The Dallas Stars once again took the long road but eventually skated away with the full four points as they defeated the Ducks on the second night of this back-to-back set 3-2 in overtime.
Stars & Ducks Battle Through a Slopfest
This game was one of the ugliest I have seen in a long time. From the very beginning, Anaheim was turning pucks over at an outrageous rate. On the other side, Dallas was unable to turn those giveaways into any real threatening scoring chances.
“It just wasn’t a smooth game out there,” Rick Bowness said with a smile. “It was one of those games that is choppy. But we had enough scoring opportunities, we limited their chances, it just didn’t look as pretty as you would hope it would look.”
Related: Stars Continue to Play & Succeed in Chaotic Style of Hockey
Eventually, Dallas began turning pucks over in their end and once we hit the middle of the second period, things just got too messy to analyze. It was one of those games that foreshadowed strange bounces and unsung heroes, and that is exactly what we saw in the end.
Stars Allowed Anaheim to Hang Around Far Too Long
The Ducks were not ready to play this game. It was obvious from the drop of the puck and Dallas looked to take advantage early on, pumping shots toward John Gibson and eventually taking a 1-0 lead on a Ryan Suter power-play goal. But from there, they were unable to put their foot further on the gas, and instead, they played down to the Ducks’ level and allowed them to hang around in a one-goal game.
Explore everything hockey with THW’s Hockeypedia pages.
Eventually, that came back to bite them as the Ducks got a fortuitous bounce off the end boards that beat Jake Oettinger and tied the game at one in the final minutes of the second period.
The goal clearly lifted the Ducks’ spirits and forced Dallas to battle in a wild, back and forth third period that saw both teams score late goals and force overtime. If the Stars could have found a way to extend the lead even just by one goal, it is very possible that Anaheim would have gone quietly into the night. Instead, it took a lot more effort and an overtime goal by their captain to grab two points at Honda Center.
All Aboard the D Train
As if this game was not strange enough, four of the five goals came from defensemen. Not only that, but the defensemen who scored are not traditionally known for their offense. Ryan Suter converted a rebound on a power play, Jamie Drysdale thumped a point shot off the boards that snuck behind Oettinger, Andrej Sekera fluttered a shot from the slot that just barely beat Gibson, and Kevin Shattenkirk redirected a point shot in the slot just moments later to tie the game at two.
“I got stuck over on that side and the puck just kept coming to me so I was just trying to make plays and get it to the far side,” Suter said. “ Seguin made a good shot and the rebound was just there.”
The only goal that came from a forward was the most important goal of the game. The game-winner from Jamie Benn started with a great defensive play and breakout pass from Miro Heiskanen, who played 27:23 in just his second game back from mono. Heiskanen found Benn down the wing and the captain slipped behind the defense before picking his spot under the blocker of Gibson to give Dallas a much-needed win.
“Every game from here on out is huge,” Benn said. “We need to find a way to win games and we did that tonight.”
The win bumped Dallas right back above Vegas and into the second wild card in the Western Conference. Now, with three games in hand on the Golden Knights, the Stars once again sit one point ahead and control their own fate going forward.
He Said It
“How much did he play?,” Benn laughed when asked about the importance of Heiskanen returning to the lineup. “It’s obviously huge to have him back. We all know how good he is and what he brings to this team. He logs 27 minutes with ease. We obviously love having him in our lineup.”
Sam’s Three Stars
- Third Star: Jake Oettinger, DAL (21 saves on 23 shots)
- Second Star: Miro Heiskanen, DAL (1 assist, 27:23 TOI)
- First Star: Jamie Benn, DAL (game-winning goal)