In the final stop of their western Canadian road trip, the Dallas Stars head into oil country this afternoon for a match up with the number one team in the Pacific Division: the Edmonton Oilers. Yes, you read that right.
Despite having very little in their tank after the top line, the Oilers have played their way to the top spot in the early goings of this season, and it’s not even entirely on the shoulders of Connor McDavid, though it is on the shoulders of his linemate, Leon Draisaitl. Given the incredibly veteran goaltending they have, one assumes they win games by never giving up the puck.
With back-to-back wins in Calgary and Vancouver, the Stars were hoping to end this road trip on a positive note. A very interesting tidbit shared during the broadcast: the Dallas Stars are the team that have won the most on the road in Edmonton since moving to Dallas from Minnesota. They do love to win in Canada.
It was a slow start for the Stars, as Nick Caamano got called for a tripping penalty before the team had even managed to register a shot on goal. Luckily, despite having no offense in the early going to speak of, they managed to kill that penalty and keep the Oilers scoreless until the Stars assured it wouldn’t be a shut out.
Jason Dickinson struck first after fighting for the puck on the forecheck behind the goal. The Oilers tried to clear but were unsuccessful, and Jamie Benn’s screen kept Mikko Koskinen from seeing the incoming puck.
Eleven seconds after this goal, Jujhar Khaira buries one behind Ben Bishop to even the score. Miro Heiskanen tried to clear the puck along the boards and instead passed it directly to Khaira, who walked Heiskanen on his way to the goal.
The Stars attempted several times to even the score up and instead, Andrej Sekera lost Draisaitl in front of the net, which is a place you never want to lose Draisaitl.
The shot share evened out toward the second half of the period but it wasn’t enough for the Stars to get anything past Koskinen and they went into the second period down a goal.
The second period began well for the Stars, but that’s pretty much where the good times ended. Less than a minute into the second, Jamie Benn battled with Ethan Bear against the boards behind the Oilers net for the puck and found Heiskanen in front of the net.
Caamano, who did not have the best game, took a hooking penalty against James Neal, but the Stars beat that off only to give up another goal to Khaira shortly after. McDavid came rushing into the zone off a long pass from the Oilers zone, drops for Khaira while tangling up Sekera.
Stars coach Jim Montgomery pulled Bishop after this, giving Anton Khudobin the chance to be embarrassed by the Oilers.
Even with a new goalie behind them, the Stars didn’t manage to get the puck from the Oilers much. Shots through the period heavily favored the Oilers: 19-10.
Late in the period, Blake Comeau took a boarding penalty against Sam Gagner (as astute Stars fans pointed out, a very similar play to the one that almost cost them Dickinson last game) and the Stars were unable to hold out on the ensuing penalty kill.
Khudobin didn’t grab the rebound, Bear got the puck over to Draisaitl who found McDavid down near the net. Polak and Sekera crowded McDavid, leaving Bear open to move up and take the pass from McDavid. He’s a dangerous player, but the Stars need more situational awareness on special teams.
Stars enter the third period down 4-2.
It is said that a two goal lead is the most dangerous in hockey. Well. They were entirely correct. The Stars not only outshot the Oilers in the third, they scored two unanswered goals.
The Stars got their first chance on the power play when Kris Russell was called for high sticking (wait for iiiiit) Jason Dickinson in the face. Sadly, the Stars did not convert that chance.
Comeau did score at 5-on-5 shortly after this power play ended. Radek Faksa chased the puck behind the net, Andrew Cogliano (an erstwhile Oiler) had a bouncing centering feed to Comeau, who handled it beautifully.
Koskinen did not seem to see the puck even a little bit. The Stars got another chance on the power play when Oscar Klefbom went off for tripping against Alexander Radulov, but the Oilers killed that penalty off as well.
Some late pressure from the Stars finally paid off when Tyler Seguin buried a shot with less than two minutes left in the game, tying the score at 4-4. Regulation ended in a tie, sending the game to overtime.
McDavid and Draisaitl started overtime for the Oilers, but the puck never really traveled down to the Stars end at all. Jamie Benn came on with Tyler Seguin and Benn, with the patience of a saint, scored around Darnell Nurse’s screen and straight into the net. Stars completed the comeback, winning 5-4.
The Stars will be back home in Dallas for a tilt against the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night. Puck drop will be at 7:30 PM CT.