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Epic Goaltending and a Second Period Hat Trick Lift Stars Past Golden Knights

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Ben Bishop and Radek Faksa get gold star treatment after this. Forever, probably.

NHL: Dallas Stars at Vegas Golden Knights Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday night saw the Dallas Stars in Las Vegas for the second of three meetings between the teams this season. As Stars fans are aware, this season has not been kind to the Stars on the road, but there was hope, going into tonight, that having the dads on their dads’ trip might be inspiring for the Stars players.

Just as everyone predicted, the Vegas Golden Knights have been dominant at home. They’ve even been pretty good on the road. They are currently sitting at number one in the Pacific, so they’ve been a lot better than pretty much anyone expected this season, and beat the Stars at the home opener in Dallas earlier this year. All of this sounds a lot like the Stars were set up for failure tonight.

Perhaps the most impressive part about the success the Golden Knights have had is the number of goaltenders they’ve gone through. It’s possibly as many as eleventy billion, but is actually five: Marc Andre Fleury, Malcolm Subban, Oscar Dansk, Maxime Lagace (Texas Stars fans should recognize this name) and Dylan Ferguson. The Golden Knights have had a rotating cast tending net for them this season. Currently, they’re running with Subban, younger brother of PK Subban, and Lagace as backup.

And let me tell you, Subban looks good in net, especially through the first period, which could properly be called a goaltending battle with a few errors on both sides that left the goaltenders hung out to dry.

The Stars best chances came on a pass from Alexander Radulov to Jamie Benn, who got tied up with Golden Knights defenders in front of the net. Then Gemel Smith got a close shot off, but Subban handled it easily.

Best chance for the Golden Knights came off an error by John Klingberg, who turned the puck over in front of the net to countryman Oscar Lindberg.

Of course, it didn’t hurt that Lindberg also got away with a hook behind the net.

I have to mention the sad power play before I get to the good stuff in the second period. The Stars began the period with a pretty sad power play on which they got one shot on net. The less said about that, the better.

A few minutes into the period though, it really started to seem like the Stars finally had their skates under them. A lot of up close chances for the Stars, particularly a point blank shot on a breakaway from Tyler Seguin that Subban just robbed him off. It was truly epic goaltending, hats off to Subban.

And a lot more hats were off by the end of the period, because Radek Faksa got a natural hat trick in the last 7 minutes of the period. It was pretty great, so we’re just gonna talk about all three goals. The first came in a brief period of 4v4 play when both Reilly Smith and Tyler Seguin ended up in the box. Greg Pateryn and Dan Hamhuis were the defenders out with Radek Faksa and Mattias Janmark for the special team.

Pateryn got the puck to Hamhuis, who led the two Golden Knights defending Faksa on a chase, leaving Faksa completely alone in front of Subban. Hamhuis passed to Faksa and it was just a simple matter of beating Subban, which he had little problem with.

So that was one. Two was something that the Stars got away with, really. Faksa scored again from right in front of the net. Gallant called for a goal review for goalie interference. It looked pretty clear to me that we were going to lose because Gemel Smith was tangled up in Subban’s stick, but the goaltender interference wheel was spun and a good goal was announced.

And then, eight seconds later, as twitter was still crowing about the goal review decision, Faksa scored again, right off the face off, right in front of the net.

About five hats were thrown, a stuffed fox ended up on the ice, Radek Faksa licked the gravy on his first career hat trick, and the Stars left the second period up 3-0 on the Golden Knights.

The third period was a lot like the first, but the best part about it was that the Stars didn’t turtle up and coast on their three goals. Efforts were still made, they didn’t get sloppy, and best of all, the Golden Knights didn’t score. At all.

There’s still cause for some concern, and I don’t want to rain on a well deserved parade, but the Stars can’t rely on second period hat tricks to bail them out, and Ben Bishop is the sole reason that Faksa had the opportunity to win the game on three goals.

But don’t dwell on that now, friends. Dwell on the fact that the Stars handed the Golden Knights their second loss at home of the season. The worst road team in the NHL beat the best home team in the NHL. And not only beat them, but blanked them.

Sprinkles for all!