Coming off a big win against the Nashville Predators, the Dallas Stars were looking to take that momentum forward against the St. Louis Blues. The Blues were not in an accommodating mood, however, and played spoiler to the Stars' plans.
After a strong start where the Stars' third line of Eric Nystrom-Vernon Fiddler-Radek Dvorak spent most of their time in the offensive zone, the Stars legs started to look sluggish. The Blues, playing at home, cashed in on their first power play opportunity with Jamie Benn in the box for tripping. The Stars took a 1 goal deficit into the end of the first period.
The second period started off better, with several strong shifts with some sustained offensive pressure by the Stars. Mike Ribeiro then tied the game when he beat Jaroslav Halak five hole. That was the last point in the game where the Stars were tied on the scoreboard.
The Blues scored 2 goals in the second period, and then 2 more in the third to win the game 5-3. The Stars finally seemed to find their legs in the third period, and were able to cut the 4-1 game to a 4-3 score off of goals by Eric Nystrom and Michael Ryder. The Stars pulled their goalie with less than 2 minutes left in the third period, and Chris Stewart would pot the empy net goal and his second of the night to end the Stars' comback attempt.
More thoughts on the game after the jump.
Special teams, special teams, special teams. The Stars penalty kill used to be a time in the game where it was an almost given that the penalty was going to be killed. The penalty kill has been less than stellar over the past week, allowing two power play goals in each of the last four games. The Stars' penalty kill went 0-for-2 on the evening. The power play was unable to be an equalizer for the penalty kill problems, as the Stars did not cash in on either of their power play opportunities. The difference in the final score was two goals, and the Stars allowed two power play goals to one of the league's worst power play team.
Bachman had a rough game. The rookie goaltender for the Stars let in two goals that he assuredly would prefer to have back. He was starting his 8th game in a row, and let in a few 'soft' goals that is uncharacteristic from what we've seen from the young goalie in his stretch with the big club. Andrew Raycroft played the entire third period, and that was probably the correct call tonight. Raycroft kept the Stars in it enough to push back in the third period, with a decent 20 minutes of play. Also on the goalie front, the Stars will have a decision to make potentially this week when it comes to the backup goal tender position when Kari Lehtonen comes back from his groin injury. He is expected to play Thursday night versus the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Stars' defense misses Sheldon Souray and Stephane Robidas. The Stars were without two key pieces on the power play, the penalty kill, and at even strength with the two veteran defensemen out for tonight's game. With that pairing out, Adam Pardy and Mark Fistric were paired up and stepped up considerably well. Pardy had one of his strongest games to date, with strong defensive plays especially in the second period. Fistric brought his big body as well as some grit when the Blues and Stars started to get chippy after the whistles there in the third period. The two were paired well together, and had good communication with one another.
Turnovers lead to goals against. The Stars had some trouble getting through the neutral zone for much of the game. When they did get the puck, they also had a tendency to turn the puck over at their own blueline. One of those turnovers led to the Blues' first goal, and another turnover by Tom Wandell led to a prime scoring chance as well (which Richard Bachman bailed him out on.) The Stars did take advantage of some neutral zone cough-ups in the third period, one of which Jamie Benn was able to pass to Michael Ryder to place top shelf. The Stars' neutral zone play in the third period is more like what they have been usually playing like than the first or second in tonight's game.
Nystrom beats his NHL career high in goals. He scored his 12th goal tonight, topping his career high in goals of 11 scored in 82 games with the Calgary Flames in 2009-2010. He is only 5 points shy of his career high in points at 30 games played with the Dallas Stars so far this season.
Defending Big D's Three Stars of the Game:
1. Chris Stewart (STL)
2. David Perron (STL)
3. David Backes (STL)
08:24 - STL PPG Chris Stewart (6) Wrist Shot - Assists: David Backes (12) & Carlo Colaiacovo (10)
04:22 - DAL Mike Ribeiro (6) Wrist Shot - Assists: Alex Goligoski (5) & Steve Ott (12)
06:09 - STL Adam Cracknell (1) Wrist Shot - Assists: Scott Nichol (2)
19:57 - STL PPG Jason Arnott (8) Slap Shot - Assists: Patrik Berglund (7) & Kevin Shattenkirk (13)
06:43 - STL Evgeny Grachev (1) Wrist Shot - Assists: David Perron (7) & Patrik Berglund (8)
07:57 - DAL Eric Nystrom (12) Snap Shot - Assists: Radek Dvorak (13) & Vernon Fiddler (10)
14:47 - DAL Michael Ryder (14) Wrist Shot - Assists: Jamie Benn (23)
19:09 - STL ENG Christ Stewart (7) Wrist Shot - Assists: David Perron (8) & David Backes (13)