DALLAS (AP) The Stars gave Alexander Radulov a five-year free-agent contract in the offseason to do exactly this.
Radulov had a power-play goal and an empty-netter in the final 2:21 to lift Dallas over the St. Louis Blues 4-2 on Friday night.
”He’s a big-time player,” Stars coach Ken Hitchcock said. ”He’s not afraid of the stage, he’s not afraid of the time, he’s not afraid of the time on the clock. He wants to be the guy. And he was tonight.”
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Radulov took in the puck off a faceoff and sent a low shot for his fourth winner of the season at 2:21, then tapped in the rebound of a shot off the post with 1:39 left.
”We talk about it right before the power play that we got to shoot the puck more,” Radulov said, ”and we get in front of that goalie and be there and take his eyes away. That’s what basically Jamie (Benn) did. When they passed me the puck, I just put up my head and I saw the lane I could shoot in.”
Dallas led 1-0 through two periods on a goal by Mattias Janmark, but Vladimir Tarasenko and Tage Thompson scored 1:05 apart in the third period to put St. Louis up 2-1. Benn tied it at 2 with a backhand goal at 15:10.
Ben Bishop made 35 saves for the Stars, 30 in the first two periods. He has been in goal for their last six games, with a 3-1-2 record.
On the Blues’ 5-on-3 power play early in the second period, Bishop stopped shots from the slot by Alex Pietrangelo and Paul Stastny.
”We’re not in the game without him on the penalty kill,” Hitchcock said. ”Once in a while you’ve got to help the goalie, and today what we did in the third period was help Ben.
”He was incredible in the second period to keep it where it was.”
St. Louis starting goalie Jake Allen left with 18:39 to play after he was knocked back into the crossbar. Carter Hutton replaced him for 9:34 and stopped two shots, but Allen returned to finish the game and made 25 saves.
”That was a bad decision by me,” Blues coach Mike Yeo said. ”I put Jake and the team in a bad position there. It’s disappointing for our group not to get a win here tonight.
”The call at the end of the game was ridiculous.”
He referred to a roughing penalty on Joel Edmundson that led to the decisive power play. Edmundson and Benn scuffled next to the goal, and Benn’s helmet came off.
St. Louis’ offense got into the game when Bishop failed to clear the puck and get back to the net. Tarasenko sent a shot from the left faceoff circle at 3:26 of the third for an unassisted goal. The goal was his 13th in 21 career games against Dallas. Tarasenko had scored only one goal in the previous eight games.
The Blues are 2-7 in a stretch when they’ve totaled only 12 goals.
Thompson followed with a shot from above the right circle at 4:31 for his second goal in nine NHL games.
Janmark had scored at 3:49 of the second period, 45 seconds after the St. Louis power play ended. Jason Spezza dug out the puck along the right-wing boards and passed across to Janmark in the slot. He put a short shot into the vacant left side of the net.
NOTES: Bishop was playing in his 300th NHL game. … The Blues had won the previous five games against Dallas. … St. Louis’ penalty-killing unit came in with 25 successes in 26 tries over the last eight games, and 41 of 43 penalties killed in December. …The Stars converted 1 of 4 power plays and have scored on the power play in four straight games and five of six.
Blues: Begin a three-game homestand Saturday against Carolina.
Stars: Play the second game of a six-game homestand, their longest this season, on Sunday vs. San Jose.