Dallas Stars Start Off Homestand On Right Foot, Dismantle Ducks

BY Fansided and Josh Clark/FanSided via Blackout Dallas • December 14, 2016

It may not have been the prettiest game, but it was definitely a dominant one. The Dallas Stars rallied big in the third period and downed the Anaheim Ducks in a big way. Post game wrap-up and some thoughts and observations can be found below.

Five goals in one game can get you a lot of places. But five goals in one period can turn the tide in any game. That’s what happened tonight when the Dallas Stars mauled the Anaheim Ducks for a 6-2 final score to kick off their big homestand.

Game recap

The first period started up on a relatively quiet note, with only three total shots being taken through the first seven minutes. The Ducks snagged two power plays and 1:09 of 5-on-3, but the Stars found a way to kill it off. Dallas went unsuccessful on a power play of its own and the first period ended in a 0-0 tie.

The second period had much more action involved. Stephen Johns got the scoring started with a wrist shot from the point to gain the 1-0 lead for Dallas. But Anaheim was quick to respond and caused a defensive turnover by Dallas. Ryan Getzlaf scored off the turnover and tied the game at 1-1.

The third period could very well be considered the best period for the Stars so far this season. After giving away a power play goal to Corey Perry, the Stars set the offense into overdrive. A power play goal from Dan Hamhuis (his first as a Star) tied the game at 2-2. Then Adam Cracknell, Patrick Eaves, and Jamie Benn all tallied goals within 5:51 of each other to take a 5-2 lead.

Radek Faksa sank one into an empty net with 6:03 remaining and the Dallas Stars held out from there. They won the game 6-2 after a furious third period comeback.

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Thoughts and Observations

Stars blow the doors off Anaheim in the third

Wow. If you’re still shaking from that third period, it’s perfectly natural.

With 18:52 left in the third period, it looked like it was going to be “another one of those games.” The Stars gave up a power play goal and the Ducks took the 2-1 lead. Everyone sat back and awaited the impending doom.

But the Stars had something different in mind. Dan Hamhuis helped find the back of the net on the power play just five minutes later and Dallas was off and running. The Stars scored four more goals in the final frame and tied for their largest deficit win of the season with a 6-2 final.

That’s not something we’ve seen in an awful long time. But we’ll definitely take it.

Niemi dominance at home continues

They might have to start giving out an award to the visiting goaltender that bests Antti Niemi at the American Airlines Center this season.

After sitting out for five straight games, Niemi was on fire between the pipes tonight. He stopped 34 of 36 shots, helped kill two 5-on-3 penalties, and stopped a Corey Perry breakaway late in the first period. In other words, he was the Stars’ best player.

“Excellent,” head coach Lindy Ruff said about Niemi’s performance. “He played a great game for us.”

With the win, Niemi is now 6-1-1 at home with a 1.99 goals against average and .938 save percentage. If he can keep this up, the Stars could very quickly see themselves back in the playoff mix, especially considering they play seven of their next eight at home.

The Stars best players were back to being their best players

It’s become a common thread this year that the Dallas Stars’ best players “have not been their best players.” But you could not tell that from tonight’s play.

“Our best players were our best players [tonight] and that made a big difference for us,” Ruff said after the game.

Jamie Benn finished the night with a goal and two assists. Tyler Seguin tallied two assists. Jason Spezza had an assist as well. Patrick Eaves scored his team-leading eleventh goal of the year on an absolute snipe from the slot.

The big boys were back in full force tonight. Maybe there’s a connection between the top players playing well and the Stars winning in dominant fashion? Or maybe not.

Third period role reversal

Coming into tonight’s game, the Anaheim Ducks had given away 15 third period goals in 29 games on the season. The Stars, on the other hand, had sacrificed 35 in 30 games, many of which had turned into back-breaking goals.

Tonight, the Ducks tallied a measly one on the Stars and Dallas returned the favor by pinning five to Anaheim. It was a complete role reversal, and it happened at the perfect time. Give the Stars a lot of credit for busting open the Anaheim defense.

    Penalty kill came up huge

    Coming into tonight’s game, Dallas owned a 76.4 percent success rate on the penalty kill.

    Tonight, they finished the game at 80 percent after killing four of five. While that’s just an alright stat, the way in which the Stars killed them was rather phenomenal.

    Of the 6:56 that Anaheim had on the power play, 2:24 of it was in a 5-on-3 situation. The Stars did not allow a goal for the entire 2:24. In the 4:32 of 5-on-4, Dallas only gave up one on a simple mistake.

    The thing is, the Ducks owned the third best power play in the league coming into tonight. They have a dangerous unit, but Dallas stood tall. Not many teams can do that, especially when they’re coming off of a 5-9 streak on the PK over their last two games.

    “I thought our penalty killing was excellent,” Ruff said. “Like I sad, a mental mistake within 15 or 20 seconds after killing two five-on-threes was the only thing that kept us from having a really good night. That’s a dangerous thing thing to do against that team with Getzlaf and Perry and Fowler on the back end.”

    Not a bad way to start off a homestand

    The Dallas Stars kicked off a five-game homestand tonight. A 6-2 win isn’t a half bad way to start things up.

    The Ducks are a hot team and have been playing really good hockey as of late. Dallas, on the other hand, has been struggling to find the win column. The two points tonight was crucial. Now they have to make sure it translates to the next four.

    Looking ahead

    The Dallas Stars furiously buried the Ducks in the third period tonight and gained two critical points in the standings.

    Their next opportunity to show what they’ve got and gain some more ground is on Thursday night against the red-hot New York Rangers. Keep your eyes peeled and check into Blackout Dallas for complete coverage on the game.

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