The Ducks hit the halfway mark of the season with a three-game winning streak, a small accomplishment for a team that had been expected to compete for the division title but a bit of consolation after all of their missteps so far.
Saku Koivu’s backhander at 9:32 of the third period, set up when Teemu Selanne drew two Dallas defenders to him, broke a tie and Matt Beleskey scored off the rebound of a shot by Andrew Cogliano to give the Ducks a 5-2 victory over the Stars before a season-low crowd of 12,152 at Honda Center. Koivu, who had also scored in the first period, finished off his second career hat trick by scoring into an empty net with 53.7 seconds to play.
In winning three straight games for the first time since early October, the Ducks improved their record to a slightly-less-terrible 13-22-6 for 32 points after 41 games. That’s still among the worst in the NHL and well short of the 20-17-4 record and 44 points they had halfway through last season, but the Stars are a solid team and the Ducks’ performance against them should provide a better measure of where they stand than they gained in beating Columbus and the New York Islanders.
In a mild surprise, the Ducks started goaltender Jeff Deslauriers, his first NHL appearance since April 11, 2010 when he was with Edmonton—a game he lost here to the Ducks, 7-2. He was called up Tuesday because goalie Jonas Hiller (lower-body injury) wasn’t able to skate in practice and therefore couldn’t play, and because usual backup Dan Ellis is expected to miss several weeks because of a groin strain. Iiro Tarkki, who played in relief of Hiller on Sunday, was Deslauriers’ backup on Tuesday.