The Dallas Stars don’t always win the easy way. However, as one of the league’s best teams in comeback wins, you can’t ever count them out either. Tonight was no exception when they took on the Montreal Canadiens as their eastern Canada road trip continued.
For the fourth consecutive period on this road trip, there was a goal scored in the first 1:30 of a period. This time, though, it was Dallas on the watching end. It wasn’t the worst defense the team has had on a goal against. In fact, you could argue that it wasn’t all that terrible in the lead-up to the goal:
Max Domi’s shot at Ben Bishop would create a rebound that hit right at Joel Armia’s feet. He had the mental acuity to simply shovel it past Bishop when gifted with the opportunity.
The first half of the period would see Montreal dominate Dallas, with a lot of time spent in the offensive zone forcing Dallas to play defense and try to weather the storm. The Stars would eventually start to get their own chances in the last half of the period, where they limited Montreal to just one shot on goal after running up a 10-3 lead.
Carey Price is an elite goaltender, and elite goaltenders playing in the second half of a back-to-back still make great saves on good players. He put up the stone wall, and Dallas went into the intermission down 1-0.
Montreal adjusted their game, and came out of the intermission playing better than they had when they exited the ice after 20 minutes.
They seemed to have figured out that if they got to the crease area in front of Bishop, they could get some quality looks. For their part, Dallas was giving them that positioning, in a departure from their usual defensive style of play. Jordan Weal capitalized from that area to advance the Canadiens’ lead to 2-0. Then, Nick Cousins sent a shot in on Bishop from the faceoff circle that went right through Bishop, who looked awfully human for the first half of the game.
All of a sudden, Dallas was facing a 3-0 deficit. They’ve come back from a three goal deficit only one time this year, and that was the crazy 6-3 win over the Minnesota Wild that sparked a 14-1-1 stretch for the Stars at the end of October.
Joe Pavelski, returning after missing a couple of games thanks to an upper-body injury, would get the Stars on the board thanks to a Marco Scandella gift of a turnover. He found a streaking Mattias Janmark headed to the net and hit him in stride. Janmark, who hadn’t scored a goal in 15 games, buried it. At the very least, the Stars weren’t going to get shutout in the game.
That goal sparked the life back into the Stars.
Dallas would get the only two power play chances in the game for either team, and though the zone entries on both left a lot to be desired, the play in the zone off faceoff wins was pretty good. It would take until the dying seconds of the second chance for the red hot power play of the Stars to find the net, but it did thanks to a Tyler Seguin effort. After going 17 games without a goal, Seguin now has back-to-back games with a power play tally.
The Stars would go into the third period down just one goal.
Dallas came out hungry for the tying goal. Though the shots on goal don’t really show it, Dallas seemed to have the puck in the offensive zone significantly more than Montreal. Dallas seemed to be one “just a matter of time” phrase away from tying the game.
They would a little over halfway through the third frame, on a Blake Comeau shot that quite honestly should not have been a goal — it was a weak Hail Mary-style shot that usually Price would have:
Montreal would have a bit of a push to try to restore their lead, but Bishop stood tall and the team earned a hard-fought point by pushing the game into overtime.
Though Dallas was never called for a penalty tonight, it sure looked like a case could have been made for a slashing or tripping on Jason Dickinson during the overtime period. He tapped Armia’s hands with his stick from behind, and Armia fell to the ice in an effort to get a call, but the referees didn’t see anything there to call, apparently.
Bishop had to come up with a few big saves in consecutive shifts by the Canadiens after that play. It seemed to energize the Stars, and not long after, Seguin had an absolutely filthy goal to win it in overtime to reward his goaltender’s efforts in the 3-on-3 segment:
He’s baaaaaaack, and the Stars pull within one point of the Central Division leaders, the St. Louis Blues, with the extra point tonight.