Dallas Stars Strike Early, Beat St Louis Blues On Their Home Ice
The Blues have a stellar record on home ice, but the Stars gave them their sixth regulation loss this season at Scottrade Center.
Can the Dallas Stars always play the St Louis Blues? These are always such fun games (if you're a Stars fan, anyway).
The Stars scored three goals in the first period, an offensive explosion that many didn't expect with half of the normal top six out for the Stars due to injury. With Tyler Seguin's 29 goals, Patrick Eaves' 13 points and Ales Hemsky's 23 points out of the lineup, there's some big offensive players missing.
Instead of struggling for offense tonight, captain Jamie Benn broke out for the first hat trick of his career to lead his team to a resounding win against a Central Division opponent. You should go look at all of the goals he scored. It's cool, I'll wait.
Benn and Jason Spezza picked up their chemistry from earlier in the season and made a lot of magic happen tonight, as Spezza collected three assists to go with Benn's goals. Cody Eakin added his 11th goal of the season among Benn's three to put the game basically out of reach for the Blues by the middle of the second period.
The real story of the win, however, is more likely the stellar defensive play and solid goaltending the Stars received tonight.
Ever since the Stars traded for Jhonas Enroth, Kari Lehtonen has posted a 37 save shutout of the Florida Panthers and a 27-of-28 save effort in tonight's game. He honestly could have had a second straight shutout if it weren't for the broken play off of a faceoff in the waning minutes of the third period as the Blues pushed to try to get back in it.
Lehtonen has been spectacular recently.
He was helped by a five man effort on defense in front of him, as forwards were committed to backchecking and the defense didn't commit as many turnovers as they've been wont to do in games past. When mistakes were made, they had the support of the rest of the unit there to ensure it didn't end up in the back of the net.
At the end of the night, this was just about the most complete team game we've seen this season. It couldn't have come at a better time, with Stars fans questioning how this team would respond to the injury adversity they were facing.