With the Dallas Stars coming off what ended up being a rather disappointing road trip, hopes were high that being home would turn their game around. And, as luck would have it, they drew the Buffalo Sabres and starting goaltender Robin Lehner in their first game back.
Robin Lehner, who hasn’t allowed fewer than three goals on the road this season. The Stars managed to get that out of the way in the first 8 minutes of this game.
That’s right. Our first period summary will just be a list of the goals that were scored, because there were four of them.
As Daryl Reaugh was commenting that it’s a good thing there’s no possession clock, Antoine Roussel skated into the Sabres zone and threw the puck on net. Lehner didn’t control the rebound and instead left it open for Remi Elie to get his first NHL goal cleaning up in front of the net. And that, friends, was at 5v5.
So was the next goal. And the one after that, which both were really the product of a lot of work by Gemel Smith, who also got the two primary assists. With the first goal, Smith carried the puck along the boards, squeaking past several Sabres players, to throw the puck on net in the Sabres zone. Radek Faksa was in the right place at the right time to bury the puck.
This line’s transition game was perfect in the first period, with short passes that connected, and carrying the puck into the offensive zone. Which is exactly what happened to get Stephen Johns his goal. Tyler Pitlick and Gemel Smith got the puck through the neutral zone, and Smith decided against the obvious pass to Pitlick to get the puck to Johns, who had a perfect top shelf snipe.
And that’s the goal that chased Lehner from the Sabres net.
But! The scoring was not done. The only penalty called this period was against Matt Tennyson for slashing, and it resulted in a Tyler Seguin special, a one timer from his favorite spot near the dot.
By the middle of the period the shots were much more even and finally in favor of the Stars.
The second period was not quite as exciting as the first. Only two goals instead of four and one of them was against the Stars. Due to some probably pretty hefty desperation from the Sabres, the Stars chased the puck a bit more in this period than the end of the last one. And culminated in a really soft goal off a face off for the Sabres.
The Stars had iced the puck which put the face off right to the left of Lehtonen. Ryan O’Reilly, who apparently is not that bad at face offs, put the puck straight into the net. It was a trickle of a goal on what has otherwise been a really solid night for Lehtonen.
Faksa was also lost in this period, as a scramble in front of the net and a bad fall tangled with Kyle Okposo lead to a trip to the locker room for Faksa, who looked like he’d wrenched his ankle in the fall. Okposo and Faksa both got roughing minors out of the scrum and ended up in the penalty box. But, the Stars did kill the Roussel penalty.
With Seguin double shifting to make up for the loss of Faksa, the Stars had a big shift late in the period with a lot of play in the offensive end. Which had the amazing result of a Roussel goal off a pass from John Klingberg.
And the problem of getting most of the scoring out of the way in the first period is that not a lot really happened in the third. The Stars had some good defense, good possession, but weren’t able to score on Chad Johnson again.
And that was it, Stars won 5-1.
Things to really like about this game:
Kari Lehtonen. He was so solid, which is really impressive given how little he’s played this season. Other than that really soft awful goal off the face off, he was an absolute rock in the net tonight.
Secondary scoring! It’s finally happening again, with four goals from people not named Jamie Benn or Tyler Seguin. Although obviously there was also that goal from Tyler Seguin.
And they’re back at it again on Monday night against the Jets.