The Dallas Stars are currently on a big swing to the Eastern Conference, and this second game of the trip found them in Quebec playing the Montreal Canadiens, hoping for their first road win. Which worked out pretty well for them tonight.
The Canadiens are just back from a short road trip of their own, a two-game jaunt down the east coast to Buffalo and Boston, where they split the difference on the wins.
With Alexander Radulov back in the lineup, Stars coach Jim Montgomery split up the top line in hopes of generating scoring down the lines. (This only lasted through the first period.) Tyler Pitlick and Brett Ritchie hit the press box, and Jamie and Jordie Benn caught up some at the blue line during warm-ups.
Unfortunately, the line shuffling didn’t do much to generate offense in the first period. The one very nice moment in the first came during a commercial break for those watching at home, and that was when the Canadiens acknowledged Jason Spezza’s 1000th NHL game, a rare accomplishment among NHL players. Jason Spezza is a frequent flyer in the Bell Centre, as a former Ottawa Senator, and it was nice to see the sportsmanship.
The Stars also had some decent penalty killing, which is good because they had four minutes of it. The score was 0-0 after the first, but that’s mostly due to some good saves by Ben Bishop and the sheer luck of some bad bounces on the goal posts for the Canadiens. Shots were 10-3 Canadiens.
The Stars went on the power play 10 seconds into the second period when Phillip Danault took a slashing penalty against Tyler Seguin. The power play seemed destined to end in tragedy for the Stars as Artturi Lehkonen got a breakaway opportunity that ended in a penalty shot when John Klingberg was called for hooking. But Ben Bishop saved the penalty shot.
A minute later, in the waning seconds of the power play, Devin Shore found Esa Lindell streaking to the net. The Stars had turned over the puck in the neutral zone, but Shore stole it right back and carried it into the zone. Beautiful work from Shore to make that goal happen:
Shore did Miro Heiskenan the same favor five minutes later. The Stars were on another power play as Radulov drew a penalty on Nicolas Deslauriers. While the Canadiens were on a line change, Shore stole the puck at center ice and the Canadiens defense was caught flat-footed in front of the net. Shore found Heiskenan and Heiskenan found the back of the net with a perfectly placed wrist shot.
Technically, the Stars did score the second goal at 5-on-5, but it was just after the power play and their ability to generate offense at 5-on-5 remained a concern in the second.
Brendan Gallagher opened scoring for the Canadiens three minutes into the third on a scramble-y goal right in the crease. Montgomery called for a coach’s challenge based off the fact that Gallagher made a lot of contact with Bishop as he was scoring the goal. However, it was determined that Gallagher was pushed into Bishop by Klingberg, and the call on the ice stood.
Devin Shore set up a goal for himself midway through the third while Lindell was in the box for hooking. He and Radek Faksa had a breakaway, Shore set up Faksa, who missed the net but got the rebound back out to Shore, who beat Price backhand from his own front door.
This was Devin Shore’s first three-point night in the NHL.
The third period was littered with special teams, most notably when Max Domi and Roman Polak almost had a go, but the only thing that came out of that was an unsportsmanlike conduct call for Polak. Jamie Benn tripped Jordie Benn and went to the box for a complicated session of 5-on-3, 5-on-4, and then 4-on-4. Since no goals were scored during this time, the only thing to really pay attention to was the shot pressure, which all swung Montreal’s way.
Canadiens fans spent most of the night booing Alexander Radulov, who left Montreal after one season as a free agent in 2017. It seems fitting then that Radulov punctuated the Stars’s win with an empty net goal, making the final score 4-1 for Dallas.
And with that, the Stars got their first road win of the 2018-19 season. They’re in Toronto on Thursday with puck drop at 6 p.m. CDT.