The offense that just couldn't connect despite 36 shots on Karri Ramo's net Thursday night found its finish in a big way against young netminder Mike Condon, who had the unenviable task of facing Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Jason Spezza in Carey Price's stead this evening.
To the tune of a great big six-spot, including three points for Jamie Benn and Jason Spezza, and two for Tyler Seguin.
Spezza got the party started early when he took the puck in transition down the right side and faked a slap shot that young Condon bit down on pretty hard, opening up the short side for a beautiful from number #90.
Penalty trouble in the late stages of the first threatened to see the game tied but Antti Niemi and the penalty kill's work on Patrick Eaves and Cody Eakin minors really set the stage for what was coming in the second period, which was, spoiler alert, lots of goals.
A bouncing puck found the league's leading goal scorer's stick in prime real estate right in the slot and Jamie Benn made no mistake, burying the Stars' second of the night barely 90 seconds into the third period. Michael McCarron took a seat immediately after for concealing the puck and Patrick Sharp deftly deflected a puck past Condon to give the Stars a 3-0 lead.
Jason Demers would go to the box for holding and Daniel Carr would take advantage to bring Montreal back within two at 3-1, and it seemed the Stars were in for a fight after all. Matters would get worse when a Stars goal in response was waved off on a goaltender interference penalty on Jason Demers where none seemed to have occurred.
JeffK's announcement of the "goaltender interference" call was brilliantly dripping with professional incredulity, if there is such a thing.
The Stars did not take kindly to the sequence and set to taking back what was, in their estimation, rightfully theirs. Jamie Benn would hit the post seconds before Tyler Seguin potted the Stars' fourth goal of the night. Justice was done.
Jamie Benn scored the Stars' second power play goal of the night 31 seconds into the third and Patrick Eaves added a beauty in what was effectively garbage time after Montreal got loose behind the defense for a shorthanded goal. The power play cleared the mental hurdle of scoring twice tonight, but still had some of the familiar entry problems.
The Stars won the possession battle on the night by a slim margin, but in the substantive part of the game that told the story (the second period) they out attempted Montreal 25-14. Ultimately this one comes down to the eyeball test, and it was Dallas that had the lion's share of the quality chances.
Outside of the power play and a couple of posts the Canadiens could not get anything going nearing Antti Niemi. The odd-man rushes were kept to a minimum and there were few mad-scrambles like those that have marred the Stars' play of late.
Dallas was in control tonight. An encouraging sign after the struggles in their last week of play, and a badly needed building block ahead heavy divisional play as their hunters near. St. Louis, Chicago and Minnesota all collected two points today as well.
50 points on December 19th, though. The boys now travel to Minnesota to take on the Wild Monday night before returning on the back-to-back to a sea of red and green. And also Patrick Kane will be there.