Thursday they tried it the other way around: It was the visitors that put the Stars down early and the home crowd witnessed a third-period comeback of a very different nature- The result? A 3-1 win for the good guys and that long awaited second home win of the season.
Rookie John Klingberg garnered first-star-of-the-game honors for waking the building from its slumber with an absolute beauty of a first NHL goal early in the third period, and the top-six did the rest in handing the Coyotes and Mike Smith a surprising loss.
A +3 goal differential for the league's worst third-period team.
John Klingberg gets the cowboy hat after tonight's game. pic.twitter.com/drYIWt9Hck— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) November 21, 2014
The game began, however, in extreme frustration, as has been the custom in this house of horrors in 2014-2015. Sustained pressure from Arizona limited the Stars' chances early, and a power play opportunity came and went without anything of note.
The Coyotes' first power play, however, was dangerous throughout as the Stars failed to win a single faceoff or make a single clear- Inevitably ending in a goal Kari Lehtonen probably would have liked back as a shot dropped between his legs for a quick tap-in, but the Stars gave little support.
Something changed in the aftermath, however, and the team that can't seem to win when scoring first started to push back, rather than shrink from the moment as has sometimes been the case.
Dave Tippett's bunch locked things down in the second period, and the entertainment value dropped accordingly as it often does when the former Stars bench-boss rolls into town, but the Stars would not be deterred- And even appeared to score to tie the game, but Brenden Dillon's #occupythecrease movement was deemed illegal, and the goal was waived off.
Klingberg did his thing in the opening minutes of the third period to liven things, and before the lower bowl could sit down from celebrating Cody Eakin artfully tipped a Trevor Daley point shot over Smith's shoulder to turn the tables completely, and the Stars had the one-goal lead.
Jason Spezza would add one Smith would like back, but it was a good reward for a strong all-around game from the center, and Ales Hemsky was awarded an assist on the play as well.
Adversity was a big player early in the game, and those looking for signs that this team has some fight in them to dig themselves out of an enormous hole saw some encouraging things.
Jyrki Jokipakka and John Klingberg took penalties in the first period. Jamie Oleksiak and others continue to have trouble with zone exits and quick decision plays that result in turnovers. Tyler Seguin had a physically grueling night on a couple of rough shifts late in the game. Special teams continue to be a sore spot.
But they didn't let all of that get to them tonight. They remained patient and stayed the course. They bent and didn't break. The Coyotes had a lot of possession and pucks directed at net, but the quality of the chances fell throughout the evening, while the opposite was true at the other end.
A masterpiece? Certainly not. But a strong step in the right direction, in front of season ticket holders that really needed to be shown a good time for once. The house was a rockin', finally.
And that John Klingberg (who was evidently lacerated to some minor extent in the third period)...He just continues to impress.
Next up? Those Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night as the Stars honor Mike Modano's hall of fame induction.