On the second night of a home-and-home with the Chicago Blackhawks, the Dallas Stars were desperate enough for forwards to ice seven defenseman and use one of them as a fourth line left wing.
And through one period, it actually looked like it was working.
Maybe it’s because the Stars started the game with a chip on their shoulder. Maybe things were actually clicking for a period. Maybe Patrik Nemeth on that fourth line was the spark the offense needed. I mean, probably not, given the outcome, but, like last night, it sure looked promising in the first period.
The real winner in the first was special teams. Curtis McKenzie was called for hooking, and a few minutes later Dan Hamhuis took a really questionable tripping call. Throughout both penalties, the Blackhawks remained shot-less, until the dying moments of the second penalty.
And then Duncan Keith got called for a hooking penalty. Over the past week or so, Lindy Ruff has been emphasizing getting to the net and taking the shot, even if it isn’t a pretty shot, and that’s exactly what the Stars did. Jamie Benn, then Antoine Roussel, and finally Tyler Seguin all took swings off the initial rebound until Seguin finally scored. Considering our power play is among the worst in the league right now, this is even more exciting.
The second period looked more like two teams that just played last night and some costly mistakes on both sides led to opposing goals.
The first wasn’t our mistake, so I’m a lot happier about it. The Blackhawks turned the puck over on a power play with Gemel Smith out behind all of the Blackhawks. Hamhuis got the puck up to him as he sped up the ice and Smith ended up one-on-one with Scott Darling. Nifty elevated backhand, and he’s got his first NHL goal in highlight reel fashion.
On the other end of the ice, the Stars got caught up looking for the puck after it popped up off Brent Seabrook’s stick and by the time they’d figured themselves out, the Blackhawks had their their second leading scorer one-on-one with Kari Lehtonen. The inevitable happened.
But so we don’t end the kind of flat (despite two goals), mistake ridden second period on a downer, here’s Jordie Benn with the puck up his pants.
Two minutes into the third, Roussel broke his stick and still tried to take the shot. Unfotunately for him and the Stars, that’s a penalty, albeit not one you see every day.
Ah yes, the rare "playing with a broken stick" penalty spotted out in the wild! pic.twitter.com/EcqfZ7USfu— SB Nation NHL (@SBNationNHL) November 7, 2016
The Blackhawks scored twice this period in less than a minute. Same line even, which just adds insult to injury. Marian Hossa is a great player, it’s true, but I’d still rather not see John Klingberg caught completely off guard in quite that fashion. Then Jamie Benn missed a golden opportunity on the other end for an insurance goal, which instead led to a rush the other way for Jonathan Toews, who gave Artem Anisimov an 11 game point streak.
With under two minutes to go in the third, Ruff pulled Lehtonen to give the Stars the extra attacker, which actually worked for us, unlike last night. Klingberg took a shot from the point that Smith redirected for his second NHL goal, and we took that tie into overtime.
Where, even though we ended up with a 4 on 3 power play opportunity when Klingberg called a holding penalty on the Blackhawks, we only managed to come away with the point. Marian Hossa scored with 29 seconds left before the shootout.
So there it is. On the second night of a home-and-home, the Texas, I’m sorry Dallas Stars took the Chicago Blackhawks to overtime and eked out a point. Not the result I wanted, but still better than I expected given the roster.