The Dallas Stars have spent the last few days touring the youthful stomping grounds of Jamie Benn and Dan Hamhuis, and clearly all of that team building and camaraderie at least did Ben Bishop some good.
The Vancouver Canucks have not posed much of a challenge in the past. In the last seven visits to Vancouver, the Stars have a 6-0-1 record. Though the Canucks have had a stronger start to the season than the Stars and are coming off a three day break after stomping the Capitals 6-2 on Thursday night.
The first period was mostly about special teams, as literally half the period was played either down or up a man on the Canucks. The first penalty was called 29 seconds into the game when Alexander Radulov hooked Brandon Sutter. Tyler Pitlick has been impressive on the penalty kill, and had some good shorthanded chances in the early going.
A penalty to the Canucks gave Jamie Benn a great chance basically on the doorstep of the Canucks goal, but Jacob Markstrom handled it. Jamie Oleksiak and Marc Methot both had penalties called, but Ben Bishop kept the puck out of the Stars net.
What started as a tight game for the Stars ended up a lot more loosey-goosey than I’d like. Having the goalie work overtime just to keep the score even isn’t the best look for the Stars. Thankfully, it ended on a pretty high note with Gemel Smith stealing the puck for a shorthanded breakaway. He didn’t score, but he drew the penalty on Thomas Vanek, so the Stars started the second period on the power play.
There were fewer penalties in the second period but more excitement for the Stars when they actually scored on one. Bo Horvat tripped Jamie Oleksiak coming out of the penalty box and went right back in. The entire gap was 12 seconds. On that power play, Jamie Benn and Alexander Radulov set Tyler Seguin up for his favored precision shot. There was a review because of a wobbly net, but it was ultimately deemed a good goal.
The rest of the period was a goaltending display by both Markstrom and Bishop, though Bishop still had more to do, as the Stars defense was leakier.
And then penalties continued into the third period, with Marc Methot getting called for interference against Sutter and Jacob Markstrom attempting to save a wraparound goal from Radulov by tripping him.
The Canucks goal came at the end of what felt like a really good shorthanded chance for the Stars where Roussel had a breakaway and Markstrom actually came out of the net to poke check it. Somehow, amazingly, this did not end up in a goal for the Stars, but instead ended up in a rush back into the Stars zone and a goal for Sam Gagner, his first as a Canuck.
And then, because the Stars have no respect for my bed time, regulation wasn’t enough time for one of these teams to score again, and we headed to overtime.
Overtime looked like it was going to be blessedly short when Horvat got a great chance right off the top, but he got nothing but pipe and it was actually Radulov, who has had himself an interesting game, who was the overtime hero.
It does need to be said that if there was actual justice in this world, the Stars would not have won this game. They were wildly outplayed, and Bishop is the only reason they made it to OT. They’re going to need to figure out how to score at 5v5, and it wouldn’t be a bad thing if someone other than Seguin, Benn, and Radulov figured out some scoring. (No, I haven’t forgotten Pitlick’s two goals.) (Score some more.)
Still, a win’s a win!
Gemel Smith had a great game, with his shorthanded breakaway and some good close chances throughout the game. He’s fast and good at driving play.
Ben Bishop continues to be the goalie the Stars need (but not necessarily the one they deserve). He could put on a clinic with his performance tonight. Here’s hoping the defense learns how to defense before he turns back into a human.