The best in the west are continuing their winning ways in the postseason, as they now have a two-game lead on Minnesota after winning 3-2.
Although both teams had over three minutes of power play action in the first period (we had a little bit of 4-on-4 action), they both went 0-for-2 with the advantage to end the frame scoreless. That being said, the Stars were the clear offensive leaders, just like you’d expect, as their 14 first period shots doubled those of the Wild.
Period Two finally saw the first goal, as Ales Hemsky’s initial “shot” at the 3:54 mark was deflected into the back of the net by Third Star of the Game Antoine Roussel to give the Stars the lead. Roussel brought the puck into the zone from the left boards, under pressure from Matt Dumba, forcing him to dump it behind the cage. Marco Scandella attempted to track it down, but his attempt to get it out of the zone was right on target… for Hemsky’s ankle. The force sent the puck back behind Devan Dubnyk’s cage, which Hemsky somehow deflects over the net and into the crease. Already beginning to crouch, the puck was actually above Dubnyk, but below the bar, allowing Roussel to get around the net to force the puck over Dubnyk’s back and into goal.
That was the only goal of the second period, even though Minnesota provided the Stars two power plays.
Dallas proved an important insurance goal, which proved to be the game winner, with 9:37 remaining in regulation when, thanks to an assist from Cody Eakin, Second Star Jamie Benn backhanded a breakaway goal past Dubnyk. This one doesn’t fall as much on Scandella’s shoulders, as it was him who fired the shot at First Star Kari Lehtonen, but the deflection was corralled in the right corner of the zone by Eakin, who found a streaking Benn to create a one-on-one matchup with the goaltender that he almost always wins.
Thirty-six seconds later, Johnny Oduya was caught holding Charlie Coyle’s stick, which earned him a two-minute break. Scandella and Minnesota finally capitalized on their fourth power play of the night when he fired a slap shot at the 12:42 mark, assisted by Dumba and Jason Zucker. Any chances of completing the comeback were effectively nullified when Jason Pominville tripped Stephen Johns with 2:52 remaining in regulation, making them play almost the remainder of the contest a man down.
Lehtonen earns the victory after saving 25 of the 26 shots he faced (96.2%), while Dubnyk takes the loss, saving 26 of 28 (92.9%).
Minnesota will need to capitalize on home ice if they wish to get back in this series. Their first shot at doing just that will be Monday at 8:30 p.m. eastern, and can be viewed on CNBC, SN or TVAS2.
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