Eakin scores in OT, Stars beat Islanders 3-2 to stop skid
DALLAS (AP) Cody Eakin pumped up the deflated Dallas Stars with an overtime goal after the New York Islanders tied the game with 2 seconds left in the third period.
''I thought we were playing well enough to win in regulation,'' Eakin said after Dallas' 3-2 victory snapped a six-game losing streak Tuesday night. ''So it was deflating, but it's nice to get that extra one at the end.''
Eakin took a pass from Jamie Benn on a 2-on-1 break and beat goalie Jaroslav Halak 2:18 into overtime. The goal gave the Stars their first overtime victory in eight games this season, and their first at home in more than three years.
''The D man fell, (John Klingberg) made a nice pass up to Benn, and Benn made a great pass over to me and I just slapped it,'' Eakin said.
Anders Lee tied it for New York in the waning seconds when his shot from the left-wing boards hit defender Jordie Benn's skate and eluded goalie Kari Lehtonen.
On the Stars' bench, coach Lindy Ruff said, ''Unbelievable.''
''With a couple of adjectives in front of it,'' he added later.
''Jordie Benn played as well as he's played all year, and to have the puck go off his skate ... I shook my head,'' Ruff said.
Josh Bailey scored for the Islanders in the first period.
Brett Ritchie and Vernon Fiddler scored on third-period rebounds as Dallas rallied for a 2-1 lead.
Lehtonen made 35 saves for the Stars, who were 0-4-2 in their previous six games. Four nights earlier, Ruff had criticized the goalie's play.
''We talked a little bit, but I understood his angle,'' Lehtonen said. ''The message was I have to be better.''
Ruff said: ''Kari was under the weather and still wanted to play. He made a couple of real big saves when we needed in those last couple periods. Real good performance.''
Halak stopped 32 shots but the Islanders lost their second consecutive game. They lead the Metropolitan Division by one point over the rival New York Rangers, though the Rangers have three games in hand.
''Even if we didn't get the break with 1-point-whatever seconds left, we deserved the point,'' Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. ''We played hard. It's a good point for us here against a good team.''
The Islanders killed off a 5-minute power play following Matt Martin's major penalty and game misconduct at 1:48 for kneeing Dallas' Trevor Daley, who left the ice and did not return.
Ruff said Daley would miss ''weeks'' and, ''that's a suspension.''
Capuano said: ''In my view, he's planted and there was no intent.''
Bailey scored at 15:25 of the first period. Brock Nelson, left alone behind the net near the left corner, passed across to Ryan Strome, unattended on the right side. He passed out front to Bailey, who shot across Lehtonen's body into the upper left of the net.
The Stars tied the game 1-all at 2:24 when Ritchie put in the rebound of Jyrki Jokipakka's shot off Halak's pads.
Fiddler scored at 7:28. Ryan Garbutt's shot from the high slot hit the glass behind the net and bounced out on the left side. Fiddler put the puck behind Halak.
Neither team scored on the power play. Dallas was 0 for 5, and New York was 0 for 3.
NOTES: Dallas had not won in overtime at home since Feb. 26, 2012, against Vancouver. ... Stars rookie D Patrik Nemeth returned after missing 52 games because of a cut on his arm. ... Islanders C Tyler Kennedy, acquired Monday in a trade from San Jose, was a late scratch. G Michal Neuvirth, traded at the deadline from Buffalo, did not play. ... New York has killed off 28 of 32 penalties (88 percent) in the last 11 games. ... The Islanders had won three in a row against Dallas. ... Lehtonen allowed 14 goals in his previous three games - all losses, two in overtime.