The Dallas Stars were on the road in their former hometown tonight, taking on the Minnesota Wild on the first game of a short road trip north. The Stars, who had gone on an epic streak in the end of October through the majority of November, have lost two in a row now to teams in the Central Division, and they’ve got three more coming up, including this afternoon’s game.
The Wild are having a similar season to the Blackhawks, they’re almost tied in points. They’ve had a streaky season: winning two, losing two, winning one, and so on. Based on history, they’re due to lose this afternoon.
Unfortunately for all of us, trends don’t actually equal real world results 100% of the time.
What to say about a period of hockey that was basically just a goalie battle? Ben Bishop kept the Stars in the game, especially during the latter half of the period when all of the momentum and shot share went to the Wild.
Both teams had their opportunities on the power play. Jamie Oleksiak went off for holding against former teammate Mats Zuccarello, and Ryan Donato went off for holding against Roope Hintz. They both had good opportunities, Bishop stoned Jared Spurgeon up close and also managed to keep a few scrambles out of the net. Tyler Seguin had both power play opportunities for the Stars but was unable to solve Alex Stalock.
Either way, the game was scoreless at first intermission, where it is hoped the Stars got a injection of some life and some scoring opportunities.
Safe to say they did not get any injections of anything useful during the intermission, as the Stars finally got a shot on net during a power play 9 minutes into the period. Corey Perry drew an interference call on Jason Zucker. Two shots on that power but nothing to show for it on the scoreboard.
Zucker returned the favor to the Stars five minutes later, pulling Oleksiak into the penalty box for an interference call in front of the net. Unfortunately, the Wild did score on that power play.
Kevin Fiala deflects a pass from Mikko Koivu in past Bishop on the power play to get Koivu his 700th point in his 1000th game. Wild break through first.— Dylan Nadwodny (@dnadders) December 1, 2019
DAL 0 - 1 MIN | #DALvsMIN pic.twitter.com/XaU4EitQrM
Seguin won the face-off but the Stars were unable to clear the puck out of their zone. It came loose out of a scrum in the corner and Mikko Koivu threw the puck on net, where it deflected in off Kevin Fiala’s skates. Deflections are difficult goals for goaltenders to figure out, and Bishop did not have this one.
It should be mentioned here, because we’re an equal opportunity fan site, that it’s Mikko Koivu’s 700th point in his 1000th game and the fans in Minnesota were (rightly) pretty excited about it.
Shortly after this goal was scored, Ryan Donato went back into the box off a hooking call on Esa Lindell. It wasn’t a terribly exciting power play until the very end, when John Klingberg got the puck up at the top of the zone.
Controlled zone entries are really working for the Stars right now, and this is a prime example. They controlled play coming in and kept possession of the puck. Klingberg got the puck at the point while Jamie Benn was providing expert level screening.
And, please do not let Ben Bishop’s absolutely killer stop on an Eric Staal breakaway pass you by.
If the third period goes the way we all want it to go, this stop will be why.
This game continued to be a battle through the third period, where things didn’t truly get terribly exciting until more than half of it was over. But before that, Jamie Benn “knocked the sod off” Eric Staal.
jamie benn says i hit you now pic.twitter.com/QfIkU8RCUW— Dylan Nadwodny (@dnadders) December 1, 2019
You see, it’s funny because the Staal family has a sod farm in Canada that supported four sons in hockey.
Blake Comeau scored with 6 minutes left in the game to give the Stars their first lead. Radek Faksa had carried the puck into the zone and shot on goal. It was blocked by Stalock but the rebound wasn’t controlled. Comeau won the puck battle with Staal, came around the net, and scored the go-ahead.
The Stars did a decent job of not letting up on pressure after going ahead with so little time left, but unfortunately for them, the referees called a pretty questionable holding call on Alexander Radulov. The kind that only got called because it’s Radulov, and the inevitable happened on the ensuing power play.
If you’re inclined to be charitable, it is a pretty amazing feat of hand eye coordination as he batted it out of the air.
No one was able to score another go-ahead in the last minute, so the game went to extra time, where they played the full five minutes of 3-on-3 with a lot of chances either way and no actual scoring.
The shootout went four rounds and for reasons unknown at this juncture, Stars coach Jim Montgomery chose Alexander Radulov and Corey Perry as two of the four shooters, despite the fact that neither of them have great recent success, though according to Sean Shapiro, Perry is 10th in NHL history for game winning shoot out goals. Stars lost after Koivu made his goal but Perry didn’t.
At least Koivu had a good 1000th game?
The Stars losing streak extends to three (though at least they got a point here) and they face another division rival on Tuesday night in Winnipeg. Puck drop against the Jets will be at 7 PM CST.