DETROIT -- Chris Osgood will have to wait to join the 400 club thanks to the surprising Dallas Stars, a team some didn’t think had much of a chance to make the playoffs this season.
Instead the Stars’ impressive come-from-behind 4-3 win in overtime Sunday night at Joe Louis Arena moved them to within one point of Osgood’s Detroit Red Wings for the top spot in the Western Conference standings.
Loui Eriksson's goal with 41.2 seconds remaining in the extra period spoiled Osgood’s first chance to log his 400th career win, despite the Wings holding two leads in the game and leading 3-2 for the first 16:46 of the third period. It was the second road win in as many days for the Stars, who downed Columbus 2-1 on Saturday night.
The Stars (20-10-3) are now 4-1-1 in six games since losing a tough one at Chicago on Dec. 8 -- with three of those wins in overtime.
“It does say a lot about our team,” said Brenden Morrow, whose second goal of the game tied it 3-3 with 3:14 left in regulation. “It would have been nice to do it in regulation. We’re just tightening that Western Conference right now with all those points.”
Widening the picture on the season, Dallas is 10-3-2 in its last 15 games.
“We’ve just found ways over the past three weeks or so (to stay) in games,” said Morrow, who was also credited for tying the game 2-2 with just 2:03 left in the first period on a redirection of a shot by defenseman Trevor Daley. “This one could’ve been easy to let get away from us. We just hung around and pounced when we got the opportunities.”
Eriksson capitalized on the last of those opportunities with less than a minute left in overtime. He led a 3-on-1 break into the Detroit zone with just Niklas Kronwall back. Coming down the left side, Eriksson held onto the puck and beat Osgood on a wrister for the winning goal.
It was Eriksson’s 14th goal of the season and his third point of the game. Brad Richards also scored for Dallas, which now heads home for five of its next six games.
“We’ve put together a good run here for sure,” Richards said. “We saw a lot of good things last year. We’ve got a young team, so be patient with it. We’ve got everybody back. Everybody’s the same except for Adam Burish, so we’ve kept building on that team chemistry.”
Pavel Datsyuk, Patrick Eaves and Johan Franzen scored for the Red Wings (20-8-4), who’ve now dropped three of their last four and are 4-4-2 in their last 10 contests. Datsyuk and Franzen each added an assist to finish with Detroit’s only multi-point games.
Dropping this game hurt more than normal, though.
Before Friday’s game in Chicago, Red Wings players lobbied Detroit coach Mike Babcock to not start Osgood against the Blackhawks and instead let him get a shot to win his 400th game at home on Sunday.
They nearly got it done, but costly turnovers late in the third and overtime cost them dearly.
“It’s disappointing,” said Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom, who finished with a minus-1 rating on the heels of an uncharacteristic minus-3 at Chicago on Friday. “I thought we had a pretty solid game, but we had pretty constant turnovers late in the game that they tied the game on and then got the game-winner in overtime on. We wanted to get the win (for Osgood) and that makes it even more disappointing, when you’re that close.”
Morrow's goal in the third came after a turnover by Detroit defenseman Brian Rafalski in his own zone and another Detroit turnover late in overtime led to the break that Eriksson capped with the game-winner.
It stung all the Red Wings -- including Osgood, who said he wasn’t watching the clock wind down late in the third. Still, he knows there will be other chances this season to get the milestone win he’s coveted for awhile now.
“We’ve got plenty season left,” said Osgood, whose 399 career wins ranks him 10th all-time among NHL goaltenders. “If it was April I’d be a little concerned, but it’s not. For sure, it’s disappointing. I was really hoping to do it tonight. It was obviously disappointing, especially with three minutes left in the game.”
Don’t, however, expect Osgood or the Wings to lobby for him to start over Jimmy Howard at home on Wednesday against Vancouver.
“Once you get one chance, you can’t let it dictate what the team’s doing,” he said. “Whenever it happens it happens. If it happens at home, it does. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.”
Osgood also winced because Detroit built an early 2-0 lead in the first.
Datsyuk got it started with his 12th goal of the season during a power play just 3:42 into the game for a quick 1-0 lead. After collecting the puck in the slot, he kicked it to his stick and backhanded a shot from just inside the right circle that deflected into the net off the leg of Stars defenseman Nicklas Grossman.
Eaves then made it 2-0 at 12:25 of the first by putting a rebound of a blast from the point by Kronwall past Andrew Raycroft for his seventh marker of the season.
Dallas quickly countered when Richards cut it to 2-1 with 6:04 left in the first -- firing a shot from the high point that hit a skate just to the left of the Detroit goal and eluded Osgood. Morrow’s first goal then tied it 2-2 on a Dallas power play with 2:03 left in the first. While screening Osgood, Morrow got a stick on Daley’s slap shot from the high slot. The deflection beat Osgood high to the glove side.
It stayed 2-2 until late in the second, when Franzen gave Detroit a 3-2 lead with just 17 seconds left in the period. He launched a shot from the high slot through a screen in front by Tomas Holmstrom that found the upper left corner of the net.
Osgood and Raycroft (28 saves) both traded stops in the third to keep it that way until the late Dallas comeback.