It may not have been pretty and it may have sent you into a panic attack multiple times, but the Dallas Stars got it done at Madison Square Garden tonight, knocking off the Rangers in a 7-6 goal fest.
The Dallas Stars led by three goals on two separate occasions tonight and even had a four goal lead at one point. Both of those leads were trimmed down to one goal, but the Stars still held on tight in a 7-6 victory over the New York Rangers on the road.
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The first period started out just as the last two have for the Dallas Stars: a goal against in the first minute. Derek Stepan scored on a play from behind the net to put New York up 1-0 on their first shot of the game. But Dallas immediately responded with excessive force. Patrick Eaves scored on the power play to tie things up. Then Patrick Sharp and Jamie Benn each tallied to take a 3-1 lead heading into first intermission.
It seemed all but over going into the third. But if you thought that, you obviously have not followed the Dallas Stars this season. Chris Kreider, Stepan, and Zibanejad all scored goals within 4:15 of each other early in the third to make it a 7-6 game. Through plenty of heart attacks and close calls, Dallas somehow held off the Rangers from scoring any more and snuck out with the 7-6 win.
Entering tonight’s game, Stars captain Jamie Benn had never tallied a single point in his career against the New York Rangers. He was a -12 rating and had never so much as even registered an assist against NY.
In the first period of tonight’s game, he scored a goal and tallied an assist, along with a +1 rating. That was quite the turnaround for the guy that hadn’t scored a goal since December 27 and snapped three sticks out of frustration during yesterday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres.
Cody Eakin getting his Gordie Howe on
On December 15, 2017, the Dallas Stars and New York Rangers met up in Big D for the first game of the two-game set that they concluded tonight. In the opening minutes of that first game, Stars forward Cody Eakin drilled Rangers star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist behind the net while trying to make a play on the puck.
Eakin was ejected from the game and Lundqvist missed around six minutes of action while being cleared by concussion protocol. Eakin was given a four-game suspension for the altercation.
Heading into tonight’s game, it was pretty obvious that the Rangers would more than likely be out to get Eakin and serve up some justice that they didn’t get a chance to give in the first game. But it was Eakin who had the last laugh at the MSG in front of a sea of blue.
Eakin registered an assist on the Benn’s goal in the first period. He followed that up with a fight in the first two minutes of the second period against Chris Kreider. Less than 11 minutes after getting out of the box for his fighting major, Eakin scored on a hearty rebound in front of the net to complete the Gordie Howe hat trick. Not a bad night for number 20.
The Stars have been a very inconsistent team this year, as we all know. The season has been filled with up and down performances, win-loss-win-loss patterns, and overall disappointment.
Tonight was just another submission into this trend. The Stars gave up a goal in the first minute of the game for the third straight game tonight. But almost out of nowhere, they rattled off four unanswered to take a commanding 4-1 lead.
Then that lead was minimized to 4-3. But then Dallas came right back and scored three more to take a 7-3 lead into the second intermission. Who would have thought that the Stars would give away a four goal lead and slip by with a 7-6 win? It probably didn’t come as a complete shock.
It was definitely not an impressive or dominant way to win, but they got the two points. That’s all that matters at the end of the day. Two points that may not seem like a lot, but are effectively keeping Dallas in the fight.
No time to fall asleep
I thought that the Dallas Stars had left their one-dimensional game in the 2014-15 season. Sadly, it made a prime appearance tonight at Madison Square Garden. While the offense was as red-hot as it has been all season, putting up seven goals. But the other two areas of the team were not very evident.
The defense laid back on multiple occasions, especially during the 2+ goal leads. Not only that, but the goaltending of Antti Niemi was very unenthusiastic. Niemi checked out of the game with a .786 save percentage midway through the third after allowing a sixth goal. Sure some of the chances were due to bad defense, but a good number of the goals given up could be considered “stoppable.”
This game did not do much for the Dallas Stars and they still need to keep clawing back if they want to once again cement their spot in the playoff race. There is a lot of work to do, and the effort that they put forward tonight for a majority of the game is not going to get the job done. They cannot continue to aim to score their way into the win column. It just doesn’t work.
We’ll see how the standings line up in the morning. But one thing is sure: the Stars have a lot of work that still needs to be done. It’s great to see them get two points against a very strong New York team, but the run cannot stop at one game as it has so many times already this season. Let’s see what they’re made of over the next few games.
The Dallas Stars will be back in action on Thursday night as they finish up their New York road trip at the Barclays Center against the New York Islanders. Check back to Blackout Dallas each day for detailed coverage as this crazy season continues to roll along.