With a team in Dallas that has struggled on the road, the Stars continued their series of must-win games. This time they were up against the Minnesota Wild on the road to continue their run at the wild, wild-card race.
Just 2:51 in and Jamie Benn started the scoring off early, as Benn put absolutely every ounce of hustle he had coming in off the bench into the offensive zone and Tyler Seguin found him in the slot. With Benn’s first shot on the game, he was able to bury the puck in the back of the net, and so it would be 1-0 Dallas early on.
Remi Elie drew in a penalty, and so with 6:57 left in the first period, Dallas headed to their first power play of the evening. There wasn’t enough puck movement from the Stars offense though, and Minnesota was able to kill the penalty off. However, the Stars did grab hold of a second chance as Antoine Roussel was hit with a high stick and Minnesota took a double minor, so the Stars had four minutes to operate on the man advantage.
Unfortunately for the Stars, Mikael Granlund had a two-on-one on John Klingberg and put home a short-handed goal to tie the game up at one a piece.
Dallas had some great puck possession to start out the game in the first period, which gave Kari Lehtonen a fairly easy beginning to the sixty minutes. Yet with the power play not operating as planned and the Stars not pulling clear on the board, it was 1-1 heading into the middle frame.
Minnesota had their first power play of the game as Benn was called for high-sticking and the Wild were able to make the Stars pay. Matt Dumba fired home an absolute rocket of a one-timer and gave Minnesota the 2-1 lead. Just 59 seconds after taking the lead, the Dallas defense started to collapse as Zach Parise and the Wild extended their lead to to 3-1.
Not all was lost though as a quite beautiful redirection of the puck from Devin Shore cut down the lead and put the Stars right back in the game. Dan Hamhuis sent in the original shot and Shore’s redirection found its way past Devan Dubnyk to make it 3-2.
With less than a minute to go in the second period, Klingberg was called for hooking, which sent Minnesota to the power play for what would have been the remainder of the period and into the third. Unfortunately, the Wild were able to cash in yet again with the extra man and take a two-goal lead, 4-2, courtesy of Jason Zucker.
Something worth noting is that Stephen Johns took a hit in the first period and didn’t come out for the second. Johns was questionable to return, but did not come back at any point of the game, which meant that Dallas continued on with only five defensemen.
Alexander Radulov with a hooking penalty late in the third period put a stop to a rush for the Wild. As Dallas killed off the penalty, Parise was called for slashing, and opened the door slightly on the Stars’ chance to get back in the game. Yet the Stars weren’t able to capitalize and the final minute of the game saw an empty netter from Parise to make it 5-2 for the Wild.
If you had to summarize the third period in minimal words, try this one - the Wild cruised to a three-goal lead and the empty netter drove the final nail in the coffin of the Stars’ playoff hopes.
The Wild defense had none of the Stars offense and cruised through the final period to a 5-2 victory, which severely hurt the Stars’ hopes for the playoff picture. Dallas will head home to AAC to play the Minnesota Wild for their final match-up this Saturday. That game will be the final home game of the season for the Stars and a reunion night for Mike Modano. So if you haven’t already, go grab your tickets now and show the Stars some much-needed love - and get an autograph from the great Modano as well! Puck drops on Saturday at 7 p.m. Central.