So here the Dallas Stars are at the end of their East Coast road trip, on the second half of a back-to-back when they lost last night’s game. Playing a Philadelphia Flyers team that is on a five game win streak. Should be interesting, right?
Though the Stars have a long history of ruining Flyers win streaks, dating back to 1980 when they broke a 35 game win streak as the Minnesota North Stars. They just love ruining Philadelphia’s fun. Unfortunately, tonight was apparently the exception that proves the rule.
The biggest story in the first period was special teams, what with the number of penalties called on both teams. It started 38 seconds into the game when Jamie Benn and Claude Giroux tangled in front of the Flyers bench. Midway through the period, Antoine Roussel tripped Valtterio Filppula, and while he was serving that penalty,. Sean Couturier took a roughing penalty against Dan Hamhuis during a scrum at the Dallas net. Then, still before Roussel got out of the box, Devin Shore tripped Jakub Voracek. And to round out the period, Filppula got called for tripping Alexander Radulov.
And yet, the one goal in the game did not come from a special team. Nope, it was an ordinary and (according to Craig Ludwig) blue collar passing play from Martin Hanzal to Remi Elie to Gemel Smith, who beat Brian Elliott far side.
Quality scoring chances were even in the first period, but the shots on goal favored the Stars.
Momentum in the second period swung very much in favor of the Flyers. With three minutes left in the period, the TV graphic very helpfully supplied the shot count for the second period alone, and it was 11 to 3 Flyers. The Stars looked like a team that played a game last night, when they hadn’t in the first period.
On the only penalty called on the Stars this period (a roughing penalty on Tyler Pitlick), the Flyers had a barrage of chances against Ben Bishop that eventually turned into a power play goal for Shane Gostisbehere. There was really only so much that Bishop could do for that, the Stars were not giving him much support up front, and he’d already performed some small miracles within the minute.
The saddest unofficial stat: 6 quality scoring chances for the Flyers in the second, and zero for the Stars.
Despite a weak call on Smith and a perfectly justified one on Radulov, the Stars penalty kill looked much better in the third and the Flyers couldn’t get anything going with the advantage. The Stars actually did have some good opportunities in the third, with Pitlick getting the best chance on a breakaway. But fortunately or unfortunately, neither team could beat the other’s goalie, and the game went to overtime.
I’m not normally one to blame reffing, but it’s hard not to in this overtime. Two uncalled high sticks for the Flyers, but Radulov got called on a pretty (to me) weak hooking penalty. Despite some good back and forth in 3-on-3, the Flyers ended up winning on the man advantage with another power play goal from Gostisbehere.
What didn’t help on the OT goal: Ben Bishop had his stick knocked out of his hands, and in attempting to draw a foul, got a hold of Wayne Simmonds’ stick. Bishop didn’t draw the foul, but he also didn’t let go of Simmonds’ stick, and I’m not really sure he really saw the shot coming until it was too late.
The Stars end the road trip 2-1-1, which is better than they’ve been. They’re back in Dallas on Tuesday and will play nine of the next ten at home.