Stars edge Wild to advance to second round

Sun Apr 24, 2016 8:48pm EDT
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(The Sports Xchange) - For the Dallas Stars, the drama and the highs and lows, if they result in a playoff series win, are all part of the process.

Dallas built a big lead Sunday afternoon and needed all of it to clinch its first-round playoff series with the Minnesota Wild.

First-period goals by John Klingberg, Jason Spezza and Patrick Sharp gave Dallas a commanding lead and helped withstand a furious Minnesota comeback, as the Stars beat the Wild 5-4, winning their best-of-seven series 4-2 and advancing to the second round.

Goalie Kari Lehtonen had 25 saves while Jamie Benn and Alex Goligoski added later goals as the Stars advanced past Round 1 for the first time since 2008.

"You have to win a series, and we found a way to win it," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "I thought the Wild played one heck of a series. There wasn't any quit in them. They came hard with five guys when they were down, they got a little life in this building and they made it tough."

Minnesota got 19 saves from goalie Devan Dubnyk, a pair of goals from defense men Jared Spurgeon and single goals from Jonas Brodin and Jason Pominville, making a spirited late charge after trailing 4-0.

"It was fun. It was a blast. But we didn't get the job done," said Wild interim head coach John Torchetti, who faces an uncertain future. "We can't be happy walking away, that's for sure. We should be playing, and it makes it tough for the summer."

Back-to-back penalties against the Wild gave Dallas more than a minute of a 5-on-3 power play. Dubnyk made a pair of highlight-reel saves, but Klingberg finally got the Stars on the board with a slap shot from the left circle after a cross-ice pass from Spezza. It was Klingberg's first goal of the playoffs, but his name is familiar to the Wild. In the regular season, Klingberg had a pair of overtime-winning goals versus Minnesota.

The Stars went up 2-0 before the first period was half over when Dubnyk stopped, but couldn't cover, a shot from the blue line. While the goalie was looking for the loose puck, Mattias Janmark got it to Spezza at the left of the net, and Spezza's backhand shot doubled the Dallas lead.   Continued...

Apr 24, 2016; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Dallas Stars forward Jason Spezza (90) reaches for a loose puck in the Wild zone during the first period against the Minnesota Wild in game six of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Xcel Energy Center.   Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports