The Dallas Stars played like a team that had played the night before, getting grossly outplayed by a determined St. Louis Blues squad. An early penalty off of a faceoff by Jason Spezza led to the Blues' first goal of the night. The penalty was one of those kinds where the retaliation was caught and penalized and not the play leading up to it, a fact that did not escape one peeved Spezza in the box.
St. Louis poured on the shots and Antti Niemi stood tall to keep the Stars within one shot. Not much pressure by the Stars for the majority of the first period, which led to a frustrated captain to throw down with one of his favorite opponents in an effort to spark the Stars. Jamie Benn and David Backes threw punches and took themselves off the ice for five minutes, a situation that gives the advantage to the Blues with Dallas' best player off the ice. It was a pretty intense tilt.
Antonie Roussel would end up in a scrap near the end of the first period after a clean hit that Petteri Lindbohm took exception to. Razor Reaugh felt that Lindbohm should have ended up with an extra minor out of it, as the instigator, but the referees chose not to call it the way Razor saw it.
Continuing the "best player on the ice was the goalie" trend in the second period saw Jake Allen take that title from Niemi. The Stars limited the Blues to just two shots on goal while posting up 11 shots against Allen in the second period, to get closer to even in that department. The Stars also took the scoring chance lead in the second period, as Allen was the only reason the Stars didn't put one on the scoresheet.
A wacky shot from the blueline by Johnny Oduya rang off the crossbar behind Allen, the closest the Stars came to scoring a goal in the middle frame. Their skating was better, and the passing seemed to hit more of the intended targets than the first period saw. However, the Stars were also obviously pushing for offense, and far too often put themselves in offside to kill the flow of the period.
The third period saw the Stars gripping their sticks too hard, and the Blues able to stymie the top offense of the league. A rising shot that beat Niemi and a really terrible, no go, very bad decision not to shoot the puck by John Klingberg that led to him getting his pocket picked sealed the game away for St. Louis.
In the second game of a back-to-back, the Stars survived a sluggish first period and gave themselves the chance to win heading into the last frame. The most frustrating part of the game tonight was the fact that the Stars had several prime power play chances to put them back into the game. They couldn't get anything really going on the power play, however. It was similar setups and looks that we have seen this season so far. Something needs to shake up a little in the way that they go about their business on the man advantage if they need it to get back into games moving forward.
Give Jake Allen all the credit, he played a hell of a game and earned this shutout. It's the first time the Stars have been shutout this season.
The game ended with shenanigans on both sides, with Roussel going after Lindbohm for jumping him earlier in the game and Jason Demers mixing it up as well. The rematch of these two teams in two weeks is likely to cause some more fireworks as the Stars look to show the Blues why they are tops in the division.