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Radulov and Khudobin Dazzle But Stars Fall Short Again

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In a game riddled with penalties and flaring tempers, the Stars couldn’t gain the upper hand against Columbus.

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Dallas Stars Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Stars faced off tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second time in a week. Plagued by injuries (mostly notably blueliner John Klingberg’s absence for the next four weeks), the Stars hoped to earn a critical two points against the Blue Jackets, who are currently top of the Metropolitan Division. With the return of Alexander Radulov to the lineup, the Stars were looking to get more goals past Sergei Bobrovsky than their previous meeting — they only converted on one shot of 28 in Columbus on November 6.

First Period

The Stars pushed early from the first whistle with the initial shots and the first power play of the game. The man advantage yielded a good look at the Blue Jackets’ net for the Stars, but they were unable to convert on the chance. Jamie Benn and Josh Anderson dropped gloves at center ice less than ten minutes in and Benn came out on top as he took Anderson down after a few powerful punches. The tilt sent a clear message to Columbus that their physical style of play from the previous game wouldn’t be tolerated on the Stars’ home ice.

However, to compound the injury worries for the Stars, Devin Shore took an awkward fall midway through the period and did not return to the bench. Mattias Janmark stepped in to pick up Shore’s power play minutes as the Stars went on a second man advantage that proved ineffective. It was announced at the end of the first period that Shore suffered a lower body injury and would not return to the game.

Columbus provided an easy third power play for the Stars due to too many men on the ice with just five minutes to go in the period. Despite being down a man, the Blue Jackets were able to stymie the Stars in front of the Columbus net. As soon as Anthony Duclair was released from the box, he had a great touch on the puck and faced Anton Khudobin on a breakaway, but the Stars’ netminder was able to bat it away. Benn crashed toward the Columbus net with a great shot, but it was pushed away as the first period ended.

Score: Dallas 0, Columbus 0

Shots: Dallas 8, Columbus 10

Second Period

The middle frame opened with Columbus going on their first power play of the evening after Benn was called for slashing on Seth Jones. Cam Atkinson sniped a backhand shot through the Stars’ defense early into the man advantage, putting Columbus up 1-0. Tempers flared for both teams in front of the Blue Jackets’ net, but the referees were quick to prevent a second dustup in the game. Tyler Seguin was called for slashing (déjà vu, anyone?) five minutes into the period, giving Columbus their second power play of the period and of the game.

With half the power play gone, Seth Jones leveled Jason Dickinson in open ice and broke his stick on Dickinson’s chin. Blake Comeau dropped the gloves in retaliation, but the referees broke it up once more and sent both Comeau and Jones to the box for two minutes. In a strange mirror image of the first period, the Blue Jackets went on their third power play of the period thanks to a hooking call on Radulov. By this point, the entire top line for the Stars had accumulated a penalty each, and it showed in the fractured play by the team, especially as most of the second period was spent in the Stars’ own zone.

However, Radulov made an explosive return to the score sheet for the Stars with 1:40 left in the period. Off of a quick pass from Miro Heiskanen, Radulov snuck a forehand wrister past Bobrovsky to tie the game at 1-1.

Score: Dallas 1, Columbus 1

Shots: Dallas 17, Columbus 20

Third Period

The first 10 minutes of the period was split between both zones. The Stars appeared energized again after Radulov’s goal late in the second period. The Blue Jackets gave off a panicked air whenever they gained possession of the puck, while the Stars proved effective at forcing turnovers and changing the momentum of the game. The bright spot of a tense 20 minutes was when Khudobin had the crowd on their feet with his right pad save against Pierre-Luc Dubois at 10:00.

Immediately after that jaw-dropping save, Atkinson had a centering pass that should have been blocked by the Stars, but it slipped through to Dubois, who bested Khudobin 20 seconds after his first attempt. With just under 10 minutes to go in the third period, the Blue Jackets led 2-1. Not to be outdone, the Stars were granted a power play with 6:44 to go, but were unable to even the score.

Desperation was the name of the game as the final minutes ticked down in the period. After a questionable icing call against Seguin, the Stars turned up their pace, pushing hard against the Blue Jackets’ defense in an attempt to score. With 1:30 left in the game, the Stars pulled Khudobin for the extra man. The Stars also called for a timeout with 46 seconds left and attempted to regroup from the frenetic level of play. Unfortunately, despite the all-out push in the final seconds, the Stars failed to capture a crucial two points from the game.

Final Score: Dallas 1, Columbus 2

Final Shots: Dallas 26, Columbus 27

The Stars will face the Boston Bruins on Friday with puck drop at 7 p.m. CDT.