The Stars third game in four days finds us in the desert taking on the Arizona Coyotes. Fun fact! It is Coyotes' rookie goalie Louis Domingue's 13th career NHL game which last year would have made me all kinds of nervous. Remember last season when every back up rookie goalie looked like a Vezina candidate against us? I'm still recovering.
Another fun fact: after missing six games to injury, Jason Spezza returns to the line up and the right wing down on the third line. Kind of a soft return, but I'm a fan if it helps him ease safely and securely back into the line up.
So, the first period was pretty exciting, eh? Spezza back, rookie goalie in net for the Coyotes. The Stars start out with a lot of possession and had twice as many shots on goal as the Coyotes for much of the first. They played a heavy passing game to start that generated some shots on goal but not really a lot of action. Until just past the midway point when Tyler Seguin scores his 31st of the year off a breakaway and a really pretty feed from Patrick Sharp.
Jordie Benn makes the save of the first period on Coyotes rookie sensation Max Domi.
Jordie Benn stretches out to save a near goal by Domi. pic.twitter.com/R5XKXogztx— Dylan Nadwodny (@dnadders) February 19, 2016
It was a beautiful moment.
The goal from the Stars proved to be a big momentum swing towards the Coyotes. Stars with 67%CF prior to the goal, and a pretty pathetic 16%CF after. (5v5 only, does not count the Coyotes power play.)
Later in the period, a defensive breakdown against the boards from Patrik Nemeth leads to the best chance for the Coyotes since the game began. Alex Goligoski, in the scrum that followed in front of the Stars net, yanks Anthony Duclair to the ice. The Stars penalty kill continues trucking along though, and keeps them up one heading into first intermission.
Max Domi dominated the second period. Three minutes in a turnover in the offensive zone ends up on Domi's stick off a long pass from Duclair. Jason Demers chased Domi down but couldn't save the shot in the end.
Martin Hanzal took a swing at Jamie Benn's face with his stick (cue me and probably several other people yelling "NOT THE FACE!"). He may or may not have drawn actual blood but the Stars ended up with a 4 minute power play. Which lasted a little less than a minute, as Tobias Rieder oversells a trip from Tyler Seguin along the boards, and suddenly it's 4v4. Honestly, given the way the Stars power play has been rolling recently, I'd rather have the 4v4. And then, Brad Richardson embellishes a hooking call from Demers behind the goal and suddenly our 4 minute power play becomes a 20 second power play for the Coyotes. It was a wild four minutes. The only thing that didn't happen? Any scoring.
That came later, on a power play (finally!!) when Kyle Chipchura hooked Goligoski to save a point blank goal in front of the Coyotes net. Jamie Benn scores his 30th of the year off a centering pass from Jason Spezza (welcome back, Giggles).
Unfortunately, 50 seconds later Michael Stone gets a feed from both Domi and Duclair at the point off a turnover from Johnny Oduya. With Hanzal screening, Niemi never had the puck.
And then, (I told you this was Domi's period) Domi scores his second of the period in the last two minutes. Goligoski misses a pass at the point that Duclair scoops up. Duclair skates straight through Klingberg and Goligoski, and takes the shot. Niemi stops that one, but no one gobbles that rebound and Domi cleans up. And takes their first lead of the game into the second intermission.
It took a while for the third period to get going, but Martin Hanzal scores 7 minutes in when Jason Demers takes his second penalty of the night on a really soft tripping call that . . . wasn't a tripping call when one of the Coyotes pulled it on Roussel in front of the net. Either way, Hanzal scores four seconds off the face off.
Ales Hemsky proved again how happy he is to be back in the line up after missing time for an injured foot. He scored his 4th point in 5 games on a wrap around goal that got Domingue completely turned around and off kilter. You'd think we'd try a little harder on a one goal game, but unfortunately, literally less than a minute later (again), Tyler Gaudet was allowed to skate straight up to the goal for some reason (this, again, was on Goligoski's watch) to score his first goal in the NHL. So many milestones this year, you're welcome to the rookies of the NHL.
Jordie Benn makes a sliding pad stack save (remember when Jamie Benn pulled that move earlier this year?) after Ruff pulled Niemi, but another turnover in the neutral zone gave Antoine Vermette a shot at a wide open net.
To sum up: this was just not a good game for Goligoski and Klingberg. Demers got a raw deal on both of those penalties. Duclair and Domi (and probably Domingue but it's early yet) are going to have big careers in Arizona for many years to come.