DALLAS – Nico Hischier and Pavel Zacha scored 10 seconds apart in the third period, and the New Jersey Devils beat the Dallas Stars, 3-1, on Saturday.
Ty Smith also scored in the third for New Jersey, which had dropped five in a row. Fabian Zetterlund had two assists, and Nico Daws made 27 saves.
“We needed some good saves, and he made those saves for us,” Devils coach Lindy Ruff said.
Jake Oettinger made 20 stops, but the Stars missed out on a chance to strengthen their playoff positioning in the Western Conference. Dallas defenseman Ryan Suter scored his 100th career goal 13:31 into the second.
“That’s cool,” the 17-year veteran said, “but that’s not why I play the game. I don’t play for the points, but it’s about time. ”
Hischier said the biggest thing the team did going into the third period was being “a little bit more aggressive on the forecheck.”
Dallas had just six shots on goal in the third period.
“That wasn’t the game we needed to show up and play,” Suter said. “They came at us, they came hard, and weren’t ready for that.”
Stars coach Rick Bowness was more blunt: “We didn’t look like a team that wanted to make the playoffs. There wasn’t near enough desperation in our game. It’s everybody. They can’t point fingers because it was everybody. We didn’t have one person out there for me that played a good game. “
Smith tied it at 1 when he converted a wrist shot from the top of the right circle at 4:26. It was Smith’s fifth goal of the season.
Hischier, who matched his career high of 20 goals from his rookie season of 2017-18, put New Jersey ahead to stay with 1:11 left. He skated past the goal to the right, and then stepped back across to beat Oettinger for his 20th goal this season.
“I was trying to look for some passing options,” Hischier said, “but at the end I thought I could bring it to the net. That’s what I did, and luckily it went in. ”
Oettinger accepted blame.
“There’s a minute left in the game, and you need your goalie to step up and make big saves, and I wasn’t able to do that.”
After the faceoff, Zacha skated into the left faceoff circle and sent the puck into the net. It was Zacha’s 14th on the season.
The Stars had taken the lead on Suter’s seventh of the year, stopping a 0-for-13 drought on the power play. Suter scored with a wrist shot from the top of the left circle.
“Our 5-on-5 play was terrible today,” Bowness said. “So was the power play. I know they got a goal, but it was a faceoff and a shot that found its way in. ”
Dallas had been 3-1-1 in the previous five games.
“If we play like that, we’re going home in three weeks,” Bowness said. It’s as simple as that. ”