It was always going to be an emotional one as the Dallas Stars and the Anaheim Ducks faced each other for the first time since that highly charged playoff series last April. There were new faces on both sides since then but the intensity was as high as ever.
The Dallas Stars are not going to be happy with a particularly poor performance tonight as they struggled to put pucks on the net. It was only until the third period and overtime that they were able to take advantage of the Ducks having played the night before.
The Stars were probably quite lucky to get away with a point in this one. The 'Super Line' was frustrated throughout most of the game and the depth scoring wasn't there to help out.
The Ducks weren't haunted from the ghosts of their second game in two nights as they started the game looking energetic. They dominated possession early in the game, penning the Stars in their own zone for a good chunk of the first ten minutes. Erik Cole's big hit on Patrick Maroon three minutes in caused a big cheer from the crowd but was one of the few moments the Stars gave the crowd early in the game.
A delayed penalty on Tyler Seguin resulted in a man advantage for the Ducks. Seguin's penalty would be his third on the season and it took the Stars a minute to touch the puck. The powerplay for the Ducks wasn't much prettier for the Stars.
They pinned the Stars in their own zone and used their, literally, big powerplay to cycle and fire shots at Kari Lehtonen. During a battle out front Kesler was called for a minor penalty against Dillon. The Stars had survived that powerplay.
The following 40 seconds of 4-4 was particularly poor for the Stars. As Razor said, "It looks like a powerplay, but it's not." The Stars own powerplay wasn't impressive and the best opportunity was Jakob Silfverberg's shorthanded opportunity which left Kari and the defence scrambling.
Later on in the first period the Stars offense started to get more chances but the Stars still felt slightly disjointed. Too many missed passes and bad positioning meant that when the Stars broke into the zone not much could be made of it.
The Stars went down to five defenseman late in the first as Alex Goligoski went to the changing room. He had gone into the boards quite hard after delivering a hit on an Anaheim forward. Antoine Roussel would give up another powerplay opportunity to the Ducks after he was given a unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The Ducks powerplay wasn't able to connect and the Stars were able to get a some shorthanded pressure.
The first period ended with a Stars powerplay after Tim Jackman took some liberties with Kari Lehtonen, slashing his mask and taking the two minute minor penalty. Jakob Silfverberg would have another good shorthanded opportunity with less than half a minute left in the first period.
The second period started off with some good news for the Stars as Goligoski returned to the bench after heading to the changing rooms late in the first period. The powerplay was an improvement for the Stars with Jason Spezza having a good chance which was saved by Frederik Andersen.
Roussel and Corey Perry would both get minors a few minutes into the second. Antoine Roussel for high sticking and Perry for embellishment as he threw himself across the ice. Perry was given a warm welcome to the penalty box with a chorus of boos.
Josh Manson's delay of game penalty four minutes into the second would lead to the Stars third powerplay of the game. The Stars would have some trouble getting into the zone to set up to begin with but were able to put on some extended pressure. The Ducks were still able to get off a couple of good shorthanded opportunities.
Colton Sceviour would get a couple of good chances but Duck's netminder Frederik Andersen would managed to stone his attempts at close range. The Ducks would answer with a few good quality chances themselves which resulted with a big scramble in Kari Lehtonen's crease. Jamie Oleksiak would take a holding penalty at the side of the net and just like that the Duck's were back on the powerplay.
The Ducks weren't able to do anything with it and had trouble setting it up, at one point Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Ryan Kesler collided at the Dallas blueline. A few minutes later Erik Cole would draw an interference call off Anaheim's Hampus Lindholm. That powerplay was an end to end affair with chances at both ends.
The Stars would take their fifth penalty of the game when Kevin Connauton was called for holding the stick with four and half minutes left in the second period. Ryan Getzlaf would make it four on four after taking a high sticking penalty half a minute into the Connauton penalty.
Anaheim would get the first goal of the game with a Corey Perry snipe from a rush down the right wing that started with a faceoff in the Ducks' zone. It was his league leading 10th goal of the season. It was a bullet of a shot and there wasn't much more Lehtonen could have done to stop it.
Despite the four powerplays, even though some were cut short by other penalties, the Dallas Stars had only nine shots on goal through 40 minutes. They only registered a single shot through the entire second period even with over five minutes of powerplay time. This wasn't an impressive total against a team that was shutout the previous night against the St. Louis Blues.
Both sides managed to get some pucks on the net as Dallas managed to reach double digits in shot totals. The Stars had 12 shots on goal through the entire game after the first seven minutes of the third period.
Tim Jackman managed to dispossess Kevin Connauton at the point and had a one on one with Lehtonen. Kari was able to save the shot attempt but Jackman barrelled into him and flattened him.
Andersen continued to make some good saves to keep the Stars off the scoreboard. He was able to catch a tip in front of the net off a shot at the point. In a scramble in front of the next with nine minutes left in the game the Ducks were able to stop the Stars getting on the scoresheet.
Jamie Benn and Corey Perry would collide at the centre ice leaving Perry on the ice. There wasn't a penalty on the play and it appears it was accidental contact.
With seven and a half minutes left in the third the Stars got an opportunity to tie up the game. The Stars were put on the powerplay after the Ducks were called for too many men on the ice. There were a couple of really good chances for the Stars but Andersen and his sprawling defense were able to stop them all.
Seconds after the penalty expired Antoine Roussel was able to tie up the game off a great Daley pass across the slot. He was able just to tap it into the goal and finally beat the Anaheim goaltender.
The Stars kept up the offensive pressure straight after the tying goal with another few chances. The Ducks were forced to ice the puck to relieve the pressure and called a timeout to rest their tired players. They'd then have a hat trick of icings one after another.
Dallas managed to maintain the pressure on Anaheim in the final few minutes, pushing for the go ahead goal. The last few minutes were filled with faceoffs and neither side managed to get the winning goal in regulation. It was time to head to over time.
Half of the Dallas Stars games have now gone to overtime.
The Stars had a very early chance in OT but there was no one in the slot to retrieve the loose puck and put it in the net. The Stars continued to put a lot of pressure on the Ducks but in the end it was to no avail. The Ducks first break into the Stars zone led to a goal from Nate Thompson as he tipped in a Corey Perry shot.