Dallas Stars Snap Overtime Skid, Knock Off Wild 3-2

The Dallas Stars are back at it again. Through an intense and impressive effort, they found a way to knock the Wild off in overtime. Post game wrap up can be found below.

Coming into tonight’s game, the Dallas Stars were definitely looking unnatural. John Klingberg and Stephen Johns were scratched, Johnny Oduya was injured, and Julius Honka was making his NHL debut on an already shaky enough Stars’ blue line.

Apparently that’s a winning formula considering the Stars bested the Wild 3-2 in overtime. Catch up on all the happenings and some final thoughts regarding the game below.

Game recap

Besides a beautiful penalty kill and some quality chances by the Dallas Stars, there was not much to talk about in the first period and it remained scoreless through the first 20.

Both teams found the back of the net in the second period. First it was Jamie Oleksiak for the Stars when he scored on a rebound after a rush to the net. Then later in the period, Nino Niederreiter cashed in on the doorstep on a power play. The second framed ended in a 1-1 tie.

The third period was very similar to the second in the fact that both teams tallied one goal. Early on in the period, Brett Ritchie regained the lead for the Stars after Julius Honka set him up. Honka registered his first NHL point on the goal. Just a few minutes later, Erik Haula scored to on a scramble in front of the net to tie it at 2-2. The game preceded to overtime in a deadlock.

The Stars were on a five-game losing streak this year in overtime situations entering tonight’s contest and the odds were definitely not in their favor. But the trio of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Jordie Benn did the work they had to and the captain finished the game off with the winning goal.

Thoughts and Observations

With the win tonight, the Dallas Stars improved to 8-7-5 on the year with 21 points. They have won two of their last three and are on a two-game winning streak in the Central Division.

Niemi continues to hit his stride

Antti Niemi once again strapped on the pads tonight and helped keep the Dallas Stars in another one. He finished the night 27-29 with a .931 save percentage. Neither goal was necessarily his fault considering one was on a cross-crease on the power play and the other was on a scramble on the doorstep.

This is Niemi’s second straight game turning in a very respectable performance. His last one was in the 2-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils when he stopped 31-33. It’s a slow progression, but it’s definitely going in the right direction.

Honka Honka if you’re excited

Julius Honka made his NHL debut tonight against the Wild and the only thing that could have made it better was if he had been the one that netted the game winner. The 20-year-old played a tremendous game, tallying an assist on the Ritchie goal for his first ever point.

He also took five shots, finished with a +1 rating, blocked a shot, and skated for 21:01. He filled in for John Klingberg on the man advantage and helped run the top power play unit from the blue line. His puck moving was precise, his passes were crisp, and his defensive play was top-of-the-line. It seems as though the Finn might want to stick around for more than just one game. Oh joy.

Officiating is never perfect

It’s a common occurrence to blame officiating when things aren’t necessarily going your team’s way in a given game. Tonight, the blame had plenty of justification for Stars fans.

The referees missed a good number of blatant penalties committed by the Wild, including a slash on Jason Spezza in the dying seconds of the third that would have put Dallas on the power play to start overtime (although it doesn’t look like they would have needed it).

Sure the officials can never be perfect. We get that. But tonight was definitely a contest that lacked some necessary whistles.

Oh, so that’s how you win in overtime

Wow. So that’s what an overtime win feels like. The Dallas Stars were trudging along with an 0-9 record in overtime that spans back to last year coming into tonight’s game. The albatross was finally removed when Benn netted the overtime winner on an impressive rush with his bother and Seguin.

Maybe Jordie needs to start on the top line with the duo? Or was that just a stroke of luck? Either way, the Stars did not disappoint in the extra frame tonight.

The final stat line

The Dallas Stars outshot the Wild 32-29 and outhit them 22-9. Minnesota claimed the face-off dot with a 54.1 win percentage and blocked 21 shots to the Stars’ 17. Dallas finished the night 0/2 on the power play and 2/3 on the penalty kill.

Looking ahead

The Dallas Stars found a way to get it done tonight against a hungry Wild team and deserve a pat on the back (pat, pat, pat). Now they have to find a way to replicate that performance down the stretch.

With tonight’s win, the Stars have secured third place in the Central Division. But things are still very tight, and a loss on Wednesday to the Predators would remove them from the spot. So now is not the time to sit back and relax. It’s go time. Let’s see if they’re ready by Wednesday night.

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