The Dallas Stars kicked off the night with a ceremony honoring the recent inductions of past players, Guy Carbonneau and Sergei Zubov, into the Hockey Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2019. Both gentlemen were in the building, sporting their Hockey Hall of Fame blazers, speaking kind words of their time wearing the Star in Big D.
Zubov took it to the house, though, when he mentioned about how much the metroplex has changed since his days here and how much the American Airlines Center has changed, with additions since he suited up here. There’s one thing that hasn’t changed, though.
“The only thing that is not changing is the fans.”
Those fans were fairly into the matchup between the Dallas Stars and the Vegas Golden Knights. Overall, it was an eventful game, which is exciting to watch, and even gave bonus hockey for your viewing pleasure.
Though Vegas may have had the early push offensively, Dallas really dictated the pace of play for the majority of the period. Vegas had a lot of one-and-done shifts, albeit a few that were dangerous and forced Ben Bishop to make a save. But the Stars were the ones that setup shop in the offensive zone, getting extended cycles and playing most of the game on one half of the ice.
There were a few shifts throughout the period where Vegas and Dallas got into a run-and-gun style, leading to a fairly lively game from the fan perspective.
Dallas eventually found a way to get rewarded for their good start when Taylor Fedun wired one through traffic and opened the scoring. Fedun was a late addition to the active roster tonight. Just prior to warmups, the Stars announced that defenseman John Klingberg was excused from tonight’s game for “personal reasons”. After the game, interim head coach Rick Bowness said that Klingberg’s absence was related to a family illness. The team expects him to be on the plane tonight as they head to take on the Nashville Predators tomorrow, but that’s something to keep an eye out for tomorrow.
Fedun didn’t even get into warmups, likely because he was getting suited up to play, because of how late the announcement came.
“A little bit of a scramble before the game,” the defenseman said after the game. “Got the word around 6:15 that John [Klingberg] wasn’t going to be able to play in the game. So I put it in high gear and boogied over here and was able to get a little bit of an off-ice warmup in while the guys were out there skating around.” As he said, sometimes you just have to roll with it.
That’s something this team has had to do a lot this week, to be honest.
Vegas came out pushing, and turned the tables, making the Stars the victim of too much time spent in the defensive zone. As Bishop made a save to his glove side of the net, he got turned around (literally, his back was to the puck, which in hockey is usually a kiss of death) and the move left a wide open net for William Karlsson to deposit the puck into.
Just like that, the game was tied.
Dallas didn’t have much of a threat up until the end of the period. It was almost all Vegas. After drawing the first power play thanks to a Blake Comeau hooking, the Stars killed off the penalty and could have gained a little momentum. Unfortunately, not long after, Vegas went the other way off a nice play by Max Pacioretty and Chandler Stephenson wristed one right past Bishop to put Vegas up 2-1.
That was a score that accurately reflected the play through two periods.
The Stars did draw a penalty with 1:41 left in the period after Shea Theodore committed a hooking on a rush into the offensive zone by Dallas. They had a couple of very dangerous looks, but Malcolm Subban stood tall for the visiting team.
Dallas started the period on the power play, thanks to the late penalty, but the 19 seconds of man advantage time didn’t really do much for them. Dallas did start to find their push again when the teams were playing at 5-on-5, but that only lasted a few minutes.
Then, the penalties started to creep into the game for both teams.
For the Stars’ part, their power play was limited a lot to the outside by the Vegas penalty killers. There was a little bit too much passing, especially when they were trying to enter the zone, and it caused issues with even being able to get setup for some cycle time in the offensive end of the ice.
Almost immediately after the penalty expired, Dallas committed one of their own with Fedun going to the box for holding. Down a goal about halfway through the period, a penalty kill wasn’t exactly what the Stars wanted, as that’s another two minutes in which you’re unlikely to get a chance to tie the game.
Dallas did kill the penalty off, and then were able to set up in the offensive zone for a few quality chances. The big guys up front for Dallas, Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, connected for the tying goal. Not long after Benn showed off a dangerous spin-o-rama move that just barely missed being one of the top plays on Sports Center tonight:
Instead, the tying goal came off a classic Benn play. He took the puck behind the net, played it off to Seguin at the faceoff circle, and setup camp in front of Subban’s net. He was perfectly positioned to put the puck into the net off the ensuing pass by Seguin. It was a clutch goal for guys that are paid to be clutch and have struggled offensively so far this year.
While both teams tried furiously to get the go-ahead goal in regulation, neither side did, and both teams walked away with a point as they headed to overtime.
The trio of Benn, Seguin, and Miro Heiskanen nearly ended it early into the overtime period after Heiskanen got a chance in tight on the net. Unfortunately, the ensuing rush the other way ended up with the net dislodged due to Heiskanen bowling into it, and the Stars were unable to change tired legs on the faceoff.
Max Pacioretty was able to take advantage of this fact. As he entered the zone with speed, he was able to dance Bishop a little bit and get the netminder out of position to put the puck home in the resulting gaping net.
After the game, Benn said the team probably didn’t deserve to win this one given the play from the second period onward. However, Bowness assessed the game as an excellent first period, terrible second, and an even third.
Taking a point out of that feels like just about the right outcome.