The Dallas Stars’ road trip ends today in the captain’s home province as they visit British Columbia to take on erstwhile Stars Antoine Roussel and Loui Eriksson, along with the rest of the Vancouver Canucks. The Stars have recorded three points out of three games already played on this road trip and were looking to finish strong this afternoon.
The Canucks are also having a bubble season, currently only four points behind the Stars. They’re coming off a loss at home to the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday night.
The Stars had a slow start in the first period that, for the initial fifteen minutes or so, was mostly fine, because so did the Canucks. The Stars took some early penalties when newest Star Taylor Fedun put the puck over the glass, and Jason Dickinson tripped Ben Hutton. Antoine Roussel visited some familiar territory in the Canucks penalty box when he had a slashing call against Tyler Seguin.
But the only goal in the first came at full strength, and it was, unfortunately, not a Stars goal.
The play began down in the Canucks end, when Jamie Benn had a clear line to the goal but fed the puck to Tyler Seguin instead. Canucks’ goaltender Anders Nilsson made the stop and the puck went to the top of the zone, where Roussel carried it along the boards through the neutral zone and passed to Bo Horvat, who was entirely alone in front of the net. Gavin Bayreuther was hot on his heels and did try to intercept the pass, but was ultimately unsuccessful.
That did seem to kickstart the Stars a bit and momentum in the game shifted the Stars’ way by the end of the period. Nilsson made a demoralizing save on Seguin to keep the lead and the Stars went into first intermission down 1-0.
The second frame was scoreless, but not without drama. Ben Bishop had to make a big save against Brock Boeser, who had a long pass through the neutral zone and then walked by Gavin Bayreuther for a breakaway chance all alone in front of the net. Bishop stayed true to form in the second though and stopped that chance.
The Canucks got another power play when Alexander Radulov had a tripping penalty, then the Stars had their own chance late in the period when Adam Gaudette leveled Mattias Janmark against the boards. Bayreuther stepped in to defend him, but the linesmen were so quick to break the fight up that both were assessed roughing penalties. However, Gaudette received four minutes because of an additional roughing penalty against Janmark, which was served by Sam Gagner.
The Stars’ top line had done everything but actually score this afternoon. Benn and Seguin, at the end of the second, had the Stars’ only high danger scoring chances, and in combination with Jason Spezza, had nine shots on goal or, if we’re also counting missed and blocked shots, 16 scoring chances in the first 40 minutes.
The first 10 minutes were a rehash of the second period, but then Benn scored off a rebound from a Miro Heiskanen shot and suddenly there was joy in Mudville. The goal was exactly the kind of garbage goal they’d need when a goalie is stopping literally everything else. It was reviewed for goaltender interference by the referees along with the situation room in Toronto, but was ultimately deemed a good goal, which put the score at 1-1.
With just a little over three minutes left in the game, Christopher Tanev and Michael Del Zotto very politely cleared the front of the net for Radulov to have a point-blank shot on Nilsson off a pass from Benn, which put the Stars ahead in the dying minutes of the game, 2-1.
The Canucks pulled their goalie with two minutes left to go in the third. A late bid for the empty net by the Stars almost ended in an icing call. Seguin caught up to the puck and tried to poke it into the net, but was slashed by Boeser. For reasons unknown to anyone watching, Seguin was not given the automatic goal, but instead the Stars went on a very late power play.
Either way, the Stars were victorious for the first time this season as they came back after trailing for two periods. The best players were the best players, and now they’re heading home.
The Stars will play the Edmonton Oilers at the AAC on Monday, December 3, with puck drop at 7:30 p.m. CDT.