At last the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim were mightier than the Dallas Stars.
"We knew Dallas was a little tired, so we wanted to take advantage of it," said Anaheim right wing Teemu Selanne after his two goals and two assists led the Ducks to a 5-1 victory Friday night over the team with the best record in the NHL.
"We talked about playing hard and playing well before the game. We wanted to take advantage of the tempo and the skating."
Anaheim did that in the second period when the Ducks scored four goals to break a 1-1 tie and beat Dallas for the first time since Jan. 11, 1998. The Mighty Ducks entered the game 0-3-1 against Dallas this season.
"There weren't a lot of 'Xs' and 'Os' to this win," said Anaheim coach Craig Hartsburg. "We put some pressure on the puck, we forced some turnovers and we kept working all night."
"When we do that, we can get some turnovers and get some rewards for our effort. Dallas is probably the hardest-working team in the league. We played that style tonight."
The loss kept the Stars from clinching the Pacific Division title in their first year in the division. It also marked the first time the Stars had given up more than three goals in a period this season and the first time they had given up more than three goals in their last 27 games on the road.
Dallas was coming off a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night.
The Stars, already missing defensemen Richard Matvichuk and Shawn Chambers because of injury, lost forward Jamie Langenbrunner to a strained abdominal muscle in the second period on Friday night.
"We might have been a little tired, but we can't use that as an excuse for losing, and having injuries isn't an excuse," Stars forward Mike Keane said. "We didn't play up to their level tonight. That was the difference. We played this way against Los Angeles, but (backup goaltender Roman Turek was there to save the night for us."
"We made some mental mistakes and some turnovers that cost us, especially when Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya were out there. Those guys will make you pay for your mistakes in a hurry."
Star goaltender Ed Belfour lost to Anaheim for the first time in four games this season. Belfour had previously given up just three goals in three games against the Ducks, including a 4-0 victory at Dallas on March 12.
Dallas scored its goal at 8:27 of the first period when Derien Hatcher beat Guy Hebert on an eight-foot backhander.
With 32 seconds left in the period, Selanne set up the tying goal by Marty McInnis. McInnis' slap shot from the left point hit Dallas defenseman Sergei Zubov's stick and went over Belfour's shoulder.
Selanne set up a goal by Matt Cullen 19 seconds into the second period, which put Anaheim ahead for good. Selanne then scored on a rebound of Kariya's shot at 9:46 and scored from point-blank range off Kariya's pass at 14:51.
Kariya stole a pass and scored the game's final goal on a 20-footer with 40 seconds left in the second period.
The win was only Anaheim's second in its last seven games and lifted the Mighty Ducks past St. Louis into fifth place in the Western Conference.
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