Home, sweet home. The Dallas Stars returned to American Airlines Center after their California trip and did something they haven't since New Years Eve- Score more than one goal at home.
Their previous two January outings here at the AAC featured two goals scored in a frustrating 125 minutes of hockey. Tonight the horn blew three times. Well, four times. More on that later.
Lindy Ruff challenged his big guns before this one and Jamie Benn responded with a goal. Jason Spezza, a goal and an assist. Tyler Seguin is still a little MIA.
It was Spezza who would open the scoring just 1:23 into the first period when he scoooped up a loose puck in the slot and shoveled an innocent looking backhand toward Cam Talbot that leaked through somehow to give the good guys a 1-0 lead.
That was after an Alex Goligoski giveaway to start the game forced Antti Niemi to make a huge save just seconds in. It was an eventful first 83 seconds.
With that same one-goal lead in hand to start the second, the question was what they'd do with it after losing the same against both Los Angeles and San Jose. Score the second goal as well was the plan and Jyrki Jokipakka appeared to do just that at 9:31.
And it was a beauty. A goal scorers goal. It looked like a Joe Nieuwendyk highlight going cookie jar on the far side.
But it was offside. Barely.
Extensive review revealed that Ales Hemsky's skate, though still over the line, football fans, was not on the ice and that's the rule. No goal. Sad Kevin.
Another look at that successful offside challenge. #EDMvsDAL pic.twitter.com/QKkMUljrqh— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) January 22, 2016
Less than four minutes later, however, Jamie Benn would get it right back as a bouncing puck found his stick in the heart of the slot and it was church for Cam Talbot as the Captain put the Stars ahead by two goals for the first time in 2016, if I am not mistaken.
The Oilers would find their way on to the scoreboard when a deflected Teddy Purcell shot fooled Antti Niemi while Antoine Roussel looked on in the box after a hooking call.
Just 15 seconds later, however, offensive threat Jyrki Jokipakka would get his goal back when his wrister from out at the blue line would deflect off Benoit Pouilot's stick and past Talbot to restore the two-goal lead for the home team.
Edmonton would pepper the iron during their two second-period power play opportunities but the Stars managed to haul a 3-1 lead to the locker room despite the visitors getting the better of the shot attempts at 44-43 to that point.
The Oil started a push in the third, interrupted by a Stars power play that hit, depending on who you ask, two and maybe three times, but they couldn't find that commanding fourth goal to put it away.
They'd out-shoot Edmonton 13-10 in the frame and appeared to be cruising to a multi-goal victory when Esa Lindell's stick broke, some defensive coverage was confused for a moment, and Nail Yakupov snuck a puck through Antti Niemi that the big Finn would like to have back to cause some last minute drama.
Dallas brought it home in the end, but it was, perhaps a little harder than it needed to be. Jamie Benn did some Jamie Benn things. The penalty kill was still bad. The power play had a nice stretch but did not score. The goaltending was very, very good, until it wasn't at the end.
In short- It was a step in the right direction, but it was not the Blues-Blackhawks-Wild-Predators level effort that fans saw in December here on home ice. It can be the start of something positive that they badly need before the break arrives next week, however.
Next up? An Avalanche team greatly improved and on an 11-5-2 run. Don't sleep on that one. The Stars have had big trouble with those Avs in recent seasons.
Also tonight, this happened-
@DarioMouse @VermyFox @jeffk_stars @Marjan_Lion @JamieBenn10 Benn..... pic.twitter.com/LyLglEuhAh— RaichuRocks (@RaichuRocks99) January 22, 2016
And uhh, this happened-
VIDEO: Matt Hendricks stops slapshot with his dick & balls https://t.co/WqPKv0z4FZ pic.twitter.com/cMLQvgeT9x— Deadspin (@Deadspin) January 22, 2016