Full Game Review
The Dallas Stars took on central division rivals the Minnesota Wild for the 2nd time this season, they dominated the play and came up with a decisive 6-1 victory over the Wild.
The Atmosphere in the arena was electric from the get go tonight as the Stars took part in ‘Retro Night’ in front of a sell out crowd they wore the original 1993 jerseys during warm-ups and the AAC created a retro scoreboard and video screen to take us back to when it all began. Stars alumni Dave Gagner, Russ Courtnall, Paul Cavallini and Craig Ludwig also took part in a ceremonial puck drop to kick things off and Renuinion Arena announcer Bill Oellermann took to the mic once more to announce the calls during the game. It was set to be a special night from the get go.
The game kicked off and immediately had some pace to it, both teams came out physical with the stars taking an early lead in hits. Despite the fast pace there were not many good scoring opportunities early on, with both teams opting to play a tight and defensive game. Minnesota had played Vegas the night before so this being a second night of a back-to-back should give the Stars an edge. The two teams start the night separated by just 1 point.
The game ramped up a little 5 minutes into the period when #28 Johns made a huge hit on Ennis at the Stars blue line. Johns coming off a career high 10 hits in the game against Arizona.
One of the key takeaways from the Arizona game was for the Stars to play a complete game, they didn’t turn up for the first period vs Arizona but managed to pull themselves together for the final two to win the game. They knew tonight they needed to come out strong from the first puck drop, and they did.
Around 6 minutes in and the Wild get some good zone time and several opportunities, Kari who is starting just his 3rd home game this season comes up big on each occasion and looks to be on his game. To prove it a few minutes later Kari comes up with a big stop on Parise. The Stars top line then counters with a few good opportunities lead by captain Jamie Benn bringing the puck into the offensive zone and working with Klingberg and Seguin to try to get one past the Wild.
Half way through the first and the shots are low MIN:4 DAL:3 however the Stars are starting to look like the better, faster team as the game moves on. Klingberg continues to impress and gives the Stars some more sustained zone time and sets Janmark up for a chance with 8:33 to go in the first. The Wild then get a break when Zucker undresses Pateryn for a break but Kari denies Zucker. The Stars then struggle to gain control of the puck in the Stars zone leading to a strange bounce in on Kari, but again Kari stands strong and makes the stop and smuggles up the rebound.
With 5:00 minutes left in the first the American Airlines Center and Fox Sports Southwest pulls out some nice touches, they play the game in standard definition in 4:3 format and make the game really feel like we are back in 1993. It was entertaining but the Stars fans cheer when things go back to normal and viewers at home and around the world probably also appreciated it! As the period came to a close, the game slowed a little but the Stars had a final push in the last minute of the 1st to end the period the better side.
SHOTS: 8 – 8
Score: 0 – 0
The second period gets underway and the Wild get the first big break of the second when Parise gets a breakaway, he pulls the puck to his back hand and flips the puck up high heading over the glove, however Kari steps up again and makes a great glove save keeping the score at 0 – 0. The play then heads immediately down the ice where Radulov gets a change but rather than shooting he ops to pass the puck back across the net to Benn who was moving in to the slot, but it is cut off by the Wild netminder.
The game continues to be close with Minnesota slightly ahead on shots with 15 and Dallas with 12, however, the Wild have blocked 16 of the Stars shots already with the Stars blocking just 8 of the Wild’s. Kari who is 5-1-0 in his last 6 starts is looking fantastic tonight, stopping multiple Minnesota attacks and keeping the stars in the game, and giving them some fight that leads to some zone time for the Stars. While on the attack Devin Shore receives a crosscheck to the head by Dumba that goes uncalled, fans and the Stars bench are not happy, however, the Stars continue to put pressure on the Wild with some great opportunities including Honka taking a skate round the entire Wild team before sending the puck into the point and later a rebound opportunity for Rousell but the puck jumped on end and he sent it over the wide open net.
Zucker, while battling in front of the Stars net, high sticks Kari in the face pulling his mask off. The Stars top line kick things off on the first power play of the night and look strong with several opportunities along with lots of zone time, Klingberg had a good opportunity straight of the face off followed up by Seguin who receives a pass from Benn from behind the net for a slapper that was going five hole, but was denied by Stalock. The second PP unit then come out for the Stars and with some traffic in front of the net Klingberg gets a shot away from the point that Janmark deflects for his 15th of the season to give the Stars a 1-0 lead on the power play.
