It took five games but the Dallas Stars finally got a win against the defending Stanley Cup Champions. The Stars outplayed the Tampa Bay Lightning all night long. It took a comeback as they trailed 2-0, but in the end they got the win 4-3. Here’s how it happened:
Both teams played up-and-down hockey through the first part of the first period. Neither team really sustained any offensive pressure and there were only a few quality scoring chances in the period.
The first and possibly the best chance came from the Tampa Bay Lightning. With seven minutes left to play, the Lightning were on the attack. Skating towards the right side of the net, the Lightning pulled the Stars and Jake Oettinger that direction. Meanwhile, Yanni Gourde found his way to the backside of the net. The pass was there but appeared to jump over Goulde’s stick, which was a sure goal into the wide-open net.
Several minutes later, the Stars had their best opportunity of the opening frame. After some great puck handling by Jason Robertson, the Stars found themselves with the puck behind the Lightning net. Jamie Benn with the puck wrapped around the goal and backhanded a pass towards the front of the net. Denis Gurianov found the puck on his stick but couldn’t elevate the puck over Vasilevskiy.
After 20 minutes, the story of this series continued and that is Dallas inability to crack the code named Andrei Vasilevskiy. Despite outshooting the Champions 11-4, the score remained scoreless.
Wow! That’s all you can say about that period of hockey. Halfway through the Lightning had a 2-0 lead and thoughts of “here we go again” were creeping in. So far the Stars couldn’t get a puck past Vasilevskiy.
That all changed, though, thanks to Miro Heiskanen and his breakaway goal. Heiskanen took a pass from Blake Comeau. Moving the puck from his forehand to is backhand, Heiskanen went top shelf to beat Vasilevskiy and put Dallas on the board.
Perhaps the play of the period came a few minutes later and it wasn’t on offense. Ondrej Palat found himself all alone in front of Oettinger. As he took a shot, the young goalie reached out and got the save with the paddle of his stick.
Dallas appeared to use this as fuel. The Stars would not let up. With a minute and a half left in the period, Jamie Benn took a high stick and put the Stars on a power play. Six seconds later Joe Pavelski found the back of the net to tie the game.
The Stars weren’t finished though. With 15 seconds left, Jason Robertson put the Stars up 3-2 with a rocket past Vasilevskiy. The goal came off a heads up play by Pavelski, who after stealing the puck could have shot it himself. Instead, he waited and found Robertson for the goal.
It looked as if Dallas would get the win they had been looking for all season. That was until the five minute mark of the third period. That’s when pandemonium broke out in front of the Stars net and Palat found the back of the net to tie the game 3-3.
This could have deterred Dallas but it didn’t. With under a minute and a half left to play in the game, Roope Hintz took a pass at the blue line, split the defense and found a hole above the pads of Vasilevskiy for the game winning goal.
Oettinger gave up three goals but the kid is the reason why the Stars won this game. He made some big saves in some critical positions.