Jake Oettinger Shuts Out Flames, Stars Even Playoff Series
Dallas did what every team starting on the road in the playoffs wants to do: get a win in the opponent’s building.
Jake Oettinger, welcome to the show.
On the NHL’s biggest stage, the Dallas Stars goaltender playing in his first playoff series as a starter is showing that he’s an emerging force at the position. After allowing the lone goal in his team’s 1-0 Game 1 loss just 5:01 into the playoffs, Oettinger has a shutout streak that now sits at 114 minutes and ticking after leading the Stars to a 2-0 win over the Calgary Flames in Game 2.
Five goaltenders have recorded a shutout in the playoffs in Dallas Stars history. Of those, only one was under the age of 30 when he did it: Oettinger, who is just 23 years old.
The Dallas Stars come back to the American Airlines Center on Saturday for Game 3, the first in Dallas. It’s sure to be loud as the team returns to home ice, ready to put on a show for the Stars faithful that have persevered with the team all season long. After being so good on home ice in the regular season, you’d expect they’ll ride the emotions of the home crowd to their best start of the playoffs to date with a chance to take a series lead after managing to split the road games in Calgary.
The Stars came out with a much, much better first period effort than they did in Game 1. They were skating and managed to actually outshoot Calgary 9-6 in the period. Where Calgary set the tone in the first game, Dallas did a better job managing the emotions of the playoffs and slowing the game down. That played into their identity.
Enter Joe Pavelski.
He did what he does best, getting himself into a shooting lane and tipping in a Jason Robertson shot on goal. The puck changed direction so quickly on Jacob Markstrom that he didn’t have a chance to react, and it popped up and over the Flames goaltender to make it a 1-0 Dallas lead. It was their first goal and first lead in the series, ending Markstrom’s shutout streak at 67:47.
Calgary managed to adjust and get more pucks towards Oettinger in the second period. Oettinger was in the right place every time, shutting shots down and not giving up much in the way of rebounds.
The Stars got a few power play chances throughout the first 40 minutes. While they were not successful on any of them, it looked somewhat better than the performance of the man advantage in the first game of the series. The Stars apparently did a lot of video work to talk about what needed to improve on the power play, and while you wouldn’t go so far as to call it “lethal looking” by any stretch, the Stars at least managed to put up some shots — a nice change from the first match against the Flames.
For a while there to start the third period, the Stars appeared to be headed into the same defensive shell they had in Game 1 where they only mustered three shots on goal. But as the period went on, the Stars actually managed to find a little bit of a killer instinct to try to find an insurance goal. They also managed to stay off of special teams, which definitely helps the Stars when their power play isn’t clicking right now.
When Calgary pulled Markstrom near the end of the game for the extra attacker, looking for the tying goal, Dallas did something that was actually kind of rare this season: they scored into an empty net. The beneficiary of the goal was Michael Raffl, who has been a spark of energy for Dallas throughout the first two games.
The Stars needed their top line to produce, and they did. They needed their power play to be better, and it (sort of) was. But best of all, they got the great equalizing performance of a hot goaltender to ensure that the limited offense generated by the Stars was enough to get the series back to even.