The Dallas Stars welcomed the Arizona Coyotes into the American Airlines Center for the second time this season, looking to extend the club’s win streak to five games. The Stars were coming into the tilt flying high after arguably the biggest win of the season on Saturday night against the Central-leading Nashville Predators, meaning that this matchup was perfect for the so-called trap game.
The Coyotes came into the evening riding a 6-2-2 run in their last 10 games, and looking to rebound after a 3-2 overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks during the weekend. The Coyotes have gone all in on the youth movement and they play like it — attacking teams with relentless speed and physicality. The team had also received stellar goaltending as of late, with Darcy Kuemper perfect in regulation in his last eight starts.
The game could be billed as a clash of styles with the defensive Stars meeting the speedy, youthful Coyotes, who were looking to inch closer to a spot in the Western Conference Wild Card race. From every direction, the tilt looked to be one that wouldn’t disappoint. And it didn’t. Buckle up, fans, this was a wild game.
The first period began rather slowly, as the first whistle of the contest came 14 seconds into the contest, setting harbinger of things to come for the initial five minutes. The only real noteworthy event of the early stages of the frame came when Alex Galchenyuk lost control of his stick right into Esa Lindell’s face, earning him two minutes in the box and giving Dallas their first power play of the evening. However, the vaunted top ranked Coyotes penalty kill was equal to the task, as Dallas was unable to generate much of anything with the advantage.
As the period continued, tempers began to flare as Richard Panik wedged his stick below the belt on Jamie Benn, who naturally took offense. The two jousted with their sticks, earning matching slashing minors. This led to four-on-four hockey for two minutes.
During the ensuing double penalty session, Tyler Seguin came dangerously close to opening the score, as a sizzling shot just missed the Coyotes net. The play then broke towards the Dallas end, where Oliver Ekman-Larrson joined the play late, snapping a shot past Ben Bishop to give the Coyotes the 1-0 lead.
The period reached the midway point while the Coyotes’ 20th ranked power play took the ice for the first time, as Benn headed right back to the box for high-sticking on Mario Kempe. The chance started quickly for the Coyotes as they zipped the puck around the Stars penalty killers, while showcasing their obvious quickness. Jason Dickinson needed attention after blocking a shot on the kill, while Miro Heiskanen appeared to be high-sticked (uncalled) as he cleared the puck to kill the remainder of the penalty. Overall, the first penalty kill of the night was a strong one by the Stars, being the bright spot in an otherwise forgettable first 15 minutes.
Arguably one of the best chances of the period came with Seguin and Alexander Radulov on the ice, as the Coyotes turned a puck over, which led to a slick pass by Seguin to Radulov, who then fanned on the chance. The fanned shot proved to be dangerous for the Stars, as the Coyotes broke the puck out with speed on a two-on-one. The resulting scramble from the odd man chance at the Stars net was almost deadly, when Derek Stepan threw a puck into the crease, only to be thwarted by Bishop.
The Stars put together three very strong shifts in a row as the period hit the five-minute mark. Heiskanen came very close when he blasted a puck towards the net, only to hit bodies in front. A shot from John Klingberg moments later suffered the same fate, but it seemed as if the Stars were starting to find their way in the contest.
In the dying seconds, Bishop quite literally kept the Stars within reach when he came up with an absolutely massive blocker save on a three-on-one chance. The period ended with the Coyotes up 1-0 after the Stars chased for the majority of the period.
Shots: Dallas 10, Coyotes 14
Score: Dallas 0, Coyotes 1
Good news would come for the boys in Victory Green with Dickinson rejoining the group to start the period, as he was able to shake off the effects of the blocked shot that sent him down the tunnel in the first. Not to be outdone by the whistles that bogged down the opening moments of the first period, the second period began with three whistles in 37 seconds, in a start that yielded little and left much to be desired.
The period also started with the Stars fighting the puck a bit, as they turned it over multiple times, the most glaring being the pass by Tyler Fedun right to a Coyote forward who promptly scampered into the Stars zone. The yips with the puck wouldn’t be confined to the Stars, as the Coyotes fought the puck to the tune of a delay-of-game penalty on Kempe, handing the Stars their second power play of the night.
The advantage started rather difficultly for the Stars, as the aggressive Coyotes’ penalty kill forced the Stars to panic a bit with the puck. The panic led to early clears for the Coyotes, as they easily disposed of the first power play unit. However, the Stars settled down when the second unit climbed over the boards, as they quickly gained the Coyotes zone. Jason Spezza set up on the half wall, as he deployed a half slapper that found the blade of Roope Hintz, which put the Stars on the board and tied the contest at 1-1. The goal is be Hintz’s third of the season.
As the period reached the midway point, the Coyotes caught the Stars napping, as they beat the Stars’ back-check and fed the puck back to the point. Former Star Kevin Connauton whipped a puck towards the net that deflected off of Roman Polak and past Bishop, giving the Coyotes a 2-1 lead. The goal would come after a stretch where both clubs skated up and down the rink, with spurts in both offensive zones.
