It all started so well, didn’t it? Coming off a win in the first game, the Stars looked ready to take a 2-0 lead over the Blues into their first road game of the second round. They dominated early and kept the Blues to zero shots through the first three minutes.
A little over three minutes in, Jamie Benn and Cody Eakin fight off Blues defense behind the net and Benn gets the puck out to Alex Goligoski. Goligoski, with as quick a release as you could hope for, beats Brian Elliott far side. Up 1-0, keeping the Blues to a minimum of scoring chances, what could possibly go wrong?
Everything, you guys. Everything.
The shift after Goligoski’s goal, the Blues take the puck into the Stars zone and Patrik Berglund scores off the rush. Tied. But that’s okay, right? Tied is fine.
Three minutes later, rookie Joel Edmundson scores his first of the playoffs (you’re welcome) when Dallas forwards forget to cover their men in their own zone. Blues up 1 on their second shot of the game. But it’s still fine, because the Stars like coming from behind. They live to claw back from a goal down.
And then Troy Brouwer scores off a rebound on the power play with under two minutes to go in the period and you know, a 3-1 deficit feels kinda heavy.
But hey, it’s just the first, right?
Lindy Ruff pulls Kari Lehtonen to start the second period, and Antti Niemi comes up huge, even though the Stars continue to give up prime scoring chances. Unfortunately, despite some good chances, the Stars don’t manage to score in the second either.
So then it’s the third, and it’s looking pretty good. Niemi doesn’t even have to do that much work in the third, because the Stars were trying to hard to tie it up that they gave the Blues two shots on goal. That’s it, two. And while the Stars had the puck for those twenty minutes, Mattias Janmark scored off a rush, in completely alone against Elliott. This after blowing past two Blues defenders. And then it’s a one goal game.
It was around this point that the Stars music guy Michael Gruber played “Holding Out for a Hero” during a stoppage in play and we on twitter asked ourselves, who would be street-wise Hercules to fight the rising odds?
The Captain, Jamie Benn, who scored off a rebound from Kris Russell to tie the game with under five minutes left to go in the third.
It fits, he’s certainly larger than life.
Honestly, I was so tense I could barely watch OT. The Stars played better, looked better, had more scoring chances and shots on goal. It came down to our special teams, which looked anything but special all game long. Antoine Roussel was called for interference and David Backes scored on the ensuing power play. Their second power play of OT, I might add, so all they needed was a repeat of what they’d done before. Still, they weren’t able to pull it off.
So we head out on the road to St. Louis with a 1-1 tie in the series.