Facing off against the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Dallas Stars looked invisible for most of the game, and not just because of the new “whiteout” reverse retro jerseys they debuted. But against all odds, the Stars overcame a two-goal deficit with just minutes remaining in the game, stealing a point in an eventual shootout loss.
The team were heavily outshot by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first period, and we’re bailed out repeatedly by rookie netminder Jake Oettinger, save for a single goal by Brayden Point. Miro Heiskanen broke a 209:05 shutout streak by Andrei Vasilveskiy against the Stars in the second, but Mathieu Joseph reclaimed the lead later that period.
A power-play goal by Steven Stamkos in the third seemed to seal the deal, but the Stars pulled Oettinger for the extra attacker and scored twice in the final few minutes, goals courtesy of Jamie Benn and Alexander Radulov. An eventful overtime proved fruitless, and the Lightning scored twice against Oettinger in the shootout to secure the win.
The silver lining for Dallas is that they managed to secure a point in a game seemed destined for a regulation loss. On the other hand, there’s no moral victories when you’re this far back in the playoff race. But beggars can’t be choosers, and Dallas will take every point they can get.
Alexander Radulov almost struck first early on when Ryan McDonaugh turned over the puck with no one else around, but Andrei Vasilevskiy was able to deliver the stop. A couple minutes later, Brayden Point got a breakaway and managed to sneak the puck past Jake Oettinger’s five-hole to open the scoring.
That was a sign of things to come, as the majority of the first period was spent in the Stars’ defensive zone. It felt like every other minute there was a new Lightning breakaway, or some other type of offensive rush while the Stars struggled to so much as clear the puck. It was a lopsided matchup, destined to be an early bloodbath.
There was one Stars player who did show up to play, however — Oettinger would not be beat again, saving shot after shot. The Lightning finished the period with more than twice the shots of Dallas, but with only one goal to show for it.
Score: Dallas 0, Tampa Bay 1
Shots: Dallas 6, Tampa Bay 18
After seeing no penalties in the first period, the second was littered with them. Less than a minute in, Dallas went on the power play as Ondrej Palat went to the box for interference. This being the Stars, however, very little happened with the man-advantage, managing only a single shot on net. Not much later, the Lightning went on the power play as Dallas was assessed a delay-of-game penalty for being too slow to lineup after an icing.
After successfully killing the penalty, Nicholas Caamano had a breakaway coming out of the box but missed the net with his shot. Cal Foote soon went to the box for hooking, and this time Dallas made the power play count. Miro Heiskanen got a rebound and fired the puck past Vasilevskiy, breaking his 209:05 shutout streak against Dallas.
Miro putting it home and tying it up pic.twitter.com/GuD3JzIIrQ— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) March 17, 2021
Tampa Bay eventually reclaimed their lead, however. With a little more than five minutes left in the game, Pat Maroon found Mathieu Joseph surrounded in white yet somehow all alone in front of the net. Joseph easily put the puck into a wide open net, and Dallas failed to tie it back up before intermission.
Score: Dallas 1, Tampa Bay 2
Shots: Dallas 16, Tampa Bay 26
The final frame started a bit slow, with both teams getting some shots off on net but nothing looking particularly dangerous. A little more than seven minutes in, Dallas got another opportunity on the power play as the Lightning were called for too many men on the ice. That did little to spark the offense, however, as the Stars managed only a single shot on goal.
Almost immediately, the Lightning got their own power play as Joe Pavelski went to the box for high-sticking. They were far more aggressive with their man-advantage, with Steven Stamkos eventually ripping one past Oettinger to extend their lead.
That felt like the final nail in the coffin, but Dallas would not relent. Pulling Oettinger with more than two minutes remaining, the Stars managed to get the puck to Jamie Benn in front of the net. The captain ripped one past Vasilevskiy, breaking a goalless drought to bring the game back within one.
Just beautiful pic.twitter.com/diPt4aT3Wn— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) March 17, 2021
Too little, too late, right? Wrong. With the extra skater out once again, the Stars won a face-off in the offensive zone, and a lucky bounce led to the puck ricocheting off of Alexander Radulov’s skate and into the net, tying the game with 85 seconds left.
CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!— FOX Sports Southwest (@FOXSportsSW) March 17, 2021
All tied up with 1:25 to play! @DallasStars | #GoStars pic.twitter.com/tsobFF3amV
Against all odds, Jake Oettinger and the Stars headed into overtime for the third consecutive game.
Score: Dallas 3, Tampa Bay 3
Shots: Dallas 25, Tampa Bay 33
Dallas began the extra inning tiring out Tampa Bay with ample time in the offensive zone. Then the Lightning returned the favor by spending seemingly eternity in the Stars’ defensive zone. There was a lot of back and forth, including only one stoppage in play, before Mikhail Sergachev fired off one final shot at the buzzer, which Oettinger stopped.
And that was all they wrote for 3-on-3 overtime hockey. There’s nothing better.
Final Shots: Dallas 27, Tampa Bay 36
Final Score: Dallas 3, Tampa Bay 4
The Stars head out on the road again and will play in Detroit on Thursday, March 18th, with puck drop at 6:30 p.m. CST.