After the power play the Stars keep the pressure on, Johns steps up in neutral ice, creates a turn over and starts a 2 on 1 for himself and Faksa, Johns unleashes a slapper from the circle that beets Stalock short side giving the Stars a 2-0 lead. The Stars now looking by far the better team with 74% of face offs going in the Stars favor and the shots evened up.
The Wild getting frustrated with the big push from Dallas end up with Suter taking a penalty putting the Stars straight back on the power play. Once again Klingberg starts things off at the point and Jamie Benn picks the puck up on the edge of the crease and tallies his 21st of the year and putting the stars up by 3 in as many minutes.
The Stars now lead 3 to nothing, they are ahead on the shot board and still dominating in the circles at 77% of faceoffs won and lead in hits too. With the game firmly under Dallas control the top line comes down the ice, Radulov leading the rush pushes down to the goal line, stops, drops the puck back to Benn who slides it over to Seguin who drills it home making it 4-0. This was my favorite play of the night, it looked unstoppable and the chemistry for those three players continues to grow.
With 3 minutes left in the 2nd Spezza fore checks hard and takes the puck from the Wild in front of the net and wrists another past the Minnesota netminder, however, the referee waved off the goal and dishes out a hooking penalty to Jason Spezza putting the Wild on their first power play of the night.
The Stars start their penalty kill strong with Johns pushing the play down into Wild ice, Seguin picks the puck up deep and manages to hold off 3 of the Wild killing a valuable 45 seconds of the Wilds power play. The Stars manage to kill the remainder of the Minnesota’s power play, but shortly after Seguin is sent to the box for slashing. After a brief surge from the Wild the Stars manage to regain possession in their own zone where Faksa and Lindell hold the puck in the corner against the boards killing off almost all the time remaining in the period, during this excellent penalty kill Faksa is slashed and hooked by Stall with the referee just 3ft away, however it is deemed fair game and there is no call…
The period ends with the Wild still on the power play and the Stars up 4-0.
SHOTS: 20 – 15 DAL
F/O%: 68% DAL
HITS: 19 – 15 DAL
PP: 2 for 2
PK: 2 for 2
Score: 4-0 DAL
The Stars, starting the 3rd on the penalty kill, manage to keep the Wild at bay going a perfect 2 for 2 on the kill. Dubnik comes in to replace Stalock who gave up all 4 goals in the middle frame.
Six minutes in to the 3rd the Wild send a long and perfect pass from their own zone to the far blue line where Zucker picks up the pass in full stride and wrists one home for the Wild to get them on the board & ending the shutout bid for Kari. The play continues with both teams trying to play a tight game as they did in the first. With 11:50 to go in the game Radulov makes a hit in the end zone forcing a turnover where Tyler Seguin then sets Radulov up who walks in and puts another one in the net for the Stars restoring the 4 goal lead.
With 9 minutes left in the game, the Stars have everything under control still leading in every category. The Stars defense continue to be aggressive and are noticeable pinching down the boards keeping the play 200ft from the Stars net.
With just 5 minutes to go the game has started to slow with both teams clearing wanting the clock to run down, the game goes end to end with no real scoring chances until the 1000+ game man Dan Hamuis hammers one from the point that finds the back of the net giving the stars a 6-1 lead and Dan his 2nd of the year.
in the final minutes the Rousell, Pitlick & Faksa line shine as they control the puck well, make no mistakes and spend all shift in the Minnesota zone, Dickinson also ends up with a short breakaway but he is in too close and Dubnik makes the save look easy.
“One minute, one minute remaining in the 3rd period” is announced by Bill Oellermann the former Reunion Arena announcer, this brings the crowd to their feet and the Stars receive a standing ovation for the remaining minute of the game as the Stars take their 30th win of the year and keep themselves in the first wild card spot.
SHOTS: 38 – 31 DAL
PP: MIN 0/2 – DAL 2/2
F/O: 67% DAL
Blocked Shots: 21 – 18 MIN
HITS: 24 – 24
A fantastic game for the Stars who shine on the PP, dominate in 5 on 5 and played a full 60-minute game improving their home record to 18-8-0 and pick up their 30th win of the season.
Next: Home vs NYR (25-22-5)
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