Nate Thompson and Ryan Kesler each scored a short-handed goal, John Gibson made 25 saves and the Anaheim Ducks defeated the Dallas Stars 3-1 on Sunday night to return to the top of the Pacific Division.
Ryan Getzlaf added an empty-net goal as Anaheim moved one point ahead of the Los Angeles Kings.
Radek Faksa scored with 1:29 remaining in the third period and Antti Niemi stopped 22 shots as Dallas’ four-game winning streak ended. The Stars lead St. Louis by two points for the Central Division title and home-ice advantage in the Western Conference playoffs.
Dallas (48-23-9) has two games left in the regular season. St. Louis has three.
After more than 30 minutes of even play characterized by both teams’ inability to capitalize on promising chances, Thompson finally broke the deadlock. John Klingberg attempted a blind, backhand pass in the neutral zone that was easily picked off by Thompson, who scored on a backhand 12:14 into the second period.
It was Thompson’s third goal of the season —and third in three games, setting a career-best scoring streak.
Kesler came through with the Ducks’ seventh short-handed goal of the season 10 seconds into the third. Jakob Silfverberg snagged a poor pass by Patrick Sharp behind the net and fed Kesler between the circles, where he put the puck in over Niemi’s glove hand.
It was the first time Anaheim scored two short-handed goals in one game since March 3, 2015, at Arizona.
The Ducks would have doubled their advantage earlier if not for some impressive glove work by Niemi in the second period. After Ryan Garbutt barreled in on goal and put a shot into Niemi’s chest, Silfverberg’s shot off the loose rebound somehow ended up under the goalie’s left arm.
After staging a third-period comeback for a 3-2 win over the Kings on Saturday, the Stars’ intensity carried over to hold the Ducks without a shot for the opening 6:45 of the game.
However, a Dallas power play that has converted on 22.1 percent of its chances this season could not crack the Ducks’ league-leading penalty kill on any of its four opportunities.
First Period—None. Penalties—Fowler, Ana (hooking), 1:21; Eakin, Dal (cross-checking), 6:58; Horcoff, Ana (tripping), 17:03; Roussel, Dal (roughing), 19:44; Getzlaf, Ana (roughing), 19:44.
Second Period—1, Ana, Thompson 3, 12:14 (sh). Penalties—Cogliano, Ana (tripping), 11:20; Stoner, Ana (tripping), 18:51.
Third Period—2, Ana, Kesler 19 (Silfverberg), :10 (sh). 3, Dal, Faksa 5 (Spezza, Roussel), 18:32. 4, Ana, Getzlaf 13 (Kesler), 19:38 (en). Penalties—Dal bench, served by Sharp (too many men), 10:49. Shots on Goal—Dal 10-7-8—25. Ana 7-9-9—25. Power plays—Dal 0 of 4; Ana 0 of 2. Goalies—Dal, Niemi 24-13-7 (24 shots-22 saves). Ana, Gibson 20-12-3 (25-24). A—16,585 (17,174). T—2:24.