The Dallas Stars returned home after a road trip that arguably could have gone better knowing that they were coming back to friendly confines. They were undefeated at home so far this year, going 4-0 in their first home stand.
A matinee against the Chicago Blackhawks today kicks off a string of eight games at home, their longest one of the season. It’s an opportunity to make some hay and bank some points. Unfortunately, it started off with a thud with an overtime loss to one of their long-time foes in which the Stars struggled to get much offense going and the power play didn’t have the killer instinct to provide timely scoring — a troubling trend of late.
The best way to describe the Stars in the first period of today’s game was disjointed. They played fine in each of the individual zones for the most part, but couldn’t seem to get that play strung together to make much of anything happen. They also seemed to be struggling with puck security. They had possession, but when they did, the puck seemed to be just off the stick or just beyond the reach of the intended recipient.
The single-most telling play that summed all of that up was when the Stars had three players in neutral ice and somehow still weren’t covering Alex DeBrincat along the boards. He took a long lead pass and unleashed a shot at Oettinger, who made the initial save. However, the puck bounced right off of him directly back at DeBrincat, who swatted the puck into the net with a high stick. The goal was immediately waived off, and confirmed when the refs reviewed it.
Oettinger was the real story of the first period, that play not withstanding. He made some big saves for the Stars early and kept the game scoreless while the team slow-played their way into action today. Dallas did look better as the period wore on, finally establishing a few minutes of sustained pressure with Malcolm Subban shutting everything down.
The Stars definitely were missing the chaotic energy that Alexander Radulov brings to the man advantage. Even more so, they missed Radulov’s playmaking ability on the power play. They were too perimeter-focused in their early chances, not getting nearly enough bodies to the front of the net as they usually do when he’s in the lineup.
They had chances in the game to get some timely scoring as a result of the power play, and for yet another game, it failed to come through for them.
Early in the second period, Jamie Benn fought Nikita Zadarov after a hit on Ty Dellandrea by the guys in red. Generally, Benn tends to get the better in these situations — he’s a solid guy, the captain — and this time was no different. However, sometimes you have to wonder about the value of the fight balanced against five minutes in the penalty box when the game is scoreless and the team has struggled to get much going on the offensive side.
After trying the same play but having a whiffed shot keep the Stars from getting torched by it, the Stars were finally dinged on the penalty kill. Alex DeBrincat shot the puck into the net from the circle after accepting the cross-ice feed straight through the front of Oettinger’s crease from Patrick Kane. They’ve now allowed eight power play goals against in nine games, and have been particularly struggling after a strong start to the season in that department.
Dallas would go into the third period down 1-0 as a result.
The Stars had a better start to the third period, finally playing with a little more desperation in their game. However, it didn’t last beyond the first couple of minutes. The Stars followed that up with a few minutes in which they were pinned into their own zone.
Dallas finally found an equalizing goal around the midpoint of the period.
Though the power play that preceded the goal had expired, the Stars finally used some extended time in the offensive zone to get on the board. A Miro Heiskanen shot glanced off of Jason Robertson, who was setup as a screen in front of Malcolm Subban, and dribbled over the goaltender’s pads and into the net. It was Robertson’s first career NHL goal.
The two teams traded some chances after the game was tied again, but nobody scored again, ensuring each team got a point in the standings by sending it to overtime.
Jason Dickinson nearly ended overtime early in the overtime period, but his shot went just wide of Subban. Instead, DeBrincat got to be the hero after spoiling the good job Heiskanen was doing shutting down Kane on that same shift.
*Joel Hanley had one of the most egregious turnovers of the game. He had the puck just outside of his own blueline and turned it right over, forcing Oettinger to have to make a pretty big save early in the game. That will definitely be in the clips for post-game video work.
*Dickinson had a rough night on the penalty front, as he went to the box two out of the four times the Stars were shorthanded today.
*Both Dellandrea and Robertson looked good after spending some time out of the lineup. Robertson mentioned after the game that the time watching the NHL team play games made him realize he does have more time out on the ice than he may have thought. He definitely looked a little more patient and confidence with the puck.
*Those blackout jerseys are really growing on me. They just pop out on the ice. May be one of those times where it looks better off the hanger when usually it’s the opposite.