Glen Gulutzan said that they have to be better. The Dallas Stars showed they can be better early in the first period, jumping out to a quick two goal lead over the Columbus Blue Jackets. In a game that is another in a long line of must-wins for a team that hopes to make the playoffs for the first time in three seasons, the Stars dominated the first period of play. They had crisp passes, odd man rushes, and finished their scoring chances. Jamie Benn led off the scoring less than two minutes in, setting the tone for how the game would go early for Dallas. Alex Goligoski added another tally about three minutes later to lead the Stars to an early 2-0 lead.
Then the second period came. In a period where the Stars have struggled this season and are often outplayed, the defense broke down and Columbus pulled within one goal. Vinny Prospal had a redirect goal in front on Columbus' first powerplay of the game. Rick Nash scored another powerplay tally in the second to make the score 3-2.
The Dallas Stars would play some strong defense in the third to shut down the momentum the Blue Jackets had been building on in the second and hang on for a much needed win.
More thoughts on the game after the jump.
- Kari Lehtonen came up with some HUGE saves late in the third period with Columbus shooting a flurry of shots to try to tie the game up. He's back to early season MVP form.
- Michael Ryder had a golden look at the net and some great scoring chances again tonight. His backchecking and forechecking has also been pretty decent lately.
- Alex Goligoski and Stephane Robidas gave the Stars some great depth scoring from the blueline, each with two point nights apiece (one goal, one assist.)
- Jamie Benn scored an empty net goal to seal the win at the end of the third period. I mention this fact only because it seems that the Stars often cannot score an empty net goal when they have the opportunity.
- Dallas is undefeated when leading after two periods, with a 15-0 record. There are only four teams in the NHL that can claim that stat currently. The Boston Bruins, Washington Capitals, and Vancouver Canucks are the other three teams.
- The Stars have a -18 goal differential in their second periods - they've scored 40 goals in second periods so far this season and teams have scored 58 goals against them in the same frame.
- Dallas took three minors in a four minute span in the second period, which led to the Blue Jacket's comeback attempt. The penalty kill was not very good tonight, and the powerplay didn't capitalize tonight either. Not a good game on the special teams aspect.
- Tomas Vincour saw time on the top line tonight, and scored the primary assist on Alex Goligoski's goal. He had over 12 minutes of ice time, a big jump from the 4-6 minutes he was averaging prior to tonight.
- Jeff Carter had eight shots on Lehtonen. The Stars let him take his shots and were lucky he didn't connect on any of them or this game could have been a very different story.