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Stars End Flyers Win Streak By Stifling Their Offense

It was one of the most complete team games we’ve seen this season by Dallas.

NHL: Philadelphia Flyers at Dallas Stars Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Today’s matinee match-up versus the Philadelphia Flyers gave Dallas Stars fans a glimpse of the play of last season’s Stars team. From the start of the game, the two teams engaged in a speedy north-south game, trading chances and saves.

A defensive coverage issue by John Klingberg on Antti Niemi’s doorstep gave the Flyers a chance to take the lead late in the first period. The Stars didn’t have a lot of response after the goal.

So Jason Spezza came out and did this in the early part of the second period:

That’s right — Jason Spezza, former captain in Ottawa, dropped the gloves for just the fifth time of his NHL career.

The message he seemed to send to the team was that he had come to play and that if he was willing to do whatever it takes, the rest of the team had better buck up and follow suit. Less than five minutes later, Radek Faksa acknowledged Spezza’s message by scoring the tying goal. It was exactly what you wanted to see the Stars do.

They continued to work in the third period, and Adam Cracknell would eventually score to take the lead. After they got the lead, Dallas tried to continue pressuring the Flyers offensively, but the Flyers started to play desperate hockey as they looked to continue their 10-game winning streak.

Then the Stars did what they hadn’t done all game long — they committed (and were actually called for) a penalty with about 3:30 left in the game. It was exactly the opportunity the Flyers could use to tie the game up.

But instead of giving up power play goals like they did to the Flyers in the third period a week ago, the Stars executed one of the most surgical penalty kills we’ve seen all season. Faksa was a big part of that kill, as he was able to clear the puck several times to keep the Flyers from getting rebound chances.

Jordie Benn would seal the win with an empty net goal from center ice as the Stars ended the Flyers win streak at 10 games.

A few other notes:

*Jason Spezza, while not on the scoring sheet, was a major part of the win today.

*Radek Faksa is an excellent penalty killer.

*Motion to play Antti Niemi for every home start for the rest of the season. Any seconds?

*Yay two points!

*The Stars have seemingly played a better game overall in this last little stretch. Could they be turning the corner and on the verge of putting something together (finally)?