So what did they do? They broke a power-play drought. They broke an overtime drought. Their best players showed up in a big way. And Kari was KariKariKari.
The game was goal-less for more than 10 minutes, but Vladimir Tarasenko opened the scoring with a breakaway from the blue line on Kari Lehtonen.
Ruff's reaction pic.twitter.com/4q3XlAkx14— Stephanie (@myregularface) May 6, 2016
Fortunately, Lehts pulled off a few saves like this to make sure the Blues didn't get another chance in the first frame.
Lehtonen save pic.twitter.com/ILvmIKrs2A— Stephanie (@myregularface) May 6, 2016
Bad news, good news: The Stars couldn't convert on the first penalty of the game – a Jay Bouwmeester high stick on Jamie Benn at 3:57 – but they made good work of killing a late-period penalty Cody Eakin took for a holding call on Alexander Steen.
Score at intermission: Stars 0 – Blues 1
Were you shocked but not surprised to see Radek Faksa draw first blood for Dallas, four minutes into the frame? StarFaksa walked in all alone to collect this forehead-slapper of a giveaway by Joel Edmundson and knock it right in.
Finally, the Stars power play came up aces, and Our Gang took a 2-1 lead thanks to Patrick Sharp and his net-front presence (plus some sweet, sweet assistance from Jamie Benn and Jason Spezza).
Alas, Kris Russell and David Backes headed to the box for mutual slashing, and Eakin sat down for slashing on Jaden Schwartz a little more than a minute later. The resulting four-on-three gave Paul Stastny the opportunity to even the score with an assist from The Tank.
Stastny ties the game on the PP pic.twitter.com/F13XcSiNOS— Stephanie (@myregularface) May 6, 2016
Bad news, good news: The team let the Blues back in, but after allowing they also managed to hold their own during about five weird minutes of overlapping penalties (after Alex Goligoski got called for hooking Patrik Berglund, followed in short order by Steen interfering with Faksa). Both teams were probably fortunate merely to hold the game down at that point.
Note: Moments before the end of the period, Razor commented that this game "smell[ed] like overtime." You can thank him for it, obviously.
Score at intermission: Stars 2 – Blues 2
This was the frame in which Valeri Nichushkin started throwing his weight around, literally. Big Val shot, he hit, he moved the puck like a boss. Basically, he did everything but score, in part because of uncalled interference.
Nichushkin gets slashed with the puck, breaking his stick, ending an offensive chance.— Brandon Worley (@brandonworley) May 6, 2016
The Stars demonstrated the return of their possession and transition game, but it didn't make much difference in regulation. However, they did hold off the Notes to take the game into OT.
Score at end of regulation: Stars 2 – Blues 2
Well, that didn't take long, did it. Less than three minutes into the bonus period, the Ginger Ninja put it away, as even @NHL had to (almost grudgingly) admit.
There was plenty of redemption to go around tonight:
- With 24 saves, some of them mastodonic indeed, Kari kept Our Gang in the mix throughout. This was the performance of a No. 1 goalie.
- Eakin's GWG was the biggest "all is forgiven" moment of the past...ever, maybe. Let's see how long this Era of Good Feelings lasts.
- Need your best players to be your best players? How about Sharpie, Jamie and Speznasty breaking that power-play drought. Can you dig it? I knew thatcha could.
Game 5 is Saturday at noon Central time. In American Airlines Center. Welcome home, heroes.