the season. White went sprawling across the front of his net during a scramble later in the third.
“You like to see guys selling out,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “I don’t like to see guys get hit in the face, but a great message to his teammates, and he competes every night.”
Helm and Stuart soon padded the Red Wings lead.
White wasn’t available to talk to reporters after the game.
Detroit outshot Dallas 15-11 in a free-flowing first period. The Red Wings had good pressure on an early power play but couldn’t convert. The Stars opened the scoring on Eriksson’s ninth of the season.
The left wing came up with a rebound around the net and beat goalie Jimmy Howard from close range with two seconds remaining on a Detroit penalty.
Kronwall tied it on a slap shot with 2:43 remaining in the period, the first of three goals by Detroit defencemen.
“We have guys in front of the net. They’re taking a lot of beating up there,” Kronwall said. “We’re just trying to get the puck to the net. A few of them went in.”
White gave the Red Wings a 2-1 lead in the second with a slapshot that sailed through traffic and past the glove of Raycroft. Detroit almost added another goal a few minutes later when Pavel Datsyuk led a 2-on-1 break. Datsyuk made a nice pass to Helm, but Helm missed the net from in front.
Helm headed straight to the bench, slamming his stick against the glass in frustration on his way there. He would later score on a similar rush.
Morrow tied it at two when the Red Wings gave him too much room to the left of the net, and he scored off a pass from Mike Ribeiro.
NOTES: Dallas recalled D Philip Larsen from the AHL, but he didn’t play. … Dallas D Alex Goligoski, day-to-day with an undisclosed upper body injury, was scratched. … Lidstrom’s second-period assist gave him 1,120 points, one short of Darryl Sittler for 53rd on the NHL career list.