The Dallas Stars played their first game of a season-opening road trip in style with a 6-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night.
Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen stopped 24 of 24 shots in a 5-2 win that helped the Stars earn a 3-2 shootout victory.
Lehtonens team-leading six wins in a row has them within two points of the Central Division-leading Chicago Blackhawks and the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
“It’s going to be a tough trip,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said.
“We’re going to try to keep up and keep up with the pace of play, and try to find a way to score goals.
We’re definitely going to keep trying to do that.”
The Stars were 0-3-1 on the road this season.
They have lost three straight and nine of their past 10.
Dallas will face the Nashville Predators at 6 p.m.
ET Friday (NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports).
It’s the second game of three back-to-back road trips for the Stars (7-5-1).
They host the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.
“I think we’ll just have to stay positive and hope that we have a great result, and that we come out on the other end,” Stars forward Tyler Seguin said.
Dallas leads the Central by two points with four games in hand, and has three of its last five on the homestand.
The Wild (3-8-1) is a point behind Dallas with five games in the bag.
They are two games behind the Stars for the final playoff spot in Western Conference play.
The Stars are 10-4-1 in their past 14 games against teams in the Central.
“That’s our team,” Stars winger Patrick Sharp said.
“[We] just have some guys who are hungry and want to win.”
The Wild has won four of five in Minnesota, including two in overtime.
Wild coach Mike Yeo has been pleased with his team’s play, particularly its power play.
“The guys have played well in regulation, they have been efficient, they’re putting up big goals,” Yeo said.
Wild forward Mikko Koivu, who leads the team with 10 points, was among the players who were impressed with his performance.
“Mikko is a real strong player and he’s been a big part of our success this season,” Yeos said.
Stars forward Jason Spezza (lower body) was in the lineup for the first time since Feb. 17 and played a combined seven:11 with a goal and four assists.
Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski (lower back) was out.
“When you’re in the playoffs, you have to be ready to play and play hard,” Stars defenseman Jordie Benn said.
The Blackhawks (5-6-1), on the verge of winning for the fourth time in six games, are on the short end of a two-game losing streak.
They lost 3-1 to the New York Islanders on Tuesday.
“There’s a lot of good teams in this league that can play a game,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said.
Chicago is 2-6 in the last seven meetings between the teams.
“They’ve played well, they’ve been tough, and they’ve had some good periods,” Stars center Antoine Roussel said.
Quennevilles team has won seven of its past eight games against the Wild.
“Obviously, it’s the first game back,” Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp added.
“But the game against the Rangers was one of the best games we’ve had this year.
The way we played in the second period was the way we play in the game, and it’s a confidence thing, a rhythm thing, and I think that’s the key to winning.”
The Blackhawks have won four straight and eight of their last nine games against Minnesota.
The teams have played 11 games this season in their own rink.
Dallas is 2,746-1-1 against the Western conference and is 6-0-1 at the American Airlines Center.
The two teams last played Jan. 28.
The Rangers are 2-7-0 against the Central division, and have not won in regulation since Nov. 5, 2005.
They won the series 4-3 in seven games in 2015.
Dallas was 2-0 on the power play in its past three games, with six shots on goal.