The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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January 26, 2014

Stars’ Lehtonen stops 24 to shut out Penguins

DALLAS — Kari Lehtonen made 24 saves for his second shutout in three games to lead the Dallas Stars to a 3-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.

Sergei Gonchar, Jamie Benn and Rich Peverley had Dallas’ goals, and Lehtonen also had an assist for the second consecutive game. The Stars have won their last three games by a combined 14-1 margin.

Gonchar had a power-play goal, his second score this season, with just under 5 minutes remaining in the first period against his former team. Dallas has scored with a man advantage in seven consecutive games.

Alex Goligoski, another former Penguins player, had an assist when Benn scored to make it 2-0 at 3:14 of the second.

Peverley closed the scoring a little more than 7 minutes later.

Lehtonen faced only 12 shots during the first two periods, before the Metropolitan Division-leading Penguins doubled their attempts in the third.

He stopped Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin point-blank 91⁄2 minutes into the third.

Dallas dominated the first period, with 10 shots on goal to Pittsburgh’s 4, and scored first.

Gonchar took a pass at the top of the slot from Ray Whitney on the right wing boards, and fired a high shot over Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. Lehtonen also received an assist on the score.

The Penguins’ Kris Letang went off for roughing at 1:14 of the second period. One second before the penalty expired, Benn took a pass from Goligoski in the right faceoff circle and shot over Fleury’s shoulder to make it 2-0.

The two power-play goals came against Pittsburgh’s league-leading unit, which entered the game with a streak of 11 successful penalty kills.

Midway through the second period, Shawn Horcoff stole the puck in the neutral zone and passed to Peverley, who skated into the right circle and shot into the upper right corner of the net with 9:40 remaining.

The Stars again outshot Pittsburgh in the second, 12-8.

Notes: Lehtonen leads NHL goalies with four assists this season. He has 31 in his career, with a high of six in 2010-11. ... Goligoski has five assists in his last three games. ... The Stars’ power-play streak is their longest since a seven-game run Dec. 11-23, 2010. They have improved from 29th in the league this season to 24th. ... Dallas’ penalty killers have succeeded on their last 15 opportunities, including four Saturday. ... Pittsburgh had won seven of the previous eight games against the Stars, dating back to 2003-04. ... Fleury had entered the game 6-0 with a 1.95 goals against average vs. Dallas. ... Defenseman Matt Niskanen’s career-high six-game point streak ended for Pittsburgh. ... Benn has nine points in the past seven games.

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