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Stars Penalty Kill Gives Canucks a 6-3 Win To End Road Trip

Special teams sank the Dallas Stars when they met up with the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday night.

For a team that prides itself on “offense from defense” and has been one of the stingiest teams in the NHL the last couple of years in goals against, you’d expect the penalty kill to be a part of the game where the Stars thrive. But they were unbelievably leaky in that area, allowing the Canucks – who were 0-for-17 on the man advantage headed into the game – to score three power play goals in the 6-3 win.

Vancouver had six total goals scored on the power play before Dallas came to town and practically increased that by 50% thanks to the Stars’ penalty killing.

It marked the beginning of the Stars’ meltdown in the second period. Vancouver would score four goals in the period and take a commanding lead (not to mention having momentum swung heavily in their favor on home ice) before Dallas could find a way to push back.

The start to the game was actually pretty good for a road team. Dallas finished the first 20 minutes with a 1-0 lead courtesy of Joe Pavelski’s backdoor goal on the power play. The rest of the period was a little more loose than the defensively-structured coaching staff in Dallas would likely prefer, but it was also exciting to watch. Both teams had some quality chances, and Anton Khudobin made big stops when needed.

That second period saw some of that bite the Stars in the behind. It was another example of the team “handing” the opponent the game. That’s how head coach Rick Bowness described one of their recent losses where turnovers and a failure to get the puck out of their own zone ended up with the puck in the back of their own net.

J.T. Miller captured a power play goal, as did Elias Pettersson. Bo Horvat tacked on a third in a row. Luke Glendening had a very nice goal off a Jason Robertson feed to try to claw back into the game.

After Jamie Benn scored in his third game in a row to cut the lead to 4-3 on a redirected Ryan Suter shot on the power play early in the third period, the counter punch came – and Thatcher Demko was a stone wall. And once again, the penalty trouble killed any momentum Dallas could have found by stringing together multiple shifts like they showed midway through the third period.

J.T. Miller’s power play goal courtesy of a Suter hi-sticking penalty was the final dagger in the game. Dallas continues to be a .500 team, collecting three points on the Western Canada road trip – and returning back home in desperate need of a regulation win.

The Stars will play nine of their next 11 games at the American Airlines Center. Maybe they can finally start to put something together in the positive direction over that stretch. Maybe?

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