No, this is not the 1999 Stanley Cup Finals. Just because Ken Hitchcock, Brett Hull and Lindy Ruff are involved doesn’t mean we’re going to be concerned with skates in the crease. That being said, that game from almost 17 years ago may have been in the back of Ruff’s mind, as he exacted revenge in a 2-1 victory.
There wasn’t much to talk about in the first period. Only 20 shots were fired between the two teams and none of them found the back of the net, even though there were four minutes played of uneven hockey.
Antoine Roussel finally scored the first goal of the series at the 9:36 mark of the second period, as his slap shot was assisted by First Star of the Game Radek Faksa and John Klingberg (his third helper of the postseason). It was a coast-to-coast play, beginning with Roussel advancing the puck through all three zones. From the right face-off circle, he passed cross-ice to Klingberg, who immediately centered the puck for a Faksa wrister that was blocked by Second Star Brian Elliott. Roussel collected the rebound and fired his slap shot over the diving Elliott to give Dallas a lead they would not yield through the remainder of the frame.
Kevin Shattenkirk and the Blues leveled with 8:28 remaining in regulation on a pure slap shot, assisted by Colton Parayko and Patrik Berglund. 3:44 later, Faksa earned his second point of the night with the game-winning goal, a wrister assisted by Ales Hemsky (his third helper of the playoffs) and Alex Goligoski. Once again, it was another rebound off an Elliott block, as after Hemsky advanced the puck into the offensive zone, he passed to Goligoski who attempted a wrister that was stopped, but not covered by Elliott. Faksa quickly advanced on the puck and slid it past Elliott’s left skate before he could seal the crease, giving the Stars their winner.
Dallas certainly deserved to win this one, as they led in shots (42-32; led by Colton Sceviour’s five shots) and blocks (22-11; led by Goligoski’s four blocks). Additionally, they beat the Blues at their own game, as they threw six more hits to impose their will.
Third Star Kari Lehtonen earns the win after saving 31 of 32 shots faced (96.9%), while Elliott, who saved 40 of 42 (95.2%), takes the loss.
Game 2 will occur at 3 p.m. eastern on May Day, two days from now. That contest may be viewed on NBC, SN or TVAS.