Spezza helps Stars beat Wild and take control of series
(The Sports Xchange) - Jason Spezza scored a goal and assisted on another in the second period as the Dallas Stars rallied, twice, beating the Minnesota Wild 3-2 on Wednesday and taking a commanding lead in their first round playoff series.
With the Stars trailing 2-1 midway through the game, Spezza assisted on a Patrick Eaves power-play goal, then scored one of his own, giving Dallas a 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven playoff series.
Ales Hemsky also scored, and Antti Niemi had 28 saves in his first playoff start for the Stars, who were the top seed in the West. They can close out the series in Game 5 on Friday in Dallas.
Minnesota got goals from Jason Pominville and Charlie Coyle, taking 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the second period, but saw their momentum and the lead slip away.
Despite 19 saves from Devan Dubnyk, the Wild -- seeded eighth in the West -- have been pushed to the brink of elimination.
Minnesota dominated the third period, as Dallas was content to defend its lead.
The Wild out-shot the Stars 14-2, and had a 6-on-4 advantage for the final 84 seconds, after they pulled Dubnyk and Antoine Roussel of Dallas was whistled for high sticking. But the Wild could not get the equalizer.
The teams emerged scoreless from a first period that was not lacking in offensive chances in both ends of the rink.
Minnesota finally broke through at the 5:01 mark of the middle period, as the team's most effective line scored off a rush to the net. Continued...