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Benn Scores in Shootout as Stars Win 3-2 Over Oilers

The Dallas stars continued their western Canada road trip tonight in Edmonton against the Oilers. The biggest storyline heading into the game was that of goaltending and the playoff hunt. Ben Bishop was listed as day-to-day with a lower body injury this morning after coming out in the second period of the Calgary game last night. Justin Dowling was also listed as day-to-day with an upper body injury after blocking a shot last night. Meanwhile, the Oilers are currently outside of a playoff spot looking in, while the Stars sit five points ahead of the Colorado Avalanche in the first Wild Card spot. The game proved to be a battle of goaltending against the top lines from both teams.

First Period

Anton Khudobin made several early saves to start the game, easily turning aside shots from the top lines of the Oilers. Roope Hintz was assessed a hooking penalty three minutes into the period, which created more work for Khuodbin and gave the Dallas penalty kill an early shift in the game. As the last second of the power play ticked off on the clock, Leon Draisaitl snuck a shot through the Dallas screen to put the Oilers up 1-0 with 15:04 to go in the first. It was his 47th goal and 100th point of the season. This is first time since Jari Kurri (44 goals) and Jimmy Carson (49 goals) in the 1988-89 season that the Oilers have had two 40-goal scorers.

The Oilers continued the pressure throughout the first half of the frame, which included a sharp chance by Connor McDavid at Khudobin’s glove side, but the Dallas netminder was able to turn it aside. The Stars looked exhausted on the ice after the physically demanding game in Calgary the night before. The lackluster puck possession was evident in the fact that after 10 minutes of play, Dallas only had three shots on goal compared to Edmonton’s 12. Khudobin was facing just over a shot per minute and had already blocked 11 of those 12 chances. With five minutes to go in the period, Jamie Benn had the first real chance for the Stars, but it was shut down at the net. Alexander Radulov and Tyler Seguin followed that up, but Seguin was unable settle the puck off his skates for a shot.

With 4:21 to go in the first, Zach Kassian was called for tripping John Klingberg, and Klingberg was called for — wait for it — embellishment. Dallas fans in the building weren’t pleased with the call, but the teams went to 4-on-4 hockey regardless. A few minutes before the call, one of the referees exited the game due to injury, and it was perhaps being down an official that led to a strange penalty on Klingberg. Thankfully, the Stars were able to kill off the power play and remained down only by one goal.

Edmonton nearly had a second goal toward the end of the period. Khudobin caught the puck in his glove, but it trickled out and bounced down behind him. Instead of rolling into the net, the puck rolled off to the far side of the post, leading to a sigh of relief from Khudobin and Stars fans everywhere.

Shots: Dallas 5, Edmonton 15
Score: Dallas 0, Edmonton 1

Second Period

What began as a defensive zone turnover by the Stars became an absolutely filthy play by McDavid and Draisaitl. McDavid snagged the puck from Draisaitl and wrapped it around bar-down on Khudobin from the far side to make it 2-0 for the Oilers just over a minute into the period. The goal was McDavid’s 40th of the season and his 114th point, and Draisaitl made it 101 points for himself with the assist.

After the early goal, the Stars continued to struggle with puck possession, with much of the play in the defensive zone. The first five minutes of the period were an eerie déjà vu of the first, as the puck resided in the Dallas zone consistently. The Stars continued to grind on the defense, looking lackluster in the neutral zone as well. With six minutes gone in the second, the Stars trailed in shots by a factor of almost three-to-one.

Radulov responded to McDavid’s goal by notching one of his own at 6:20 in the period. Seguin cleared the puck through the defensive screen in front of the Edmonton net and sent it over to Radulov, who was waiting at the face-off dot for him. Radulov fired a snap at the net that found nothing but twine to make it 2-1 and give the Stars a chance in the game. His goal came on the power play, putting Dallas at 71.4% for scoring on the man advantage during the current road trip.

The goal by Radulov breathed life into the flagging Dallas side, as several of the Stars fired good shots at the Edmonton net in quick succession. Edmonton was assessed a delayed penalty, which put Dallas back on the power play and Mikko Koskinen had to think fast to make a handful of saves against the Stars as they pushed hard with net-front presence. The Stars were unable to convert on the man advantage, but looked much more cohesive and dangerous after two consecutive power plays in the period.

Despite this, the defensive pairings gave up critical turnovers in the neutral zone that led to several high-danger chances for McDavid and company. Khudobin (and the posts) were able to turn them aside each time to keep the score 2-1.

Shots: Dallas 12, Edmonton 31
Score: Dallas 1, Edmonton 2

Third Period

The final frame began with lots of back and forth between the two sides as they battled for control of the puck. The Stars had several good looks in front of the Oilers net, but were unable to capitalize on any of them.

At 7:47, Miro Heiskanen came up clutch for the Stars with powerful snipe from the slot to tie up the game. Jason Dickinson and Hintz were credited with the assists that pulled the puck from the neutral zone and through the wall of Oilers in the Edmonton zone to get it to Heiskanen. The rookie defender didn’t hesitate to fire the puck at the net and it went down off the bar to make it 2-2 with 12 minutes left in the game.

After Heiskanen’s goal, the Stars carried that momentum with more high-danger shots at Koskinen in an attempt to take the lead. Despite being outshot by a factor of two-to-one, the Stars managed to make up for it in speed and pressure amidst several good looks. Hintz nearly notched the go-ahead goal on Koskinen’s glove hand for Dallas with three minutes left in regulation. Koskinen was able to freeze it for a defensive face-off and keep the score at 2-2. As the clocked ticked under three minutes to go, the Stars turned desperate and began firing more shots at the Oilers net. The Stars were unable to capitalize on any of the chances and the teams headed to overtime.

Shots: Dallas 20, Edmonton 39
Score: Dallas 2, Edmonton 2

Overtime & Shootout

The Stars iced their top line of Benn, Seguin, and Heiskanen to start overtime. Oskar Klefbom had a wide-open chance at Khudobin, but the Stars netminder was able to block it.  In the trend of the night, the Stars struggled to clear the puck out of their own zone in the first two minutes of overtime, which led to several chances for the Oilers. Mattias Janmark nearly got the puck over Koskinen’s shoulder, but was stopped just short of the goal. The Stars trapped the Oilers in their own end and prevented a line change, which led to a long shift by the Oilers and lots of looks on Koskinen. McDavid responded with a few blistering shots, but was unable to settle the puck into the zone and Khudobin batted the final shot away with an incredible poke check. With both teams held off the score sheet, the game headed to the shootout to determine the final score.

First up, the Oilers sent out Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who snapped one past Khudobin. In response, Radulov was blanked by Koskinen, who knocked the puck up and over the net. Next, Draisaitl was stoned by Khudobin’s leg pads, but Seguin went five-hole on Koskinen and the puck found the back of the net. McDavid, Heiskanen, Sam Gagner, and Klingberg were all turned aside in the third and fourth rounds of the shootout. Alex Chiasson sent his shot high and was denied to kick off the fifth round. Next up was Benn, who banked one off the post and in to secure the win in overtime for the Stars.

Final Score: Dallas 3, Edmonton 2

The Stars continue their road trip on Saturday, March 30 in Vancouver against the Canucks. Puck drop is at 9 p.m. CDT.

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