After an incredibly rocky start to the season, Dallas seems to have found their feet and coming into this afternoon’s game are on a four game win streak. That last win came against Colorado on Tuesday evening. With a long four day rest under their belts, the Stars will have to get back into the swing of things pretty quickly.
Keep in mind, by the way, that the Stars are without John Klingberg, which will have a negative effect on zone entries, possession, and the power play. They are also without early Stars favorite Roope Hintz, out for at least two weeks with an upper body injury, and Roman Polak, out with a sternum injury.
This is the Stars’ first game against the Dustin Byfuglien-less Jets. While they’re having a slightly better season than the Stars, they’re definitely not the power house of old and don’t have much on the roster to plug the hole that Byfuglien left. But, they are coming into this afternoon’s game with seven points in their last four games, so they’re not exactly toothless.
Listen, eight minutes into the first period, Darryl Reaugh said “if you missed the first eight minutes, you didn’t miss much” and friends, he was not wrong.
No one likes an afternoon, the players most of all, and the game took a while to really get started. Though they didn’t score, there were a lot of encouraging signs for the Stars that were missing during their really rocky start. Their zone entries were mostly controlled, very little dumping unless they were going for a line change, and they’ve lead in shots for the entire game.
The period was just super boring. With a little over two minutes go, Jamie Benn spiced things up by taking an interference penalty against Blake Wheeler, and Patrik Laine scored on the resulting power play.
An unfortunate confluence of events, but, spoilers, the lead wasn’t going to last long anyway.
Disaster almost struck again when Josh Morrissey took a shot on net but bounced off the side bar and into Anton Khudobin’s back. Stars fans collective hearts finally skipped a beat in this game, and it definitely kicked off a more exciting second period.
Six minutes into the period, Jason Dickinson does the dirty work behind the net to forecheck the puck and sets up Mattias Janmark, completely and totally alone in front of the net, for the equalizer.
This is a great example of something the Stars have been really good at over the last eight games, and that’s forechecking and jumping on loose pucks. They’re breaking up the Jets’ zone entries and stealing the puck, driving play instead of chasing it.
If you didn’t watch this game, please at least watch the video for Radek Faksa’s second period goal:
What's better than erasing a one-goal deficit? Why, taking a one-goal lead, of course!— FOX Sports Southwest (@FOXSportsSW) November 10, 2019
The Stars get another one on the board thanks to a deflection by Radek Faksa and Dallas takes a 2-1 lead! #GoStars pic.twitter.com/n9sF15V4GZ
That is Radek Faksa outskating three separate Winnipeg Jets players to get the puck to Esa Lindell at the top of the zone, and then redirecting the puck into the net. Literally Radek Faksa against the Jets with an assist from Lindell. Reaugh said it on the broadcast and it remains true: this is a truly embarrassing sequence of events for the Jets.
Corey Perry pulled a Corey Perry and took a penalty late in the second, because why not keep things interesting, and hooked Blake Wheeler (although it actually looked like he was trying to spear him in a sensitive area). For most of this penalty, the Stars just played catch and the Jets didn’t touch the puck much at all.
The Nikolaj Ehlers took a long shot on net that Khudobin was pretty sure he had, and then it hit the ice and there was a bit of a scramble to cover it. The goaltenders have not been doing a lot today and sometimes, the shots on goal have led to some interesting adventures. Thankfully, the Jets did not tie the game again and the Stars took the lead into the third.
The period began oddly with a lot of off sides calls on both teams. When the flow finally got going, the Jets got their equalizer off a goal from Andrew Copp, who scored off a cross zone pass from Tucker Poolman.
The Stars got a power play shortly after this but it was kind of wretched. They couldn’t get anything going and the best attempt on net actually came shorthanded from the Jets and not from the Stars with their extra attacker.
Khudobin, who had quite a few missteps this game that he was either able to recover quickly from or that the team bailed him out on took a delay of game penalty late in the third. He’d left the net to break up a rush and ended up sending the puck straight up into the netting. What could have been a disaster just left the Stars with two fewer minutes to have a good chance at the go ahead goal.
Neither team was able to pull ahead so to extra time we went.
Mark Sheifele scored 21 seconds in.
It’s really not overstating things to say the Stars lost the game less than two minutes into the third when the Jets scored the tie goal. All of the air went out of the tires and the Jets remembered that they were here to play a hockey game. The Jets showed up 40 minutes late with Starbucks and the Stars hit the showers early. But hey, at least they eked out a point. They didn’t pull above .500 for the season (yet) but they didn’t really get any worse.
They are back on the road in Calgary on Wednesday evening to take on the Calgary Flames. Because it’s mountain time, puck drop will be at 8:30 PM CST.