Stars keep Ducks from wrapping up Pacific crown
DALLAS -- The Anaheim Ducks will have to wait to celebrate their first Pacific Division title after the Dallas Stars spoiled the party.
Vladislav Nagy converted in the fourth round to lift the Stars to a 2-1 shootout victory over Anaheim on Friday night, preventing the Ducks from clinching the division championship.
The Ducks' loss gave Detroit the top seed in the Western Conference. However, with the point for the overtime loss, the first-place Ducks eliminated the Stars from title contention in the Pacific Division. The Ducks can win the division with a win or an overtime loss Saturday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
"It was tough losing in the manner that we did," Anaheim's Scott Niedermayer said. "But we have to keep pushing on. We've got to keep playing hard and when the playoffs roll around, be ready to be at our best no matter who we're playing."
Anaheim improved to 108 points, two better than second-place San Jose and three ahead of Dallas.
All three teams have one game remaining. If Anaheim and San Jose finish tied for points, the Sharks would take the division because they will finish with more wins than the Ducks.
"I guess we're going to have to do it the hard way," Anaheim's Teemu Selanne said.
Jussi Jokinen, Sergei Zubov and Mike Modano failed to score in the shootout for the Stars before Nagy beat Anaheim goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov to help Dallas improve to 9-4 in shootouts this season.
Stars goaltender Marty Turco stopped Corey Perry in the fourth round to give Dallas the victory after Anaheim's first three shooters -- Andy McDonald, Ryan Getzlaf and Selanne -- were unable to convert.
Selanne had given the Ducks a 1-0 lead at 18:41 of the second period with his 46th goal.
The Ducks kept the game scoreless by killing off the Stars' 5-on-3 power play for 1:40 before Selanne's goal. Selanne, who had been assessed a minor penalty for using an illegal stick in an overtime loss to San Jose on Wednesday night, beat Turco from the left circle.
Dallas tied it with 6.1 seconds left in regulation on Brenden Morrow's 15th goal. Morrow set up in front of the net and the puck went in off his shin pad after Nagy's centering pass out of the right corner. The goal was upheld after a video review showed that Morrow did not kick the puck into the net.
"Everyone was crowded around the crease and I got a good bounce," Morrow said. "I knew I didn't have any kicking motion so I would have been really surprised if it didn't count."
The Stars could have captured their eighth division title in the last 10 seasons by winning their final four games, but were beaten by St. Louis on Monday night and by Columbus in overtime on Thursday night, both non-playoff teams.
"The way we lost the last two games was frustrating," Stars coach Dave Tippett said. "Even if we hadn't won tonight, there were things we could build off of. We did a lot of good things that have been missing the last couple games."
Dallas has gone 11-2-2 in its last 15 games to put the pressure on Anaheim, but the Ducks responded with a 5-1-2 run in their last eight to eliminate the Stars.
The Ducks were without top goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who remained in Southern California over the weekend to be with his family. Giguere and his wife, Kristen, are dealing with a medical condition involving their newborn son, Maxime Olivier, that was not life-threatening. Giguere, 3-2-1 with a 1.79 goals-against vs. Dallas this season, is expected to rejoin the team Monday as Anaheim gets ready for the playoffs.
Besides Giguere, C Todd Marchant (groin) and D Ric Jackman (back spasms) were out for the Ducks. ... The Stars were without D Trevor Daley (upper-body strain), RW Jere Lehtinen (lower-body strain), C Eric Lindros (groin) and RW Matthew Barnaby (concussion). ... D Darryl Sydor returned for Dallas after missing the previous five games due to a hand injury. ... The Stars had their 13th home sellout of the season. ... Dallas has killed off its last 22 short-handed situations.
Regular Season Series
Series tied 4-4
- Greg Kimmerly
- Ian Walsh
- Mike Cvik
- Darren Gibbs