Tyler Seguin, John Klingberg, and Dan Hamhuis scored goals for the Stars, who have won five games in a row for the first time this season.
“It wasn’t a clean game,” Stars coach Ken Hitchcock said, “But it was a gutsy effort.”
It was also a stunning loss for the Penguins, who came into the game undefeated when leading after two periods (17-0-1). Conversely, the Stars had not won a game this season when trailing heading into the third (0-14-1).
The Penguins have not won in Dallas since Feb. 29, 2012.
Beginning the third period with a 2-1 lead, the Penguins yielded the tying goal to John Klingberg just 2:46 into the frame. After the Klingberg goal, Pittsburgh struggled to stop the Dallas onslaught.
Four minutes later, defenseman Dan Hamhuis beat Penguins goaltender Matt Murray over the blocker with a slap shot from the left point to give the Stars their first lead of the night at 3-2. Murray finished the night with 33 saves.
But Pittsburgh never gave up. Head coach Mike Sullivan pulled Murray with 1:58 remaining for the extra attacker. The move paid off when defenseman Justin Schultz beat Lehtonen over the left shoulder with a wrist shot from near the left circle with 1:13 remaining.
The goal sent throngs of Penguins fans in attendance into a frenzy.
The game then went into overtime. While both teams excel at 3-on-3 hockey, neither team was able to generate any high-quality scoring chances. The game remained tied at three, forcing the two sides into a shootout.
It was there that Lehtonen shined.
“I’m sure they were looking at [the two first goals]and thinking shooting was the way to score,” Lehtonen said. “So, I decided to stay a little more out and a little more patient rather than flow backward, which is what I usually do.”
After stopping Evgeni Malkin on Pittsburgh’s first shootout attempt, Penguins captain Sydney Crosby rang a shot off the crossbar. After a goal by Seguin, Lehtonen made a blocker save on Phil Kessel to seal the victory.
Pittsburgh’s top scoring trio of Crosby, Malkin, and Kessel managed only one combined point. Hitchcock credited Radek Faksa’s line for shutting down one of the most dangerous trios in the NHL.
“Faksa did a job,” Hitchcock said. “That line has done the job for two months now. Radek did a heck-of-a-job. That’s a big load for that line.”
With the win, the Stars stay one point back of the St. Louis Blues in the Central Division. St. Louis defeated Winnipeg 5-2 earlier in the evening.
Despite eventually earning the win, early on the Stars looked like a team that had played the night before. After the game in Chicago on Feb. 8, the Stars had to improvise their travel plans when a snowstorm came through the Chicago area. The Stars did not arrive back in Dallas until 3:30 a.m.
“I woke up today and just went to the game,” Klingberg said. “That”s just how it was.”
Pittsburgh looked like a team that hadn’t played since Feb. 6. Riley Sheahan opened the scoring at 9:07 of the first period. Stars defenseman Stephen Johns made an ill-fated attempt to stand-up the Penguins in the offensive zone, allowing Sheahan to skate free down the left side. Flying up ice, Sheahan blew by Klingberg, and slid a puck between Lehtonen’s legs.
Less than a minute later with Dallas on a 4-on-3 power play, Klingberg made an errant pass that was picked off by Carl Hagelin, who beat Lehtonen on a breakaway to make the score 2-0 10:54.
After that, Lehtonen and the Dallas defense kept the Penguins off the scoreboard until Schultz’ goal late in the third.
Dallas rebounded just before the end of the period when Benn found Seguin from the right corner for a point-blank tap in to make the score 2-1.
“We started off the game making mistakes,” Klingberg said. “My own there, too. It was a tough way to start a game, but we showed character coming back in this game.”
Stars: Dallas has Sunday off before welcoming the Vancouver Canucks to Dallas on Sunday, Feb. 11.
Penguins: Pittsburgh continues their swing through the Central Division with a Sunday, Feb. 11 matchup in St. Louis.