The Stars rolled into St. Louis on Monday night coming off a 2-1 win on Friday night against Vancouver. The last time these two clubs met, earlier this month, the Stars came away with a 6-2 win.
The first period was what looked like a lot of back and forth but ultimately was a lot more shots and scoring chances for the Blues. Jamie Oleksiak, for reasons unknown at this time, joined the rush on several occasions, parking himself in front of the Blues net, while Cody Eakin took his spot at the point. After 20 minutes, that hasn’t resulted in a single shot on goal for the defenseman.
A tic tac toe between the Blues ended in an actually very pretty (if you’re a Blues fan) goal from Robby Fabbri about seven minutes into the first period. Vladimir Tarasenko and Robert Bortuzzo passed around Patrik Nemeth without issue and without any interference from Nemeth’s rather large wingspan. Wide passes open up the middle and without a defenseman in front of him, Niemi doesn’t have time to cross from one side of the crease to the other and stop Fabbri’s shot.
The Stars, for the rest of the period, neglected to play like a team that was only down one goal in the opening period of a hockey game. Between Fabbri’s goal and Jamie Oleksiak’s goal in the 16 minute mark of the second period, a solid 22 or so minutes of play, the Stars had four shots on goal. That was after one and then two goals from the Blues, after Alex Pietrangelo scored on a rather wonky goal early in the second.
On a Blues power play, Patrick Berglund had the shot on goal that Niemi thought he’d covered, but there was no whistle. Pietrangelo recovered it from Niemi and scored point blank, with literally all of the Stars surrounding him. It was a pretty lackluster effort.
And then, despite having an iffy defensive night, newest Stars power forward (not really) Jamie Oleksiak uses his amazing wingspan and reach to dangle not one but two different Blues defenders to score late in the second and cut the Blues lead in half.
It isn’t what we pay him for, and he hasn’t been excelling at the job we are actually paying him for (he was involved in two goals against), but it looks like he’ll attempt to make up for that offensively instead.
Some pretty fancy dangles from…Jamie Oleksiak? pic.twitter.com/kvlWZgnhKh— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) November 29, 2016
In case you needed a gif.
Jamie Benn scored his 7th of the season and 199th of his career on a power play early in the second, and also gave Julius Honka his second NHL point.
Speaking of Honka, he and Patrik Nemeth also let David Perron waltz right in front of Niemi after a turnover in the neutral zone. There had just been a flurry of activity in the Blues end, making this goal feel almost inevitable.
And then, like the forward hero he’s trying to be, Jamie Oleksiak scored his second in this game, third in this season, and fourth of his career to tie the game with 50 seconds to go.
And then Tarasenko scored in overtime, because this was still a game the Stars should never have won.
If you’re looking for a hero in this game? Look no further than Antti Niemi, who faced 31 shots on goal and some truly gnarly breakaways to keep the Stars within spitting distance. He’s the only reason they got a point at all in the game and it didn’t end 6-2 going the other way.