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Stars Complete Comeback With Shootout Win Over Predators

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After going down 2-0 early in the first period, the Stars forced the game into extra time, with Alexander Radulov and Tyler Seguin scoring in the shootout to grab the win.

NHL: Nashville Predators at Dallas Stars Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight’s game might have been the most entertaining of them all so far this season. Of course, if you’re either coach in this one, you might say it was a little *too* exciting.

The Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators combined for six total goals, and one of the wonkiest box scores in overtime in the league, probably. Man power in the five minute extra time reads like this: 3-on-3, 4-on-3, 5-on-3, 5-on-4, 5-on-5, 3-on-3.

How did they get there?

First Period

Dallas didn’t look particularly good to start the game, and it bit them pretty quickly. They allowed a goal just 34 seconds into the period. I wish that sentence was the first time this season, but it most definitely is not. The Stars have a bad habit this season of not starting (and sometimes not ending) periods like they’re prepared to play a full 20 minutes.

It didn’t get much better in the first half of the period, either.

The Stars couldn’t capitalize on their first power play opportunity, and on their second of the game, they allowed a shorthanded goal. Jamie Benn tried to do a soft pass over a defender’s stick and then power past him to recover it himself, but was very unsuccessful at it. The ensuing turnover led to the shorthanded goal when Calle Jarnkrok picked Ben Bishop’s stick-side corner. (That’s been a particular weakness of Bishop’s, with two similar goals against in the game against the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night.)

That goal against seemed to wake the team up a little bit. On their third power play of the game, the Stars were finally able to punch one past Juuse Saros and cut the lead to 2-1. They’d go into the second period with that score.

Second Period

It looked like the Stars were off to yet another terrible start to another period of hockey, except this time it was a little unwarranted. Greg Pateryn was called for a tripping penalty just 22 seconds into the middle frame, but his stick – and his body – was nowhere near the Predator that fell down. Chock that one up to a call made by an official that didn’t have the best angle to see the full picture.

Dallas did a good job on the penalty kill, and it seemed to give the team more confidence to continue their play from the last half of the second period.

The Stars finally evened the game up off of a rebound goal by Antoine Roussel, who was rewarded for his netfront drive-by putting him in the perfect position. The best part of that goal was that Roussel was able to bat the puck in and kept his stick below the level of the crossbar, something that takes a certain amount of awareness to pull off so quickly. He’s had himself a few good games in a row now.

Dallas would take their first lead of the game not long after when Martin Hanzal scored a rebound goal of his own after an excellent entry into the zone by Jason Spezza. He hit Gemel Smith for a shot on goal off the faceoff dot, and Hanzal went to the front of the net to put home the rebound.

They kept trying to score after taking the lead, a nice change from going into a bit of a shell as they have so often tried (most of the time not so successfully) this season. Unfortunately, nothing was going and the Stars were left trying to get another as time expired in the period.

Third Period

Although they’d had a fairly clean game so far, the Stars penalty kill couldn’t kill off the second penalty they took tonight. About five minutes into the third period, the game was brand new and it came down to who won the last 15 minutes of the game.

Well, neither team won the next 15 minutes. Dallas may have won the “how did they not score there?” category about five times over, though, after Saros was down for the count and the Stars tried eleventy-billion times* to put the puck into the net to no avail. There had to be about 5 Predators bodies on the ice at one point, which is likely what salvaged a point for Nashville tonight to begin with.

Overtime

There is nothing as heartburn-inducing as 3-on-3 overtime for a Stars fan, as the team has the ability to be adventurous in both good and bad ways in this format. And nothing will quite send your blood pressure through the roof as taking a tripping penalty in the extra time, as Benn did tonight. It was a little too déjà vu for Stars fans after watching the team do something similar in Philadelphia just a week ago.

They decided to double-down on it when Dan Hamhuis was called for a cross-check. It was the first time I’ve ever seen a 5-on-3 power play in the overtime period. Interesting fact: once Benn’s penalty expired, the teams played a 5-on-4 penalty kill until a stoppage in play could be had to send one player aside off and make it a 4-on-3 as overtime dictates.

That kill of 31 seconds of 5-on-3 in overtime brought this building alive tonight. Stars faithful did their best to give the team energy, and the team responded in kind by not just killing that one off but killing the Hamhuis penalty off two.

Shootout

Radulov and Seguin scored in overtime and Bishop made two saves for the Stars to complete their comeback and take both points against Nashville. Yes, you’d like to see them have locked down the lead and win it in regulation. But you have to be pleased with a comeback win like this for the team. They haven’t done it often this season, and they more than put on a show for the Stars faithful.

Odds & Ends

*I thought Benn and P.K. Subban were heading towards a fight early on in this one, as the two kept mucking it up against each other during play and after whistles. They both settled down and alas, we were not given that particular show tonight.

*Outside of the first 10 minutes of the game, I thought the Stars did a fairly good job of getting sticks in lanes tonight.

*I don’t know if it’s because Benn still isn’t used to playing a center position or what, but he had several plays tonight where he was in the same position on the ice as one of his wingers. Someone is either going to get hurt because Benn can be a bull on skates, or that’s going to lead to more goals against. Either way, that needs work.

*Grubes played over 11 different versions of Smashmouth’s “All Star” song, and I don’t know whether to be amused that so many of those exist or scared of what the internet can do.

*This building was playoff-level loud. I’m sure that had zero bearing on the outcome of the game but I have to imagine that the players really enjoyed how much the fans were behind them during those huge penalty killing minutes in overtime. Good job, Stars faithful.

*Happiest of holidays to all of you. We appreciate each and every one of you and wish you all the best this holiday season. Let’s kick 2017 to the curb and start 2018 off on good footing.

(*Just an estimate.)