The Dallas Stars came back from an early deficit to beat the Minnesota Wild in Minnesota. They seem to like to do that. The Stars are tied with the Washington Capitals for the top seed in the NHL and have an eight point lead atop the Central Division with one game in hand on the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues.
The start to this game as a bit less than encouraging. Goaltender Kari Lehtonen allowed two goals on four shots and was pulled quickly by Lindy Ruff. Both goals went high glove from a decent distance away from the net. Ruff had little patience for all of that. Antti Niemi came in to calm things down, but immediately was tasked with facing a quasi-breakaway from Zach Parise that was partially stopped by John Klingberg.
After that chance the Wild would rarely test Niemi until half of the third period was over.
An objective close reading of this game would lead you to the conclusion that the two combatants were relatively evenly matched. You essentially had a 0-0 game until five minutes remained in the second period Post-Lehtonen. Then, the Wild poked the bear we respectfully call Jordie Benn.
The Wild jumbotron crew made it known that they think Benn and lovable children's character Yukon Cornelius from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer share some similar features. Mainly, they both have full gorgeous beards. I think it was intended to mock him, but I can't think of many characters I would rather be compared with if we're being perfectly honest.
Unfortunately for the Wild it backfired. Jordie Benn would score on the next shift to make the game 2-1. Then the floodgates opened. Vernon Fiddler scored about three minutes later to tie the game on the powerplay. Tyler Seguin finished the period giving the Stars the lead 3-2 with :31 remaining in the clock. In the span of 5:01 the quick strike Stars offense completely turned the game around.
But hey they weren't done fortunately. Antoine Roussel scored 3:41 into the third period after a great shift by the fourth line. The rebound he put in would ultimately be the game winning goal after Nino Niederreiter scored a nifty goal at the 10:26 mark of the period to cut the lead to 4-3.
The Stars tacked on two more empty net goals because why not? Cody Eakin hit the empty net from his own end of the rink to make it 5-3 and Fiddler drove one home to get the Stars to their ultimate end point of six goals.
Tomorrow night the Chicago Blackhawks are on tap in Dallas. Niemi probably would have been the starter, but after a long relief appearance tonight who knows? We may see him again tomorrow, but at this point it's anyone's guess. All I know right now is that the Stars have taken six points away from the Wild this season and have a chance to extend their lead over Chicago on Tuesday.