Dallas seemed to struggle often with the speed and tenacity of the Arizona attack, as the Stars defense looked hurried in their own end. The result would be repeated turnovers and frantic plays from the Stars, who watched as the Coyotes widened their shot advantage and stamped the game with their system.
Off of another putrid turnover in their own zone, the Stars once again had to be bailed out by Bishop, who made a sparkling save in tight to preserve the one-goal deficit. Not to be outdone by the Stars netminder, Darcy Kuemper responded with a highlight of his own, a sassy glove save on a scorching shot by Fedun. To say the goaltending was large in this game would be an understatement, as Kuemper again snared a blistering shot by Benn with his glove.
There was a scary moment late in the period as Brett Ritchie leaned on former Star Alex Goligoski, who went violently into the boards. Goligoski eventually skated off under his own power and Ritchie was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct. The Stars penalty kill proved to be up to the task over the first half of the kill, ending the period on a positive note.
Score: Dallas 1, Coyotes 2
Shots: Dallas 18, Coyotes 27
The Stars began the period much like they ended the second: down a man on the always lethal five-minute major penalty kill. However, the Stars quickly nullified the Coyotes’ advantage when Mattias Janmark sprang behind the Arizona defense, forcing Ekman-Larsson to put the phantom hook on the Stars forward. The Stars peppered the Coyotes to start the four-on-four portion, so much so that the Coyotes threw the puck over the glass for the second time, putting the Stars on the deadly four-on-three power play.
The Stars quickly established zone time in the Arizona end, moving the puck up between the point and the half wall. Klingberg received the puck from Seguin, who patiently waited for the Coyotes defense to open up before he put the puck on net, deflecting it off of Benn and past a screened Kuemper. Tie game at 2-2.
The offensive onslaught to start the period didn’t stop there as the Stars again attacked the Coyotes penalty kill. Heiskanen set up the attack from the point, before firing a puck off the backside of Radek Faksa and into the Arizona net. The goal completely turned the game on its head, giving the Stars their first lead of the evening, 3-2.
However, the Stars still weren’t done scoring some goals as the team instantly placed pucks deep behind the Coyotes defense. Dogged work along the wall by Dickinson led to an incredible feed to Janmark, who quickly deposited the puck behind a stunned Kuemper. That was the third goal for the Stars in a span of 71 seconds, and extended the lead to 4-2.
The Coyotes tried to regroup and the Stars did their part to help them by taking a quick penalty courtesy of a Fedun hooking penalty. The kill went well for the Stars until Bishop was caught out of position, leading to a goal by Vinnie Hinostroza. Not to be outdone by the offense from the Stars, the Coyotes once again came back and forced turnovers from the Dallas defense. This turned fatal as the puck found its way to Galchenyuk in tight, who put it past Bishop to tie the game up at 4-4.
The game settled down for a bit, as both teams seemed desperate to find their defensive posture after the burst of offense. However, Seguin was having none of that, as the Stars once again chipped the puck behind the Coyote defense, with Benn winning the puck behind the net and feeding it to a wide open Seguin. Seguin quickly wristed the puck on net and past a sprawling Kuemper, giving the Stars a 5-4 lead.
Following the goal, the Coyotes responded with strong shifts from multiple lines, forcing face-offs deep in the Stars’ end after Bishop proved to be equal to the Coyotes’ bids. The Stars won some breathing room, as Benn continued to create turnovers by being a dominant force, foiling Coyote defensemen as they tried to retrieve the puck behind their own net.
The Stars relied on their defense and goaltending as the game ticked down to five minutes left, as they received timely stops and clears from the back end. The Stars made life difficult once again for themselves as the Coyotes drew a penalty when Blake Comeau clacked skates with a Coyote at center ice, earning himself a tripping minor.
Arizona opened the power play with a frenzied charge at the Dallas net, zipping the puck through lanes before pumping shots at Bishop. The Coyotes pulled Kuemper with a little over a minute remaining, giving them a de facto two-man advantage for the balance of the advantage. The Stars killed the penalty thanks to an incredible effort in goal by Bishop, who stopped the Coyotes on the doorstep to preserve the lead.
Stars fans were vocal in their countdown of the final seconds and the horn sounded to give the Stars the win at 5-4.
Final: Dallas 5, Coyotes 4
Shots: Dallas 29, Coyotes 49
The Stars will head on the road after this. They’ll face the Predators in Nashville once again on Thursday, February 7, with puck drop at 7 p.m. Central.
- Seguin recorded a goal for the third consecutive game.
- Dallas extended the win streak to five, which is a season record.
- Benn had a dominant night, as he played a physical game from puck drop and recorded a goal and an assist.
- Bishop stopped 45 of 49 shots and was the equalizer down the stretch.
- This was arguably one of the roughest evenings for Heiskanen, who turned the puck over and was on the ice for the tying goal from Galchenyuk.
- The Stars are now 28-21-4 for 60 points and have a four-point lead for third in the Central Division.