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Recap: Stars Earn A Point In Loss To The Blues

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February 29 wasn’t their day to leap a little closer to the top of the division standings.

Dallas Stars v St Louis Blues Photo by Joe Puetz/NHLI via Getty Images

The Dallas Stars spent Leap Day 2020 in a dominance fight with the St. Louis Blues, which meant it was business as usual on a date that only comes every four years.

Unfortunately, the game became defined by penalty trouble, to the Stars’ cost. At one point, the Stars went on the kill three times in the space of five minutes, but they went three periods and three-on-three overtime without getting a power play of their own. Losing 4-3 is better than losing 5-1, but any loss to St. Louis stings more than most.

That said, even this loss – like Thursday’s against the Boston Bruins – demonstrated some of the Stars’ resiliency and their determination to tilt the ice in their own favor. They went shot-for-shot and hit-for-hit with arguably their nastiest nemeses, and they showed they can score when they need it.

First Period

Stars fans had to know this game would be a roller coaster when Tyler Seguin nearly scored on the opening face-off. Segs would have to wait about eight and a half minutes to draw first blood, though, tipping in his 17th goal of the season on a point shot from John Klingberg.

That lead lasted about four and a half minutes. David Perron got a tip-in of his own to tie the game.

Second Period

This frame began inauspiciously as Roope Hintz got an interference call on Alexander Steen in the first 25 seconds. The Stars’ penalty kill passed this test, but they went a man down again just 20 seconds later as the refs called Jamie Oleksiak for tripping Robert Thomas.

The Blues took advantage. Tyler Bozak got the go-ahead goal with a tip-in on a Vince Dunn shot. The Stars responded by giving up their third power play in five minutes – Alexander Radulov got two minutes for slashing Sammy Blais. This time, the PK held up.

But the Stars’ sluggish legs caught up with them again. After a neutral-zone turnover and a two-on-one rush, Brayden Schenn sent home the Blues’ third goal of the night, and his fourth in four games.

The Victory Green Gang needed a turnaround, and they got it from Denis Gurianov and the DENIS system (copyright Sean Shapiro, who’s not covering this game):

  • Demonstrate speed
  • Evade opponents
  • Neglect defenders
  • Inspire hope
  • Score

Miro Heiskanen forced David Perron into an excruciatingly bad turnover, and Jim Nill’s Ovechkin Baby did the rest. This unassisted breakaway is all the more amazing when you consider there were only four Stars on the ice who had sticks at that moment.

Food for thought:

Gury’s speedy breakaway seemed to shake the other Stars awake, too. The rest of the second saw a more determined and energetic Dallas attack, with four shots and six hits to show for it.

Third Period

How the tables can turn. The Stars started turning up the pressure early, spending more time in the Blues’ zone and taking a toll on the Blues’ energy.

When St. Louis inevitably pushed back, Anton Khudobin kept the Stars within one goal with a handful of key saves, including this one:

Dobby headed for the bench with 1:15 left as Dallas went for the extra-man advantage. This time, John Klingberg came up with the clutch heroics, hitting the top shelf just over Jake Allen’s glove. Jamie Benn and Corey Perry assisted on the goal that tied the game with less than 20 seconds remaining.

Overtime/Shootout

Gurianov was on the ice for the first shift, and that was a win for any number of Stars fans right there. The teams traded breakaways and backhands for five minutes, but not even Benn or Bozak could wrap it up during three-on-three time.

The shootout was won on saves. Ryan O’Reilly scored on the backhand to get the Blues on the board first, and the Stars’ shooters were unable to convert.

The Stars maintain third place in the Central Division, and the Blues widened their lead incrementally. See you Tuesday.