For the first time since the Dallas Stars opened the season 4-0, they won back-to-back games. Of course, they’ve managed to pick up points along the way in that stretch, but stringing together wins has been elusive for the guys in Victory Green.
Being able to build a little momentum from a win against the Nashville Predators would help in climbing back into the playoff race for the Stars. But that’s a tall order when facing off against one of the top teams in the Central Division in the Carolina Hurricanes.
Thanks to rookie netminder Jake Oettinger and a power play that found a good time to deliver a clutch goal, the Stars were able to string together two consecutive wins.
Oettinger wasn’t supposed to get this game’s start. Anton Khudobin was slated to start before he was placed in the league’s COVID-19 protocols. Head coach Rick Bowness is hopeful it’s a false negative. So, much like the rest of the season has been, the Stars once again employed their “Next Man Up” slogan.
The rookie netminder had a tough night, facing 41 shots against. He let in two goals on that NHL career high mark. The real key to his performance, though, was the sparkling 100% save percentage he had on high-danger scoring chances according to Natural Stat Trick. When needed, Oettinger came up with the clutch save.
On the offensive side, Andrew Cogliano kicked off the scoring thanks to a drive-by on a Mark Pysyk shot. The real key to that goal was the clean faceoff win Blake Comeau had in the offensive zone. Down a goal late in the second period, the Stars got their one and only power play chance. Stars captain Jamie Benn made a fantastic play near the side of the opposition’s net, using great stick work to tie the game up with some of the clutchest power play scoring that the team has had this season. Jason Robertson continued being arguably the most valuable player among the Stars’ forwards when he made a great play to setup Tanner Kero for the game-winning goal.
The Stars didn’t get out of this unscathed, though.
A forward corps that has been very depleted by injury this season took another hit when Jason Dickinson left the game with a lower-body injury. He joins a veritable who’s-who on the injured front: Tyler Seguin, Roope Hintz, Alexander Radulov, Joel Kiviranta, Ben Bishop, Stephen Johns, Joel Hanley. The depth of the system is being tested big time.
Unfortunately, the schedule keeps coming, as the Stars have less than 24 hours before the faceoff against the Hurricanes again. With so many injuries and the schedule what it is, Bowness said he’d love to be able to tell what the lineup will be before game time, but it’s just not the position the Stars are in right now.
Check out this shot of the game: