That feels really good to say for a change. After the shellacking the team took in Winnipeg two nights ago, it feels like a huge positive for Dallas to have found a way to win tonight.
It wasn’t a perfect game, by any means. Kari Lehtonen allowed a soft goal and the team had a defensive breakdown in the slot to cough up a two goal lead. But captain Jamie Benn found a way to pick the team up, put them on his back, and lead the team to a victory.
Positives were abundant in this one. Benn’s two goals, Seguin’s assists, forwards getting on the backcheck, covering for defenseman that gave them the confidence to make riskier plays tonight (that for once didn’t backfire on them), and special teams were good tonight.
There’s plenty of bad that could be talked about, but the truth is....we needed this win as bad as the Stars did, and we’d rather focus on the good this evening. Two points in the bank, and they get a chance to string together a winning streak when they take on the Edmonton Oilers tomorrow night.
The M.O. of this team lately has been “outplay opponent to start the game, wind up giving up first goal.” Tonight, they decided to flip that one on its head. Instead, the Stars were outplayed by Calgary to start, with the shots on goal at one point a very lopsided 8-1 in favor of the Alberta team.
But then they scored the first goal. And they became confident. The puck moving was crisp, the forwards came back to support the defense, and they scored the second goal.
They would take that lead into the next frame and everyone was feeling good about things.
Well, that good feeling didn’t last too long. Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan, as the home team coach, changed his matchups on ice. A two-minute span of bad goaltending and a bad deflection saw this game back to even.
The first goal that Kari Lehtonen allowed was a shot that he had initially stopped that he allowed to dribble through between his arm and body. It would lay on the ice behind him before Johnny Gaudreau went diving into the net to put the puck in. On the second goal against, the puck was deflected in front and went high glove side on Lehtonen. This is not the best way to defense:
Dallas would survive several shorthanded chances against, with one power play that felt much more like a Calgary power play than a Dallas one. The Stars would also fail to convert against the second to last ranked penalty kill in the frame.
Give credit to Gulutzan’s changes. They were quite effective, with Dallas not having too many dangerous chances in the second frame.
While the power play wasn’t working in the second frame, the Stars finally punched through and scored one on a power play that came courtesy of Dan Hamhuis’ face. (He took a stick that most likely did not feel very good in that area.) Tyler Seguin would find Jamie Benn in the slot for an easy goal, giving the captain his second of the night.
That goal would ultimately end up the game winner, and Antonie Roussel would cap off the win with the rare empty net goal tonight.
The Flames had plenty of zone possession in the last 20 minutes, but Dallas found a way to weather the storm, kill off a few penalties, and find a way to come back from blowing a two goal lead to win 4-2.
*It’s nice to see Jamie Benn get some scoring tonight. The top tier guys were on tonight, and the team followed suit.
*Even if they’d all ingested Felix Felicis tonight, the Stars still wouldn’t have been able to win a faceoff. (Ok, there’s our last negative we’ll point out.)
*Antoine Roussel sent the message not to mess with the big guns on Dallas after Seguin was crushed into the boards in the middle frame. That’s a five-minute major he’ll gladly serve, and one I didn’t mind him taking.
*Stephen Johns had a very nice game, with smart plays and physicality.