The bad luck, low shooting percentage, and lack of even-strength scoring wasn’t going to last forever the way the Dallas Stars have been playing so far this season. Tonight, we saw a bit of an evening out to the mean, with an offensive explosion by the Stars.
They beat Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Scott Darling two times in the first period and two times in the second period. All their goals came at even strength, with Tyler Seguin and Tyler Pitlick having themselves quite a night. Pitlick scored two goals and Seguin scored a heck of a breakaway after coming out of the penalty box.
Unfortunately, the Stars weren’t content to just sit on their lead (or, better yet, build it up beyond surpassing). They had to make it interesting. After all, who likes boring hockey?
Jeff Skinner was tough to contain by Dallas tonight, as he potted two goals for the Hurricanes. His first one came at the end of the second period, with just 10 seconds left, when he was able to put home his own rebound. The second one was a lot more contentious. Ben Bishop felt that Skinner’s stick to his glove hand did not allow him to make a save on the eventual goal-scoring shot.
The Stars challenged the goal against for goaltender interference.
Sadly, they lost their first challenge of the season. I guess an uncalled slashing-type play isn’t the definition of “goaltender interference”. As a result of losing the challenge, the Stars lost their timeout about mid-way through the third period. It’s a rule change the NHL made this summer to cut down on the number of lengthy goal reviews experienced last season, and unnecessary reviews used more as a pseudo-timeout for teams by challenging goals on flimsy evidence.
Those two straight goals against gave Carolina a ton of momentum. Just after a late period power play chance by Carolina Dan Hamhuis got tangled up somehow in Bishop’s equipment as he was on the side of the net. That left the entirety of the net completely free of the big man that keeps the shots out, and they made an easy tap-in to bring the score to 4-3.
In the span of basically one period of hockey, we went from watching a 4-0 game to a one-goal game. I bet the Stars would have liked to have had their timeout to settle down a bit after that. Unfortunately, they did not, and the game continued.
A slashing call on Martin Hanzal with only about three minutes left in the game could have been a breaking point for this Stars team. Carolina was able to pull their goaltender and make it a 6-on-4 power play opportunity, being down a goal.
But they forgot one thing. Bishop was in net. He came up with that save. He was a stone-cold shot killer. He saved the game, and the Stars now have four wins in a row.
* In my opinion, the defensive effort wasn’t terrible for Dallas tonight, even if the score might look otherwise. Especially when you consider that second goal against was iffy at best and the third goal was the kind of fluky you only see rarely. The one part of their game I’d really pick on from tonight would be the way the power play looked. While it never came back to bite them too badly, the Stars allowed just a bit too much puck possession by the Hurricanes when they were shorthanded. Give lots of credit to Carolina, it was a very effective penalty killing technique. They hampered the Stars’ ability to get any real meaningful cycle game for big stretches on the man advantage.
*Antoine Roussel had a much better night tonight than his last game. He was very aggressive on the penalty kill, helping that unit keep themselves with a clean sheet in that regard.
*Radulov has underrated passing skills. If you haven’t seen it already, check out Jamie Benn’s goal off that sweet drop pass here.
*The Stars’ top players are the best on the ice, exactly what you want to see. The depth scoring is starting to come along. Is this a trend in the right direction in terms of offense?