ANAHEIM, Calif. —First-round flops the past three years, the Dallas Stars are on a roll against the defending Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks.
“It’s been a couple years going through some heartache and upsets and not meeting expectations. You come back every year trying to redeem yourself,” Dallas’ Mike Modano said after the Stars beat the Anaheim Ducks 5-2 on Saturday night to take a 2-0 series lead.
Modano and Brad Richards scored 55 seconds apart in the third period as the Stars, after letting the Ducks come back from a two-goal deficit, pulled away to take another one-sided victory.
They dominated the Ducks 4-0 in the series opener two nights earlier.
Heading home for games Tuesday and Thursday, the Stars said that after winning the opener, they weren’t going to be satisfied with a split in Anaheim.
“We’ve all been on teams where we take a breath after winning one on the road and you are happy with a split. We tried to forget it as quick as we could and we just kept plugging away,” said Richards, a valuable late-season addition who came to Dallas from Tampa Bay in a Feb. 26 trade.
“Our mind-set wasn’t on a split,” Stars coach Dave Tippett said. “We won the first one, we had the same mind-set for the second one.”
The Ducks, meanwhile, certainly haven’t played like champions.
“We are all guilty of not playing as good as we can right now,” goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere said. “I’m not making the saves, we’re not playing well defensively and not scoring enough goals.
“All together, it’s pretty ugly out there.”
Modano scored on a slap shot from the blue line during a power play at 5:47. Shortly afterward, Richards wristed a shot from the right circle between Giguere’s pads.
Mike Ribeiro had a goal and two assists for the Stars. Loui Eriksson capped the scoring with 5:24 left to play after assisting on Richards’ goal.
“We came out with the first goal and I think that was big,” said Ribeiro, who opened the scoring on a breakaway. “They battled back and we stuck with the game plan and it worked.”
Dallas’ Marty Turco made 20 saves, and Giguere had 25.
The Ducks began the third period on a power play and seemed to have the momentum after scoring twice to draw even. But the Stars killed the power play, then took control of the game.
“It was a great (third) period,” Turco said. “It was one that was intense and great to see us come out on top and convincingly in that period.
“Two wins, we’re halfway there.”
Modano’s shot sailed over Giguere’s left shoulder for his first goal of the series. Richards quickly gave them a two-goal pad when Eriksson saw him all alone and made a cross-ice pass.
Travis Moen’s goal at 16:19 of the second had tied it at 2. Teemu Selanne finally got one past Turco, on a power play at 3:41 of the second period to close the gap to 2-1 with Anaheim’s first goal of the series.
Jere Lehtinen put Dallas up 2-0 with his second goal of the series, knocking in a rebound of a shot by Stephane Robidas on a power play at 1:28 of the second period.
Ribeiro, who had a pair of assists in the first game, scored the first goal in Game 2 with a fine individual effort. He started the scoring play with his defense, intercepting a pass by Francois Beauchemin in the Dallas zone, then finished it with a perfect shot to beat Giguere.
He skated between Beauchemin and Scott Niedermayer, knocked the puck up the ice, chased it down and broke away. Bearing down on Giguere, Ribeiro feinted to his left, veered across the crease and beat the goalie with a backhander to the glove side.