Anyone else need a very soothing cup of tea after Game 4? No? Then how on earth did you get through those 76 minutes (and five seconds) without hyperventilating at least once? (No, seriously, tell me.) Where Game 3 was the blowout game, featuring the Dallas Stars falling over themselves and forgetting how to skate, let alone play hockey, Game 4 was the penalties galore game. And goals. So many goals.
This time, it ended in triumph and relief for the Stars. The Calgary Flames couldn’t contain the multitudes of Joe Pavelski with the puck and were stunned by a laser from John Klingberg in overtime. Let’s dive into a more light-hearted “Stark Reminders” — and prepare for, as usual, the puns and the strong GIF game.
Reminder No. 1: Smokey, this is not Vietnam, this is...
Joe Pavelski scoring on a power play. In 13 years of postseason appearances, Pavelski has been responsible for 22 goals scored on the power play. The dude is lethal, to put it mildly, when his team is up a man on the ice. However, he has to be near the net, and you know, supported by an offensive-powered lineup that remembers how to score. Snark aside, Pavelski really does make a difference on the power play — you only need to look as far as his assists on the man-advantage. When he’s not actively getting the puck in the net, he’s getting the puck to his teammates, who get the job done. And he’s done that a total of 162 times in his National Hockey League career.
Pavelski’s goal in the first period against Calgary is a reminder that Dallas traditionally has done well on the power play before the recent scoring woes that date back to February 25. The Stars did everything right in this one, beginning with the face-off. Tyler Seguin snapped the puck over John Klingberg, who was waiting high at the blue line and in a prime position to redirect the puck to whomever on his team was open. He sent it down to Jamie Benn, who was camped right in front of Cam Talbot, effectively screening Talbot on the puck’s location. The puck popped loose, despite Benn’s best efforts, and Pavelski was there to clean up on Talbot’s blocker side. Puck, meet net. Net, meet puck. Dallas, meet your first goal of the game.
Reminder to the Stars to get Pavelski the puck more often and especially on the power play.
Reminder No. 2: Oleksiak, This One Goes Out To You
Stop. Taking. Penalties. Both Johnny Gaudreau and Sam Bennett scored goals on the power play while Jamie Oleksiak was in the box, first for sending the puck over the glass and then for tripping Dillon Dube. Both penalties resulted in goals and resulted in Dallas losing the lead, first from 1-0 and then from 2-1. Not ideal when trying to build a lead, maintain it, and walk away with the series tied.
This is a persistent problem for the Stars before and during the playoffs and going down a player to poor penalty choices has been a defining feature of this series with the Flames. The Stars cannot afford to sacrifice leads, or players, in the heat of the game. It’s that simple. Then again, they are playing a physical team known for getting under their opponent’s skin, which is exactly how Oleksiak ended up in the penalty box twice in one period.
Reminder to the Stars to keep a cool head, stay out of the penalty box, and stay in the moment.
Reminder No. 3: What Did I Tell You?
This one is short and sweet. Joe Pavelski, have yourself a night. First career postseason hat trick. The hero Dallas needed with 11.9 seconds remaining in regulation. Get him the puck and amazing things happen.
Reminder to the Stars that Pavelski is — well, amazing.
Reminder No. 4: Nothing Can Be Said To Be Certain...
Except overtime and taxes. Okay, well, perhaps Benjamin Franklin didn’t envision the certainty of overtime hockey in the absolutely wild 2019-20 postseason. However, the length and number of overtime periods witnessed in both hub cities within the last week have been impressive to say the least. Nothing insightful about this reminder other than the note that overtime is stressful, a bracing reminder that you’re alive, and a reminder to breathe even when the puck gets terrifyingly close to the wrong net.
Reminder to Stars fans (including myself) to breathe.
Reminder No. 5: Putting The “Victory” In “Victory Green”
Rounding out this more light-hearted “Stark Reminders” with another fun one. The Dallas Stars won a game in overtime in the postseason. Joe Pavelski scored a hat trick. John Klingberg gave the Stars the win after 16:05 in overtime with a laser of a shot from high up at the blue line. The Stars screened the Flames in the defensive zone and Anton Khudobin pulled off goaltending acrobatics in overtime. It was a wild game and — honestly? — a fun one. A good reminder to us all that hockey can be fun, even if stressful.
Reminder to the Stars for more of this please. (XOXO, Stars fans)
The series is now tied 2-2 and Game 5 will be on Tuesday, August 18. Start time has yet to be determined.