The Dallas Stars visited Jamie Benn’s home town (or close to it) tonight, taking on the Vancouver Canucks in Rogers Arena. The game meant different things to each team. A win tonight for the Stars would have meant clinching a return trip to the postseason, instead they brought the magic number down to one with their shootout loss. A win tonight for the Canucks, already eliminated from playoff contention, meant very little.
This is the final of three meetings for the two teams, who split the previous decisions between them.
The first frame was a bit demoralizing for Stars fans by the end, but it started on a really great chance for Benn, who drew a penalty in the first two minutes of the game. Unfortunately for the Stars, Ben Hutton tripped on his own player in front of the net about a minute in to the power play, and Tyler Seguin went off for “tripping,” making the rest of the Stars power play a 4-on-4.
Just after the Canucks power play ended, the Stars got caught in their own zone. The puck hit Roman Polak in the upper body on the way towards the net, and it ended up being Seguin battling Tim Schaller for the puck behind the net. Schaller scored from behind the goal line.
The Stars can't stop Schaller, they can only hope to contain him!— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) March 31, 2019
That's his 3️⃣rd of the season, all scored on Dallas. pic.twitter.com/gjhl4XBtXO
Polak was out of position and Miro Heiskenan was tied up elsewhere. That was Schaller’s third goal of the season, by the way, and his third goal against the Dallas Stars. Truly some powerful witchcraft at work there.
The wind truly went out of the Stars’ sails around the time of their second power play though, when Alex Biega went off for holding against Valeri Nichushkin. The Stars had one shot on goal — a wrister from Tyler Seguin — and spent most of the time chasing the puck behind Anton Khudobin. Ben Lovejoy saw power play time, if that gives any indication of how that power play went.
A minute after that power play ended, an absolute calamity in the neutral zone led to a terrible turnover, and left Sven Baertschi all alone in front of Khudobin, who was so concerned regarding which side the puck would fall on that he didn’t close the five hole.
The Stars had a good chance to bring it back up to within one with Alexander Radulov right up in Jacob Markstrom’s front door, but Markstrom deflected the shot and the first period ended in a tragedy.
Shots: Stars 12, Canucks 12
Goals: Stars 0, Canucks 2
There are positive and negative takeaways for the second period. Positive: the Canucks did not score any more and were outshot by the Stars. Negative: the Stars couldn’t actually do anything with those shots on goal, and the score remained 2-0 through two periods.
Jason Dickinson drew a penalty early in the period, but the Stars again only had one shot on goal. Blake Comeau went off two minutes later, but the Canucks only had two shots on goal on that opportunity.
One thing from this period that is important to note — the Stars did not give up. They tried pretty hard to score, actually. There were many, many shots right in front of Markstrom, but Markstrom, in super frustrating fashion, stopped them all.
That’s all there really is to say about this particular period.
I'm still trying to think of a game this season where Khudobin wasn't good. Dobby is the only reason there is still hope tonight— Bruce LeVine (@BruceLeVinePuck) March 31, 2019
Shots: Stars 24, Canucks 22
Goals: Stars 0, Canucks 2
Blake Comeau went off again for tripping in the first minute of play in the third, but thankfully for Comeau, the Canucks again failed to make anything of the man advantage.
Then Andrew Cogliano finally got the Stars on the board off two rebounds from right in front of Markstrom. Where was his support? Who knows?
The answer to the Dallas Stars’ question here, by the way, is Alexander Radulov, who scored off a rush about five minutes after Cogliano’s goal.
Radek Faksa, who likes to keep things interesting, took a hooking penalty against Adam Gaudette to give the Stars a chance to show off their penalty kill again in the last five minutes of the third. Despite some really close chances for the Stars (and the Canucks), 60 minutes wasn’t enough tonight to decide a winner, and to overtime this game went.
Shots: Stars 37, Canucks 30
Goals: Stars 2, Canucks 2
Despite almost nothing but possession by Dallas in the entire five minutes of overtime, an extra five minutes couldn’t do it, and the game went to the shootout.
There’s no recapping eight rounds of tense shootout action, except to say that this shootout went to eight rounds of literally no one scoring until Markus Granlund made his shot and Mattias Janmark didn’t.
Final Score: Dallas 2, Vancouver 3
The Stars fell in the shootout, but came from behind to tie it and force overtime. This brought their magic playoff number down to one. If the Arizona Coyotes lose in overtime or regulation tomorrow, the Stars will clinch. Alternatively, they’ll have another chance for the magic point on Tuesday night at home versus the Philadelphia Flyers. Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m. CDT.