Re-alignment years ago may have moved the Dallas Stars out of the Pacific Division and resulted in them squaring off with the Anaheim Ducks fewer times throughout the season, but the disdain the two teams have for each other from the “old days” still lingers.
In their first meeting this season, the Ducks wasted a multi-goal lead and watched the Stars skate away with the game in the middle frame on their way to a come-from-behind 5-3 win. Last night, the Ducks seemed determined not to have history repeat itself. After tying the game up, the emotions of two desperate teams boiled over, leading to Radek Faksa’s first fight of the season and giving us a two minute video with a lot going on.
Let’s look at this in more detail, step by step through the video:
1) Esa Lindell gets bumped by Nick Ritchie right to Ben Bishop’s left next to the pipe.
2) Here Jamie Benn and John Klingberg get caught puck chasing and Radek Faksa drifts back to protect the slot area as Roman Polak closes the lane between the net and the Duck at the point.
3) Every single Dallas Star is staring at the puck just moments before the puck gets shot towards the net. Lindell appears to have good positioning to block the shot, and Bishop is closing off the bottom of the net.
4) Somehow that puck finds daylight over Bishop’s shoulder and goes in. There really wasn’t much else that could have been done to stop this goal against – it was just a fantastic seeing-eye shot.
5) N. Ritchie starts to celebrate the goal…by giving Lindell a friendly push?
6) Lindell is now beyond mad. He retaliates with a crosscheck. The old adage says it’s not the act that gets punished but the retaliation. Luckily in this case, N. Ritchie’s reaction leads to both guys going off the ice – Lindell for the crosscheck and N. Ritchie for roughing.
7) As N. Ritchie tries to fight Lindell, the Ducks and Stars start to close in on their respective teammates. This is the spark that will lead to all-out chaos.
8) Even Bishop gets a few shots in and then skates away once the real mayhem gets underway.
9) Jamie Benn, wearing Luke Schenn as a sweater, skates in to get hold of Ryan Getzlaf from behind, causing the Stars captain to take on two Ducks at once. You can’t ever say Benn is afraid to get physical.
10) Marcus Pettersson gets hold of Radek Faksa’s jersey front and tries to shake him like a rag doll.
11) Faksa tries to break free but can’t. So what’s a player to do? Fight, obviously.
12) Oh, but he doesn’t just fight Pettersson. He goes old school jersey-over-the-head fighting moves. Pettersson, who had never had a fight at the NHL level before, didn’t realize that he took on a weight-class a level above when he picked Faksa to tangle with.
13) That move got Pettersson so tangled up that Faksa got in a few body shots uncontested.
14) Faksa was an overwhelming winner according to hockeyfights.com in this one. Hard to argue with that, either, considering the only real punches Pettersson landed were from his knees as the referees separated the two players.
15) Getzlaf skates away from the whole scene, yapping at Bishop the whole way it seems. I’m no expert in lip reading, but I imagine that what was said was on the...grittier...side of the spectrum.
History did repeat itself — the Stars used yet another strong second period to beat the Ducks 5-2 in their second of three meetings this season. With tensions high in this game, it’ll be interesting to see how both sides manage it when they meet their final time later this year. (And by year, we mean calendar year, because the NHL schedule masters scheduled all three match-ups within the first three months of the season for....reasons.)
The emotion encapsulated in this play was a big part of why Dallas was able to win last night. They played with a desperation that seemed to be lacking during the three-game loss streak. It’ll be important for the Stars to bring this level of emotion and engagement as they embark on a six-game road trip that very well could define their season.
That road trip kicks off on Sunday.