Dallas Stars Squeak Out a Win Against Winnipeg Jets 2-1

Ray Whitney Skates

In a pretty even game, the Stars' powerplay tilted the ice in their favor, scoring 2 goals and putting away the Jets pretty early.

Razor's some kind of soothsayer, eh?

During the pregame show he mused that this would be a nice time for the mediocre Stars powerplay to get back on the board, and get back on the board they did.

1st Period

The game started with a lot of pace and both teams traded some good chances. After an early flurry into the Winnipeg zone, Kari Lehtonen came up big with a save on the equally big Dustin Byfuglien. Kari coming up big was going to become a theme of this game, like it will have to be for the rest of the season.

Early on, it looked like the Jets were going to control the play as they came out just a smidge faster than the Stars. Blake Wheeler in particular was flying during the first frame.

Then, a too many men on the ice penalty 4:17 into the game put the Stars on the power play and started to til the ice in their favor. After hitting the post on the rush, Ray Whitney collected a pass from Jamie Benn at the top of the right circle, took a couple of steps in, and blasted a slapshot past Al Montoya, who went down early on a shot he should have had. Either way, it was a wicked shot by the Wizard and the Stars' power play finally came through.

Kari was locked in from the very start, making some more great saves on Evander Kane, Dustin Byfuglien and one absolute beauty on a Blake Wheeler shot in tight off of a centering feed from Big Buff.

The Stars got another power play with around five minutes to go in the frame and did all they could to extend their lead to two, but a Valeri Nichushkin breakaway and a wicked shot from Sergei Gonchar couldn't pad their lead. Again, it looked like the Stars may have gone up 2-0 on a great chance for Alex Chiasson in tight, but he shot the puck wide and the Stars went into the first intermission up 1-0.

2nd Period

The second period started much like the first had. Both teams traded chances back and forth, with the Jets looking like the better team for the first few minutes.

After a great chance for Cody Eakin where he one timed the puck on the rush, the Jets got the puck deep in the Stars zone and started a cycle. It looked like the wheels were going to fall off for a bit as the Stars got caught chasing and looked discombobulated. Fortunately for them Kari was there to mop up their mistakes and made a three or four great saves on chances in tight.

The game slowed down a bit as both teams settled in and seemed to decide that a run and gun shootout wasn't worth it this late in the season. At one point Byfuglien stapled Vern Fiddler into the curved glass at the end of the Stars' bench and Fidds looked to be shaken up on the play, but he got right back at it and didn't miss a shift.

Big Buff was all over the place in the game, as a hooking penalty on Eakin with 4:04 left in the period sent the Stars to the power play. One pp goal on the night was already pretty good for the Stars given how their power play has been going lately, so it seemed like a dream when Tyler Seguin potted their second of the night.

After the Stars worked the puck down low to Jamie Benn on the goal line, Benn sent a great feed over to Seguin on the weak side. Seguin didn't get all of the puck, which rang off the post and landed in front of Al Montoya, where Alex Chiasson took a whack at it. On the ensuing scrum it seemed like the puck lay at Montoya's feet forever as the Winnipeg defenders went swimming around him, and finally Tyler Seguin pulled it out of the scrum and chipped it into the net for the 2-0 lead.

About a minute after that, Colton Sceviour put the Jets on the powerplay, but some great penalty killing and the crossbar saved the Stars, who went into the second intermission up 2-0 on two (2!) powerplay goals.

3rd Period

Again, the Jets came out with a bit more jump than the Stars, forcing an early Brenden Dillon icing, but nothing came of it. Then, at 15:38, Eakin took a hooking minor to give the Jets a chance of coming to within a shot. Jamie Benn had other ideas, however, as he carried the puck into the Jets zone shorthanded. While he was tied up by two Jets players, he left the puck in the slot where Ryan Garbutt pounced on it and tried to slam it passed Montoya, who made a huge save to keep the game within reach.

The rest of the third period was pretty uneventful. Sceviour hit Wheeler into the open Dallas Stars bench and it looked like Wheeler was injured, but he would be back on the ice in the dying minutes to try and tie the game up.

The Stars fell asleep a little bit at the very end of the game, and Alex Goligoski took a bit of a silly penalty with 2:59 to go. Fifteen seconds later, Evander Kane ripped a shot on net which Kari kicked out to Bryan Little, who slammed the puck home, bringing the game to within one shot.

The Stars seemed to wake up after that, however, and really locked the game down, not allowing the Jets any great chances on Kari in the final minute and some. Despite a couple of good opportunities for empty net goals from Antoine Roussel and Jamie Benn, the Stars couldn't ice the game, but ended up locking it down well enough to escape with a 2-1 win thanks to the power play and the biggest of Finns.

Notes
  • Alex Chiasson, Alex Chiasson, Alex Chiasson, what can I say? Early in his career he was shooting with a downright silly shooting percentage, and now it's starting to look like he'll finish his rookie campaign with an equally silly shooting percentage, but in the completely opposite way. It's good to see that he's still generating a lot of scoring chances, and he's been maybe the Stars' best forward outside of the dynamic duo for the last few weeks. Let's hope it's a bit like Reilly Smith syndrome and those pucks will start going in more and more next year, I have a feeling they just have to.
  • It was great to see Whitney put the Stars on board first. Not only was it the first time in 4 or 5 games that the Stars scored first, they got the goal from Whitney - which counts as secondary scoring at this point.
  • Jordie Benn has really impressed me over the last few games, and tonight was no exception. The elder Benn had another really solid game tonight, as did most of the Stars' D. Gonchar was moving the puck crisply and fast, Rome made some good plays in his own end, and the Daley-Goligoski pair continues to look pretty great out there. If they can get back to how they were playing coming out of the Olympic break, the Stars should have a great shot at the playoffs.
  • The Stars power play won a game! Someone in the GDT over at Reddit asked if this is what seeing a unicorn was like. And if that's true, I hope we see more unicorns for the rest of the season.
  • On the flip side of that, the Stars didn't score at all even strength. It's excused in this game because the power play came up big, but it's a bit concerning because they also didn't generate any amazing chances even strength. They had some good shots, no doubt, but there weren't really any plays where Al Montoya had to really stand on his head. He made some sharp saves, but I don't think you can say he really robbed the Stars at any point today.
  • Alex Goligoski wasn't super noticeable tonight, which is a good thing for D-men, but that was a stupid penalty to take at the end of the game. In general it looked like the Stars kind of went to sleep and assumed they had the win in the bag until Little scored that goal. They really can't do that anymore if they want to get into the playoffs.
  • I'm at a point with Val Nichushkin where sometimes I just wish he'd fire the puck high and wide sometimes. I love the kid and I think he's going to be a beast, but how has nobody on the coaching staff or on the team not talked to him about elevating the puck. "You have to elevate if you want to accumulate" - some random person.
  • Did you know Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin are good? Yeah, they're pretty alright I would say.
  • This was a big win, though, and runs the streak to 2 games. With Phoenix's overtime loss to the Rangers tonight, the Stars are now 1 point behind with a 1-0 game in hand. Let's keep it rolling.
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