"Great teams don't lose two in a row" said Tyler Seguin after the Stars won 3-2 tonight in the shootout against the Vancouver Canucks.
The Stars were outshot 34-19 before three on three overtime began. The Stars took a lot of penalties tonight, but even still at even strength the shots were 27-14 in regulation. But hey, who cares right now? They won anyway thanks to the skills competition following overtime. They added two points to the total with a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks.
The Stars had a lot of trouble responding to the strong forecheck of the Canucks early. Like the Ottawa Senators before them, Vancouver had two forwards in deep to pressure the defense. They didn't handle it particularly well. Passes were rushed and the Stars offense sputtered for most of the first half of the game. At one point late in the second period the Stars were still stuck at nine shots for the game.
Vancouver scored their first goal off of a turnover caused by the pressure. John Klingberg looked to chip a puck up the boards and saw a Canuck. He then looked back at Alex Goligoski who was breaking to go behind the net, and instead blindly threw the puck in front of the net for a quick turnover and goal. Teams are going to keep doing it as long as the Stars struggle to respond.
Jason Spezza and Val Nichushkin were the Stars most potent offensive players for a good part of the night. In an alternate universe both Spezza and Nichushkin could have had two or three goals a piece.
Jamie Benn scored his 17th goal of the season after it bounced off of a Canuck and Patrick Sharp on the powerplay. Spezza shot a puck as angrily as he possibly could for the Stars second goal. I can't explain to you how either goal managed to score, but they found ways to get into the net on a night when the Stars weren't particularly great,
Henrik Sedin tied the game late on the powerplay so the Stars and Canucks went to overtime. This is easily the best thing the NHL has done in my lifetime. Every time a game goes to three on three I want to stop everything and watch it. The NHL should really consider a feature like NFL Redzone that automatically alerts us when the magic happens.
The Stars were all over it in overtime. The skilled players had plenty of room and created a lot of chances. After one ridiculous sequence where Antti Niemi stopped a shot from center ice after he attempted a bad outlet pass which then led to a Tyler Seguin chance (I know it sounds crazy, you just had to see it), the Canucks ended up with four skaters on the ice for a too many men on the ice penalty. The Stars powerplay was magical.
I've never seen so much movement on a powerplay in my life. Jamie Benn, Spezza, Klingberg, and Seguin maintained possession in the Canucks zone for 90 seconds straight while moving all over the ice. It kept flowing through Spezza and Klingberg at the point down low where Seguin and Benn got chances. Benn almost ended the game late in the powerplay. He beat Ryan Miller high, but the shot went just wide.
No one scored in the overtime somehow so the shootout came to the ice. Seguin scored the only goal of the shootout. He usually comes in and fires a shot in one motion from the slot. This time he came in with some stick language to get Miller moving. That little change gave him plenty of room to score. Spezza stumbled on his chance. Benn got an opportunity, and bless his heart Miller pokechecked him clean after a decent move. Niemi was perfect.
It wasn't pretty, but they got the job done 3-2. The Stars play the Minnesota Wild tomorrow night. With Kari Lehtonen on the IR for the next week we could conceivably see Jack Campbell in net, but I wouldn't be shocked to see more Niemi. Regardless of who starts in net, they will need to play better overall to secure two potentially key points against a talented divisional rival.