Mistakes Prove Costly as Dallas Stars Fall 5-3 to Minnesota Wild in Game 3
So it's these Stars again. Costly turnovers, uncontrolled rebounds, lead to Stars first playoff loss in 2016.
At some point, our high-event hockey was going to come back to haunt us, I'm just sorry it's this game, and I'm sorry it came on the heels of Patrick Sharp taking such a commanding lead.
Because he did, you guys. Nothing really fancy, just two clean shots in the first four minutes of the game to put the Stars up 2-0. And honestly? It may have been the Dallas Stars undoing in what became a 5-3 loss to the Minnesota Wild in Game 3 of their first round series.
But think about it. The last two games have been scoreless in the first period. Scoring didn't happen until the second. There was still a lot of effort on both sides, which only served to show that the Stars have really been the better team. Sharp scored his second goal on the Stars third shot on goal.
The Stars as an entire team had three more shots on goal until midway through the second period. The Wild had 10+ shots in the same time frame.
The Stars played the first period like they'd already won the game, and played the second and third like they'd already lost.
Five minutes into the third, Sharp had more than half of the shots on goal (6 of 11) and 100 percent of the goals.
But back to the first and second. It was actually kind of a weird, sad chain of events. Chris Porter scores with less than a minute to go in the first when he deflects an Erik Haula slap shot in behind Lehtonen. Then Haula scores his own early in the second when he tips in a pass from Jason Pominville. THEN Pominville scores on a rebound from Nino Niederreiter, which was assisted by John Klingberg tripping over Lehtonen and knocking him out of position.
Lehtonen had trouble controlling his rebounds tonight (with the Pominville goal as the exception, only so much you can do when a teammate is falling on you). The difference early in the game is that the defense was generally there to bail him out, but just . . . didn't later in the game. Instead of controlled urgency, they played with wild abandon, dropping pucks in the corner for the Wild to pick up, passing sloppily out of their zone directly to Wild players, and not controlling the rebounds.
Jordie Benn had a holding penalty called when Mikael Granlund held onto his stick, and Mikko Koivu scored on the ensuing power play.
Colton Sceviour scored his first of the playoffs off a deflection from Jason Demers to give Stars fans some hope in the second half of the third. Sadly, it proved to be short lived. Lindy Ruff pulled Lehtonen with under two minutes to go and Jason Pominville netted his second in the empty netter.
Things to ponder:
Ruff had John Klingberg and Alex Goligoski supporting the third and fourth lines tonight, which didn't give Klingberg a lot of offensive opportunities to feed the puck for goals. He and Goligoski both ended the night as two of our worst possession players.
Jordie Benn was in for Kris Russell, paired with Jason Demers. I seem to be in the minority of Jordie Benn fans, but despite a matching roughing penalty that led to a 4 on 4 opportunity in the second and the weak call in the third, elder Benn had a pretty effective game with his old partner.
Home ice advantage is a real thing, and the Wild took advantage of it tonight. The Stars need to regroup in Minnesota, come out strong on Wednesday, and close out them out on Friday back in Dallas. Who doesn't like winning on home ice? (Don't worry, I knocked on wood.)