The Dallas Stars went into Calgary tonight with one mission in mind: break out of the losing slump and return to winning ways. It’s safe to say that they achieved that goal in an exciting fashion.
Things were physical and got pretty violent at times, but the Dallas Stars and Calgary Flames managed to string together an exciting 60-minute contest tonight. But the Stars fought off the Flames on the road and broke out of their losing slump with a 4-2 victory. Post game wrap up is below.
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It seemed as though the Stars needed some time to adjust to their new lines and pairings, but it definitely did not take long. After the first half of the first period saw Dallas take one measly shot, they uncorked the offensive firepower.
Lauri Korpikoski fired a goal in from the slot to open up the scoring for Dallas with 7:39 remaining. Just a little over three minutes later, Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn scored his third of the year with a crafty and patient drive to the net that left Brian Elliott stalled and confused.
The second period was where the Calgary Flames flipped the script. Just 1:33 into the second, Johnny Gaudreau scored to cut the Stars lead in half. It was less than two minutes later before Gaudreau scored again to tie the game at 2-2. The remainder of the second period was battling back and forth without any success. It remained tied going into the third.
The third period was where the Dallas Stars finally seemed to figure things out. During their third power play of the game, the Stars finally notched a PPG as Jamie Benn capitalized after nice passing from both Tyler Seguin and Antoine Roussel. After a strong final few minutes of defensive lockdown, Roussel scored an empty net goal to take the 4-2 lead that would hold true to the end of the game.
Thoughts and Observations
The Rooster was back to his usual self tonight
Tonight, Antoine Roussel was back to doing things that only Antoine Roussel does. Whether it was hitting, fighting, tackling, defending a teammate, scoring, or setting up a goal in jaw-dropping fashion, he was back to normal.
Roussel finished the night with the Gordie Howe hat trick. He fought Micheal Ferland in the second period after Ferland delivered a brutal check to Tyler Seguin. He followed that up with an excellent secondary assist that led to Jamie Benn’s game-winning goal while on the power play. To end the night, he scored an empty-net goal from just inside the far blue line.
What a night for #21.
The dynamic duo is back
If anyone was concerned about Jamie Benn’s lack of production so far this season, it was all but eliminated tonight. The captain tallied two goals tonight, including the game winner, and received first star honors.
But he wasn’t the only one making his presence known on the stats sheet. Tyler Seguin also earned the primary assist on the game-winning goal. That now has Seguin at 15 points in 14 games and Benn at 11.
The dynamic duo is quickly ramping their production up to mid-season form and tallying points on a nightly basis. If they can keep it up, they’ll give the Stars a strong chance at breaking out of this losing funk.
Lehtonen was on fire
The Dallas Stars had to make a difficult choice going into tonight’s contest against the Flames. Should they start Kari Lehtonen or Antti Niemi? Both goalies had played in Tuesday night’s massacre against the Winnipeg Jets and both had given up four goals a piece.
Stars head coach Lindy Ruff decided to go ahead and stick with Lehtonen. After tonight’s game, it was clear he made the right choice.
Lehtonen was nothing short of impressive, going 29-31 on the night for a .935 save percentage. He stood tall against some big-time chances on numerous occasions and made a few show-stopping saves including stretching his right pad across the crease to nullify a wrap-around opportunity. It is Lehtonen’s second win of the year.
Get outshot and you… win?
The Dallas Stars have a rare phenomena occurring through their play this season. Through 14 games this year, the Stars are 4-2-1 when being outshot by their opponents. That means they are 1-4-2 when outshooting their foe. They were victorious tonight even with Calgary holding the 31-22 shot advantage.
There’s really no explanation for this besides solid goaltending and making each shot count. Either way, it’s leading to Dallas Stars wins, and that’s what matters.
The final stat line
The Flames ended tonight’s game with a 31-22 shot advantage over Dallas. The two teams evened out in the face-off dot (50%-50%). The Stars outhit Calgary 20-18 and blocked 18 shots to Calgary’s 10.
On special teams, Dallas went 1/3 on the power play and 2/2 on the penalty kill.
Overall, the Stars played an exceptional game tonight and were finally rewarded for their performance. They improved to 5-6-3 on the year and things are beginning to look up in terms of the injury ward.
Their next big test lies in Edmonton tomorrow night when they face off with the Oilers, who are currently the second best team in the Western Conference. It won’t be easy, but we’ll see if the Stars are up for the challenge.