The Dallas Stars' top line hasn't been scoring. The Dallas Stars had lost six of seven on home ice. Their power play, at home in particular, has been league-worst.
So when the Stars were awarded a seven minute power play to begin the game when Zac Rinaldo foolishly ambushed Antoine Roussel, and didn't score, or even get much in the way of chances, it seemed many of their demons were rearing their ugly heads.
Then the second period happened.
Tyler Seguin would score to tie it up early in the second and then would add two more during a three-goal outburst in just 62 seconds later in the period.
Stars rookie Valeri Nichushkin scored one of them and had assists on the other, making him the first Stars rookie to have a three-point night since Jere Lehtinen did it in 1996, which is some petty nice company.
The sins of the power play were thusly covered en route to a nice 5-1 win over Philadelphia.
Dan Ellis was the surprise starter, though Kari Lehtonen seemed fine backing up on the bench, and spelled his number one well stopping 27 of 28 shots against.
It's a big two points with, once again, Chicago coming to town on Tuesday. The Stars now have points in six straight, and points in 16 of their last 20 games overall.
"I just think they're so predictable on their power play when they get set up now. It's stationary- easy for the four penalty killers just to hold ice. They're more dangerous off the rush. They get out-numbered in front of the net, too. Two Flyers, one Star."
Those were Darryl Reaugh's words this afternoon as a seven minute power play awarded to the Stars in the games opening moments was expiring and boos were raining down from those in attendance.
In all the Stars would spend 9 of the game's first 20 minutes on the power play, yet only out-shoot the Flyers by two en route to trailing 1-0 at the end of the frame.
Brenden Dillon was caught pinching down low and Valeri Nichushkin tried to cover on the back check but would lose a physical battle in front with Meszaros, who was able to poke his own rebound past a sprawled, and facing the wrong way, Dan Ellis.
Vern Fiddler would leave the ice and not return in the late stages.
Just before we could put their faces on milk cartons the Stars top line got back in business when Tyler Seguin gave up the puck to Jamie Benn, went to the net and received a beautiful return feed before beating Mason to knot the score at one.
It was a pinch by a defenseman, as Dillon did in the first, that led to the goal, and activity on that front by both sides continued. It made for exciting, but dangerous hockey, but as things settled down into 5-on-5 play the Stars had the better of the chances.
Late in the period good work by Nichushkin to win a couple of puck battles led to Tyler Seguin's second of the game when Goligoski found the Stars' number-one center open in the slot.
40 second later after a brief turn on the bench Seguin scored again after another puck battle won by Val Nichushkin allowed him to send one in from distance, and a Flyer defender tipped it past Mason while defending Jamie Benn.
22 seconds after that Seguin again entered the zone and left the puck for, who else, big Val, who beat Mason from the left circle to give Dallas a 4-1 lead.
And the mood after two couldn't possibly counterpoint the mood after one any more.
Ray Emery began play for the Flyers in the third and was tested sporadically as continuous, and rather uninspired play went on for long, long stretches as the game's decision seemed to have been made in that 1:02 stretch in the second.
Cody Eakin would add to the Flyers' woes late in the period when a Jordie Benn penalty put the Stars down a man, but Antoine Roussel was able to get loose in space with the puck before sending a saucer pass over a defender right to Eakin in the slot.
Then Philadelphia threw a bit of a tantrum right between the benches, sending Couterier off the ice and the mustachioed Downie was involved, chirping all the way.
The power play, the power play, the power play. The second period try had some pretty nice looks, though they didn't score- But against a better team, like any team in the West, for instance, not scoring on nine minutes of pp time in the first period likely dooms you.
This one will go down as the least attended Stars game in AAC history- due to extremely dangerous driving conditions in varying parts of the metroplex. The Stars invited those in the upper bowl to move down and the result looked good on television.
Tyler Seguin is 21. Val Nichushkin is 18.
The pinching was a concern and sure to be looked at on film. Connauton, Dillon and Oleksiak were all willing participants. Generating offense is great, but there's a give and a take there depending on the situation in the game, and the Stars were never in dire need of offense in this one.
We hold our breaths for Vern Fiddler news now. Another injury in what's been a really bad week for them.