If you don’t find excitement in overtime hockey, maybe watching the Dallas Stars these days isn’t for you.
The Stars executed a second straight game in which the three-on-three format displayed the talent that this team has. Unlike the last one, the Stars got the outcome they deserved this time after outplaying a team in the extra time.
Chris Thorburn and Antoine Roussel settled their early-game disagreements in the hockey way: the two dropped gloves with one another, collecting 5-minute majors for fighting and 10-minute majors for misconduct in the process. Roussel, the one that started the kerfuffle, was awarded the rare instigator penalty, and the Stars started this one almost immediately on the penalty kill.
Plenty of other penalty shenanigans followed in quick succession, but the Stars were able to fight through it and settle the game down after five minutes of odd-man situations. Overall, the first period was played quite evenly between the two teams, which actually gives Dallas a slight advantage when you consider they had no power play time compared to the two chances for St. Louis (including a short 5-on-3 chance).
Those 5-on-3 penalty kills have become a bit more prevalent recently. Amazingly, Dallas has not allowed a single goal against in that situation. Just like some of the other kills like this in games past, killing that situation – even if it was only 20 seconds of two-man advantage to kill – seemed to give the Stars a bit of confidence in their penalty killing today.
While both teams got some looks, the first period ended scoreless and reflected the equal play between the two teams.
Dallas started the middle frame with more offensive zone time. Carter Hutton put up a brick wall while the Stars’ top five-man unit of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza, John Klingberg, and Esa Lindell spent an extended shift in the offensive zone. After several quality scoring chances, the Stars would get one past him after Tyler Pitlick got a great breakaway as Roussel hit him behind the Blues defenders.
Ben Bishop was playing similarly in his net, coming up big when needed. Unfortunately, there appeared to be some miscommunication between the Dan Hamhuis and Greg Pateryn pairing off of a faceoff. Both blueliners went to the same side of the ice, leaving Ivan Barbashev uncovered for a rebound tap-in past Bishop.
The theme for the third period was “surprising places to find opposing players”. There was a moment where Benn fell to the ice tangled up with Blues defender Alex Pietrangelo behind the Blues net, who proceeded to sit on him as one would lounge on a comfortable pillow. Not to be outdone in the funny moment department, Blues defender Vince Dunn found himself sitting in the Stars bench a few minutes later after trying to jump to keep the puck in the zone. It was about as amusing as you just pictured it.
The levity of those moments were a stark contrast to the fact that the Blues were heavily outshooting Dallas in the third period during a tie game.
With about seven minutes left in the period, the Blues’ Jaden Schwartz shot a puck that had a seeing-eye, as it found the smallest of gaps between Bishop and the post to break the tie. For the second game in a row, Dallas found themselves needing to manufacture some late offense to try to pull a point out of a game.
Alexander Radulov was tonight’s game-tying hero, potting home a Seguin blind backwards pass right past the toe of Hutton and into the net. On the next shift, the Stars hustled into the zone and seemed to take the lead with a little more than two minutes left in the game after a net-mouth scramble in which Devin Shore appeared to score.
The NHL determined that he “kicked” the puck into the net, which to be honest, after looking at the close-up views of it, the puck absolutely went in off his foot. However, I don’t see how it was a kicking motion when he was falling to the ice thanks to a Blues player pushing him to the ice at the time the puck was in that scramble. I could see a better case for goaltender interference than I could kicking the puck into the net, but that’s not what the call was challenged for.
The Blues got one shot towards the net in overtime that didn’t even count as a shot on goal, on a bit of a drive-by chance. Nearly the entirety of the 3:04 overtime was spent with the Stars in the offensive zone. They were relentless on the puck, and managed to put up three shots on goal. Benn, who played one of his best games that we’ve seen in a long while, scored the overtime winner to give the Stars the full two points. With more wins than Minnesota Wild, the Stars leap into third in the Central Division – a tenuous place with an even slimmer hold on it, the Stars did what they needed today to continue collecting points.
While it’s not ideal to give up a point to a team trailing you in standings, at least Dallas got the extra to put a four-point gap between themselves and the first team outside of the playoffs looking in – the Colorado Avalanche, with 75 points and a game in hand.