Jason Robertson’s team-leading 41st goal broke a tie midway through the third period against Anaheim’s emergency goaltender, and the Dallas Stars earned some momentum for the playoffs with a 4-2 win over the visiting Ducks on Friday night.
Defenseman Thomas Harley recorded his first NHL goal, fellow blue-liner Joel Hanley also scored and Vladislav Namestnikov added an empty-netter for the Stars (46-30-6, 98 points), who concluded the regular season on 3-0-1 stretch. Dallas will open the playoffs on Tuesday against the Calgary Flames.
Robertson finished his stellar second full NHL season with a career-high 79 points.
The go-ahead power-play goal, on which the puck deflected off Anaheim’s Andrej Sustr and off the glove of fill-in goalie Tom Hodges, came with 10:04 remaining in regulation.
Hodges, who played at SMU and for the ECHL’s Allen Americans in 2016-17, began the third period for Anaheim. Ducks starting goalie John Gibson left due to an upper-body injury after stopping all five shots in the first period, and Anthony Stolarz, who saved eight of 10 shots, endured a lower-body issue during the second.
Wearing a No. 68 sweater without a name plate and a Dallas Stars helmet, Hodges stopped two of three shots in his first NHL action.
Max Comtois and Troy Terry scored for the Ducks (31-37-14, 76 points), who closed a fourth straight season without a playoff appearance amid a 4-15-5 rut.
Anaheim opened the scoring 7:33 into the contest. Jamie Drysdale drove a shot from the point, where the puck deflected off teammate Sam Steel’s stick, then off Comtois’ foot and even got a piece of Dallas’ Esa Lindell before finding its way past Stars netminder Jake Oettinger (19 saves).
Dallas tied the game 3:13 into the second period. On the transition, Harley trailed the play to an open spot in the slot, where he ripped the puck by Stolarz to finally score in his 34th NHL contest.
Less than two minutes later, off an Anaheim turnover, Hanley delivered a successful snap shot to give Dallas a 2-1 lead.
With 4:19 to play in the middle period, Terry took a pretty behind-the-back pass from Adam Henrique and buried the puck to tie the game at 2-2.
–Field Level Media
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