Anytime Edmonton Oilers phenom Connor McDavid is not on the ice, the opposition needs to take advantage. When he’s out the whole game, that urgency becomes a little less intense as the team can spread out their chances more. The Dallas Stars were the beneficiary of those circumstances tonight and did not squander the opportunity.
Coach Jim Montgomery said in the post game media availability that having McDavid doesn’t change the game plan all that much other than that his team could be more aggressive on all shifts. With McDavid playing, you have to know where he is at every shift he’s out there or he’ll make you pay for mistakes.
It took a little while for the Stars to really get into the game offensively, but home fans were rewarded with another win in the friendly confines of the American Airlines Center. It feels like most nights here at home the boys in green have a chance of winning. There’s also a rather good chance that the goals will come too, as their scoring seems to be road-related.
We’ll have an analysis of that tomorrow, but in the meantime sit back, relax, and relive another Stars win with us.
Overall, the first period felt more like an evenly played period even if the Oilers outshot the Stars 8-4. So basically, it was a very Hitchcockian period. You could make the argument that a few of those shots on goal were gimmes in that they were results from flipping the puck into the zone and it ending up in Khudobin’s space. Realistically, the teams were even in quality scoring chances per Owen Newkirk’s unofficial counts at the end of the period.
The Stars won the period on the scoreboard, though.
Brett Ritchie setup below the goal line and found Mattis Janmark standing near the bottom of the right circle. On a quick tic-tac-toe play Jason Dickinson scored from the bottom of the other circle in one of the strongest moments of quick puck movement Dallas had all game. The goal was made hilarious when Janmark’s stick exploded as he passed it to Dickinson, sending the shaft of his stick flying in Dickinson’s general direction.
In an otherwise quiet period, the Stars did have one penalty kill that was methodical and didn’t really result in the way of dangerous looks.
Slightly more wide open was the second period, a frame that Dallas seems to really find their legs and game this season. This game was no exception. The Stars out-chanced the Oilers 11-4 in the period. If it weren’t for some stellar saves by Mikko Koskinen, the Stars very easily could have been leading at least 3-0 at the end of the second period.
Alas, the goaltender – with a little help from his friends the pipes – kept the Oilers in a one-shot game nearly single-handedly.
Tyler Seguin is going to break a cross bar if he rings a shot off another one like he did tonight. He actually had at least two in the game, about half of the team’s total tonight. It just feels like this first part of the year has not been his in the goal scoring department. His eight in 28 games so far is well off his usual pace. It’s definitely not for lack of trying, as he led the team with shots on goal at 5 tonight.
The Stars also got their first power play opportunity in the second frame. News flash: they did not score.
Dallas came out buzzing to start the final 20 minutes, and Brett Ritchie opened the Stars lead to two goals when he took Janmark’s cross-crease pass and placed it right in the gap between Koskinen and the pipe.
A little more than five minutes later, Dallas capitalized on a power play when the captain Jamie Benn scored from the bottom of the left circle. The captain has been playing very well these last few games, scoring five goals in his last six games played. That is leading by example, and it comes as no surprise that Dallas has been picking up points in that stretch either.
Once the Stars had all but put the game out of reach of the Oilers, the Oilers got desperate and started making some poor choices.
One of those was the boarding of Jason Spezza by ex-Star Alex Chiasson. Roope Hintz took great exception and started trying to pick a fight immediately. He’d get four for roughing out of it while Chiasson would get the two for boarding and a two for roughing. Out of the fracas around those two came Darnell Nurse and Devin Shore exchanging some punches. They’d both get five for fighting.
It came on a shift directly after Oilers’ Zack Kassian received a 10 minute misconduct. Pretty sure he wasn’t wishing the referee a happy holiday with his language that caused him to get that kind of penalty.
The Oilers would break Khudobin’s shutout streak with a little less than five minutes left in the period off a kind of fluky play in which Jujhar Khaira swiped at his own rebound and it managed to trickle past Khudobin’s pad and into the net.
Dallas would try to make the game even more interesting when Gavin Bayreuther committed a delay of game penalty. With the empty net, the Oilers had a two-man advantage but the Stars strong penalty killing came up big when Esa Lindell cleared the puck and scored a shorthanded empty net goal early into the kill to make the game 4-1.
Bet you didn’t have that in the “type of goal that will seal away the win” pool tonight.