The Dallas Stars made the most of their powerplay opportunities to overcome the Anaheim Ducks 3-1 in a spiteful Pacific Division encounter on Friday.
A total of 14 penalties were dished out, including 10 in the first period, in which the Stars (6-5-1) scored two unanswered goals with a man advantage to lay the foundations for the win.
"Our first periods have been pretty good this year. We've come out with some juice," Stars coach Glen Gulutzan told reporters.
"I think it's a little bit indicative of how we practice. We want to come out with a lot of tempo in our practices."
Brad Staubitz was the main offender for the visitors with Trevor Daley scoring in the ninth minute for the Stars with a sizzling slap-shot from distance while the Ducks winger served time for roughing.
Staubitz was soon back in the bad books, ejected from the game after spearing Brenden Dillon in the groin, allowing Stars left wing Jamie Benn to slot home from a tricky angle during the advantage.
Nick Bonino scored for Anaheim (7-2-1) with an expert deflection on a Luca Sbisa slap-shot in the second period to halve the deficit before Loui Eriksson restored the two-goal advantage with a little more than seven minutes remaining.
"Obviously they came out well and we didn't. We were in quicksand right off the bat and we didn't play very well in the first period," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said.
"You can't play 40 minutes in this league and win games, you have got to play the whole game."
The Ducks entered the contest on a four-game winning streak and remain top of the division but allowed the Stars to pull within two points.
They have little time to rest, however, continuing the road trip in St Louis on Saturday.
"I want them to have a long memory," Boudreau said.
"I want them to know they didn't come ready to play and what happens when you play good hockey clubs when you're not ready.
(Reporting by Ben Everill in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien)