The Los Angeles Kings have presented quite a physical style for the Dallas Stars to match up against in recent years. With a structured system, the Kings often play with consistency in front of whomever is manning the pipes that night.
It’s what they have to rely on now that Jonathan Quick will be out for three months.
But that’s not the style the Stars saw much of. The Kings were rather loosey-goosey with the puck (that’s a technical bit of analysis for you there) and allowed quite a number of shots in-tight in front of Peter Budaj tonight.
The Stars never led at any point on the scoreboard, but managed to pull a point out of the contest as they forced overtime. It followed a rather eventful night at the American Airlines Center, with three different tying goals, two fights, two players lost to injury, and a bunch of high-event hockey on both sides of the puck.
The first period was a pretty even affair between the Stars and Kings. The Stars did manage to hold the Kings to less than double-digit shots against. That is a positive. They also put up less than double-digits of their own shots on goal, which is a little less positive.
The penalty kill continued to struggle. The culprit this time was a longer-than-needed tie-up of a man in the corner by Jamie Oleksiak that pulled the Stars to one side of the ice to cover for a lack of body that should have been there. The Kings would take advantage and bang one in off of the side where there was no traffic.
The Stars would get the score back to even with a slick pass by Jason Spezza from behind the net that found a streaking Radek Faksa in alone in front. He buried it, and the remainder of the period would go by without much else to mark the passage of time.
If the first period left you wanting a little bit more, the second period left you trying to catch your breath.
It started with an early goal against as the Stars allowed a clean look to Jeff Carter who sniped one right up over Kari Lehtonen’s shoulder.
Then came a big hit on Patrick Sharp along the boards that left him shaken up. The hit was delivered by Brayden McNabb, who quickly found himself public enemy #1 in Dallas.
Sharp injury. Head hits the boards after the hit pic.twitter.com/1G0r1IH3bx— Stephanie (@myregularface) October 21, 2016
Not long after that hit, a scrum would break out in front of Budaj’s net. Antoine Roussel saw red and let loose on McNabb, who was double-teaming Johnny Oduya in the scrum.
Roussel would exit with a 2 minute for unsportsmanlike conduct, a 4 minute for roughing, and a 10 minute misconduct. McNabb would get 2 for roughing and the Stars would have to kill a penalty, not something they’ve been particularly solid at doing so far this season.
But killed it they did (with the help of a goal getting waived off due to goaltender interference).
Not long after the penalty was killed off, Oleksiak had his stick slashed out of his hand by Drew Doughty. With the delayed penalty call, Oleksiak turned around and saw McNabb and decided he didn’t like him. Oleksiak and McNabb would fight one another, ending in a heap on the ice, and Benn would score on the ensuing power play to even the score at 2-2.
The physical play would continue through the remainder of the period. In a replay of things we’ve seen time and time again with Dallas, they would surrender a goal to Tanner Pearson with less than a minute in the period and take a 3-2 deficit into the locker room.
A few more shenanigans occurred in the last frame, as Roussel had himself some kind of night in the box. The main thing to come out during this frame is that Patrick Sharp was held out of the game to undergo concussion protocols and did not return due to concussion-like symptoms. To add to the injured list, Patrick Eaves took friendly fire from a Spezza shot on the power play near the end of the second period, and would not return to the ice for the third period with the ever-helpful “lower body injury”.
The Stars have had their forward depth tested early in the season, and it seems they’ll have to weather some more storms when it looked like they were getting closer to calm waters.
Jason Spezza was not going to let his Spezza Like Pizza Burger premier night go winless. With Lehtonen pulled with 2:40 left in the third period, Spezza would put one up and over Budaj’s stick side to tie the game at three-all.
The Kings ended it just 1:20 into overtime. The goal was briefly reviewed for goaltender interference. Unlike the call earlier in the game, this one did not go in the Stars favor and the game ended not with a roar, but with a muted whimper.
Some other thoughts and observations…
*Jamie Benn has to be one of the scariest forwards a goaltender could see coming at you shorthanded. You never quite know what he's going to do, because he can turn the angle of a shot or find a sneaky pass to a teammate, making him a multi-faceted threat.
*Several Stars players made some rushed plays when they didn't need to tonight. They had time and space and tried to force passes that weren't there, and several of those led to turnovers in the defensive zone and the neutral zone. A bit more patience would go a long way.
*That’s not just a rookie/young player observation, either. Oduya was particularly guilty of that several times throughout the course of this game.
*Jason Spezza has such an underrated passing ability.
*What do the Stars need to do to catch a break on the forward injury front?