Today is the day after Christmas. The Dallas Stars flew out today to face the St. Louis Blues in Missouri and they were no doubt sluggish. Much like the team we follow, we're still weighed down with turkey, booze, and family fun so welcome to the abbreviated recap of the Stars 3-2 shootout loss to the Blues.
The first period was erased from the NHL record books because the Blues replaced their Zambonis with cement trucks over the Christmas break. The Stars would outshoot the Blues 7-6 in the period, but very little happened until Val Nichushkin almost buried a goal in the final minutes.
The Stars team gift exchange ran a bit long in the first intermission. Only Antti Niemi made it back on ice in time for the opening faceoff. The Blues then peppered him with shots for about eight minutes before the rest of the Stars made it back the the ice. Miraculously no goals were scored. The Stars did what they do though and Colton Sceviour found a way to get his team on the board for a 1-1 tie. Not to be outdone, in the final minute of the period Tyler Seguin angrily drilled a slapshot past Blues goaltender Jake Allen from a moderately sharp angle to give the Stars the lead going into the 3rd period.
In the final frame the Blues extended their lead in shots from reasonable to "huh". Aided by a four to nothing powerplay differential the Blues, with many of the leading Lady Byng candidates, would outshoot the Stars 35-23 in regulation. Despite all of this the Blues were only able to beat Niemi one time in the third period after a late Robby Fabbri goal sent the game to overtime.
In overtime John Klingberg set Jamie Benn up for a chance early. Then Vladimir Tarasenko almost set up a goal. Then Jason Spezza and Patrick Sharp almost scored twice. Then I did all of the speed in Harris County to keep up with this game and by the time I got all of it done the overtime was over to be replaced with the momentum killing shootout.
1. Alex Steen abused Antti Niemi 1-0
2. Tyler Seguin danced around before Jake Allen stopped him.
3. Vladimir Tarasenko nailed Niemi over the blocker to give the Blues a 2-0 edge.
4. Jamie Benn then miraculously scored on a wrister to give the Stars a chance. 2-1.
5. Kevin Shattenkirk was then stopped by Niemi.
6. Sharp had a chance to tie it up for the Stars. He beat Allen high over the glove to tie it up 2-2.
7. Fabbri threw a bunch of moves at Niemi but did not score.
8. Colton Sceviour came in with speed on the backhand, but Allen was ready.
9. Jori Lehtera was up next. and beat Niemi to give the Blues a 3-2 lead.
10. Spezza came up needing to score to tie it up. He came in with speed, stopped, and ripped it past Allen's glove. 3-3.
11. Magnus Paajarvi did some weird slow moves with the stick and Niemi didn't have much of an issue with it.
12. John Klingberg came in slow trying to hit the glove. Denied.
13. Dmitrij Jaskin came up for the Blues and he beat Niemi. 4-3
14. Patrick Eaves came up needing to score to keep the Stars alive. He drilled his shot past the glove of Allen with no windup whatsoever. 4-4
15. Troy Brouwer come on down. You're the next contestant on "this will never end". He failed.
16. Jordie Benn skates in slow and shoots it into Allen's pads.
17. Next up is David Backes who promptly scores. 5-4
18. Vernon Fiddler finally ended the shootout by putting a backhand attempt into Allen's glove.
The Blues cut the Stars lead in the division down by a point and we once again saw how much of a test the Blues will be all year. if I had to pick a team trailing the Stars to eventually overtake them the Blues would be my guess. That's a quality team and the Stars weren't good enough to get two points tonight.. They get another chance tomorrow because the NHL, in their infinite wisdom, thought a home and home series between these two teams was a good idea after a three day break from anything hockey related.