Stars Win It For The GrandmOtter, 3-2 Over The Wild

The Stars get a much-needed Game 4 win, with room for improvement.

Stars Win It For The GrandmOtter, 3-2 Over The Wild

Well, Stars fans, here we are in Game 4 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, where absolutely every game counts. A fact that the Dallas Stars have seemed a little loosey-goosey with in two of the first three games of this round. In Game 3, their neutral-zone play was a mess, they couldn't get into the offensive zone to save their lives, and it ended up costing them the game.

With the series already tied, even one game hurts.

In lineup news, Colin Miller was out and Joel Hanley was in. Joe Pavelski is still out. John Klingberg came back in for the Minnesota Wild after making his playoff debut in Game 3.

Also, Grandma Oettinger was in the stands.

First Period

You could call the first period boring – plenty of people did on Twitter. No one will judge you. It was also the first period during this entire playoffs that was fully 5 v 5.

If you look solely at the shot count, nine for the Wild and eight for the Stars, you miss the pings and the misses and the fact that the Stars actually had more going on offensively than the Wild did.

Wyatt Johnston and Thomas Harley both hit iron – just inches the other way would have been a goal, but they don't count as shots. What the Stars were missing was the high-danger shots in the crease, and they weren't picking up many rebounds.

Room for improvement from Game 3: Their neutral zone movement is much improved, and they had more controlled entries into the offensive zone. Room for improvement in this game: they allowed quite a number of odd-man rushes that  Jake Oettinger saved their bacon on, but that's not something they can depend on long-term, and they shouldn't have to sacrifice defense for better offense.

Now they just need to score.

Shots: Stars 8, Wild 9
Goals: Stars 0, Wild 0

Second Period

The 5 v 5 streak ended at one, so can you call that a streak? Four penalties called in the second period, two per side, but it was the interference call on Marcus Foligno that put the Stars up one on a shot from Tyler Seguin.

Truly worrisome for the third period was how many times the Stars let the Wild head down the ice on an odd-man rush, trusting that Oettinger would do what he seems to always do and stop it – but again, that's not a model for repeated success.

The goal from Seguin came from the area that they couldn't seem to get a shot off in the first period. Segs picked up a rebound to finally knock it home.

The Stars started the third with 21 seconds of penalty kill time off a call for roughing on Thomas Harley.

Shots: Stars 19, Wild 23
Goals: Stars 1, Wild 0

Third Period

It needs to be reported that in the power play that stretched across an entire intermission, the Wild recorded not a single shot on goal.

Then came another penalty for the Stars, this time a fairly weak call on Evgenii Dadanov for interference on a guy that had the puck when he was hit. The Wild did actually record a single shot on goal with their man advantage, but Dadanov retaliated by scoring right out of the box, aided by a beautiful net drive by Roope Hintz for a screen.

The official video:

The Stars had a beautiful chance to make it a 3-0 lead, but instead it popped out to the Wild. On the other end of the ice, Esa Lindell broke up a Wild pass and passed it straight to his defensive partner. But not the current one, the one that was traded to the Anaheim Ducks and from there to the Minnesota Wild. John Klingberg made it 2-1.

Marcus Foligno attempted a hit on Mason Marchment, who sidestepped it but ended up down on the ice. Foligno received a penalty for tripping, which is just as questionable as the call on Dadanov, but resulted in a power play goal for Tyler Seguin, on a pass from Jamie Benn.

The Wild pulled their goalie for the extra attacker with three minutes left to go in the game.

Mats Zuccarello took a dive when Jani Hakanpää touched his leg with his stick, putting the Wild back on the power play with less than two minutes to go. Frederick Gaudreau cleaned up a rebound behind Oettinger.

Oettinger had a big save on Marcus Johansson to keep the game from overtime, and that did it. Stars win 3-2 and tie the series.

Shots: Stars 24, Wild 35
Goals: Stars 3, Wild 2

The Stars will be back home on Tuesday night in the American Airlines Center. Puck drop is a much more reasonably scheduled 7 pm CST.