– by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief
DALLAS — The coaches of the Dallas Stars have had to encourage their defenseman to put more rubber toward the net and, on Friday, blue-liner Miro Heiskanen obliged as the Stars put an end to their losing skid.
Heiskanen scored two goals as Dallas’ defense unit scored half of their tallies in its 6-3 defeat of the Ottawa Senators, putting an end to a two-game losing streak. Fellow defenseman Gavin Beyreuther scored an empty-net goal to seal the victory.
The Stars piled on the pressure against Ottawa from the opening face-off, outshooting the Senators 54-33 as they came back from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits to eventually overwhelm the Senators.
“The last three games, the defensemen doesn’t have that [many] shots,” said Heiskanen, who scored his third and fourth goals of the season. “[The coaches] said to shoot the puck and we did and there was traffic. It was good.”
Despite the Stars holding a 19-8 shot advantage in the first period, it was Ottawa that went ahead first just 3:05 into the game on a Ryan Dzingel goal. The Stars tied it up midway through the period, as Jamie Benn scored his eighth of the season at 10:22.
Dallas’ dominance grew in the second, putting 24 shots on Senators goalkeeper Craig Anderson and allowing the Stars to recover from a Brady Tkachuk power-play goal earlier in the period to take a 3-2 lead going into the second intermission. At 12:45, Heiskanen scored his first goal of the game to tie the score and, with 1:02 remaining, Taylor Fedun’s backhand in front of the crease beat Anderson to give the Stars the lead for good.
Heiskanen doubled Dallas’ lead with a wrist shot at 4:40 of the third and, 92 seconds later, Blake Comeau scored for a 5-2 Stars’ advantage.
“It was amazing to witness how everybody on the bench was pulling for [a Heiskanen hat trick],” Stars coach Jim Montgomery said.
Ottawa scored twice in quick succession to cut Dallas’ lead back to one, as Maxime Lajoie’s goal at 10:36 and Zack Smith’s goal at 13:54 set up a grandstand finish before Beyruether’s empty-netter with 2:10 left in the game.
Anderson made 48 saves for the Senators as Ottawa has lost eight of its 10 road games this season, allowing at least five goals in seven of those contests.
“We can score goals, but we can’t prevent them from scoring against us,” Senators coach Guy Boucher said. “And until we’re better at that, it’s going to be tough on the road. At home, we’re able to match and hide some of our weaknesses. But on the road, it’s a lot tougher and we’re paying for it.”
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Friday’s game, with all photos taken by Dallas-area photographer Ross James. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 34 pictures in total.