DALLAS — Before Tuesday night, the Dallas Stars had only won once this year in 4-on-4 overtime. But thanks to a game-winning goal from center Cody Eakin 2:18 into the extra frame, Dallas ended a six-game winless streak by defeating the New York Islanders 3-2 at American Airlines Center on Tuesday.
Eakin’s 15th of the season came on a wrist shot from the slot as he knocked in a pass from Stars left winger and captain Jamie Benn off the rush. Eakin also had an assist.
“It’s part of the next step to get over that hurdle where you deal with adversity and fight even harder,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “We’ve dealt with a lot in this building, and that was just another one. To bounce back and come down the ice and score the goal we scored, it was something our fans needed too.”
Dallas (28-26-10) led 2-1 late, but the Islanders tied it with two seconds remaining when center Anders Lee scored his 21st of the season with a wrist shot from the left side that deflected in off the right skate of Stars defenseman Jordie Benn.
The Islanders (41-21-3) had the extra attacker after goaltender
Jaroslav Halak, who stopped 32 of 35 shots, headed to the bench with 1:26 remaining in regulation.
“We got a break there,” Islanders center and captain John Tavares said of the Lee equalizer. “It was just nice that we were able to battle back and find a way to at least push it (to overtime). We had some chances to win and it went the other way for us today obviously.”
Rookie right winger Brett Ritchie and center Vernon Fiddler had previously scored for Dallas.
Fiddler’s eighth of the season came off a rebound after a slap shot from left winger Ryan Garbutt from the right point sailed over the visiting goal. The puck deflected off the boards and landed at Fiddler’s skates and he alertly poked the puck into the left side of the Islanders net.
Ritchie had tied the game earlier in the third with his fourth of the season. Stars rookie defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka took the initial shot, a slap shot from the left point, which was denied by Halak with a pad save. The rebound fell to Ritchie, who converted with a wrist shot from the slot which sailed under Halak’s blocker. It was Ritchie’s first goal in 12 games after he scored three in his first six.
Islanders left winger Josh Bailey opened the scoring late in the first period. New York centers Ryan Strome and Brock Nelson assisted on the goal with some nice passing from behind the Dallas goal. Strome then fed Bailey, who was streaking through the slot and Bailey finished with a wrist shot that deflected into the left side of the Stars net off the blocker of goalie Kari Lehtonen, who stopped 35 of 37 shots in the game.
“He was good for us tonight. He was solid,” Eakin said of Lehtonen. “He had a great game, got through traffic and made the important saves for us.”
New York lost left winger Matt Martin to a game misconduct 1:48 into the game after he kneed Dallas defenseman Trevor Daley inside the Stars zone. Martin was assessed a major penalty and a game misconduct.
Daley left the ice and headed to the dressing room on his own but did not return for Dallas.
Islanders coach Jack Capuano felt the call on Martin was a bit harsh.
“In my view, he (Daley) is planted and there was no intent,” he said. “First of all, he (Martin) is not that kind of a player. He’s an honest guy. It was a tweener for me. It’s unfortunate for both guys. Hopefully he (Daley) will be all right.”
Daley figures to miss some time for Dallas.
“I’d say weeks right now,” Ruff said.