During this homestand, I really hope that Dallas Stars head coach Lindy Ruff spends some quality time with his team working on 3-on-3 overtime. It seems like they get beat on nearly the same play every single time they’ve gone past regulation this season.
Some good: the penalty kill was good when it needed to be, and it didn’t need to be used too often tonight as the team played a pretty clean game.
Some bad: the power play did not connect tonight, and that could have been the difference in the game tonight. Also, the New Jersey Devils outplayed the Stars for large stretches in the game, and ultimately got the two points they deserved.
The Stars managed to get good goaltending tonight when they needed it, and that performance by starter Antti Niemi singlehandedly got the Stars one point out of tonight’s contest.
The Dallas Stars came out firing, funneling the puck towards Cory Schneider’s net constantly to start the period. As seems to be their wont, though, Dallas would allow the first goal against in the contest.
John Klingberg got the puck tangled up in his skates, then kind of tripped all over himself, which caused the Devil player standing right near him to puck-jack him and head to the other end of the ice. A poorly communicated 3-on-2 defense between Klingberg and Dan Hamhuis and a shot high over Antti Niemi saw the Stars down 1-0 early. It was just New Jersey’s third shot on goal when they scored their first goal.
Luckily, the hot hot hot duo of Antoine Roussel and Patrick Eaves would connect to tie the game up less than three minutes later. Roussel now has points in seven straight games and Eaves now has five goals in his last five games.
Whatever the opposite of pretty is defined the second period for the Stars. New Jersey did a wonderful job keeping the Stars hemmed into their own zone for much of the period, taking a monstrous lead in shots on goal in the period, 16-7.
Niemi was huge when he needed to be, though many of his saves looked more scrambly than textbook technique. However, he did what needed to be done, and kept the onslaught of the Devils from costing the Stars anything.
It’s important to give the team credit for weathering the storm that was the middle frame tonight. In other games past this season, the effort by the Devils would have caused the team to buckle under pressure. Maybe they’re learning to bend not break?
The third frame started off much like the second had left off, with New Jersey dominating early. The Stars did get a few more quality chances against Schneider in the period, with the closest chance coming when a shot snuck through five hole on Schneider but trickled just wide of the goal.
Jordie Benn took a stinger on a blocked shot during the only penalty kill the Stars had in the period, and it took him a while to get up and off the ice. He would end up coming back and finishing the game without missing more than a shift or two. It’s likely it just temporarily numbed his leg, much like would happen when you’re wrestling as kids and someone digs and elbow or heel into your leg to get you off of them. Except, you know, at like 60+ miles an hour.
Dan Hamhuis would get hit from behind and knocked into the boards to give the Stars a late period power play. While Dallas made quite a big push offensively at the end of the period, Schneider and the Devils kept the Stars off the score sheet and forced overtime.
We all knew how this was going to end. Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin got caught far into the offensive zone, a bumbled puck, and Klingberg left to defend a 2-on-1 and boom, overtime over.
The Stars are 0-5 in the extra frame this season now. 0-FOR-5.