Lehtonen, Stars win 3-0 in Game 3 over Ducks

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DALLAS (AP) - Kari Lehtonen stopped all 37 shots and the Dallas Stars clearly frustrated the top-seeded Anaheim Ducks.

Everything changed in this first-round series when the Stars got their first home playoff game in six years.

While Dallas captain Jamie Benn skated out of the penalty box to score first and 19-year-old rookie Valeri Nichushkin added a goal, Anaheim’s dynamic scoring duo of Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry probably had more punches than shots as the Stars won 3-0 in Game 3 Monday night.

“I’m pretty sure if you watch the scrums, our guys got punched in the face a few times,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “Eventually you’re going to punch back. … For us, we know we’ve got a good skating team and I think that we can frustrate.”

Ruff said it was “just playoff hockey.”

Lehtonen held up through five Anaheim power plays and had some tremendous stops to get his first career postseason victory.

“It was unbelievable. That’s Kari at his best,” Benn said. “He made some big saves at key times and kept us in the game and pretty much won that game for us.”

Game 4 is Wednesday night. And this best-of-seven series is now guaranteed Game 5 in Anaheim, where the Ducks opened the series with a pair of one-goal victories.

It had been 2,162 days since the Stars last hosted a playoff game, May 19, 2008, a 4-1 loss to Detroit in the clinching Game 6 of the Western Conference finals. This one ended with chants for Lehtonen, previously 0-4 in the playoffs (two losses with Atlanta in 2007) with a 4.58 goals-against average and .858 save percentage.

“I think in the first game I got scored on with the first shot and that just kind of sets the tone for the rest of the game. I was able to make a couple of good saves and it just kind of went from there,” Lehtonen said. “At the age of 30, it was about time to get that first one.”

Late in the second period, Getzlaf and Perry were exchanging punches with different Dallas players during a stoppage. Antoine Roussel delivered a roundhouse left to Getzlaf, the Anaheim captain wearing a half-visor to protect the stitches from taking a puck to the face in Game 1. Meanwhile, Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski and Perry were going at it.

Asked about the physical play, Getzlaf responded, “You’ve got to stay as disciplined as you can, but you have to protect yourself, too. I never expected them to target my face that much.”

Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau was pretty direct with how he felt.

“I guess you do anything to win, but it’s not something I think our team would do,” Boudreau said. “We’ll take them and be as mean and physical as we need to be.”

Lehtonen had a kick save near the end of the first power play in the final minute of the first period. That came right before Benn came out of the penalty box and skated toward the other end.

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