A win is a win, right?
When this season finishes, all Wednesday night’s game between the Dallas Stars and Edmonton Oilers will amount to is two points in the standings for the Stars. For those who watched it, however, it was a frustrating game for fans of both teams.
The first period featured no scoring from either teams. However, Kari Lehtonen made an incredible save on Jordan Eberle, robbing him from point-blank range. That save kept the game scoreless, and really changed the complexion of the game.
In stark contrast to their previous two games, the Stars had trouble staying out of the penalty box, especially early in the second period. First, Stephane Robidas took a questionable holding penalty against David Perron, who really helped sell the call. 29 seconds later, officials called “delay of game” on Ryan Garbutt for smothering the puck, so the Oilers had 91 seconds of 5-on-3 to try and take over the game. The Stars killed both penalties.
Rich Peverley scored the Stars’ first goal right after the team killed Jamie Benn‘s high-sticking penalty. Peverley shot from the left-wing boards, and then skated towards the net and roofed his own rebound over Devan Dubnyk from the doorstep, in what was both a great shot by Peverley, and awful positioning from Dubnyk. After Peverley scored that goal, the Oilers never recovered.
The third period did not get interesting until very late, when Valeri Nichushkin blew past Anton Belov, forcing Belov to foul him to prevent him from skating in all alone. The referee awarded Nichushkin a penalty shot, but Dubnyk saved the attempt.
With 52 seconds left in the third, Tyler Seguin stole the puck from Taylor Hall, and in really impressive fashion, fired the puck on one knee from his own zone into the empty Oilers net, putting the Stars up 2-0. To add insult to injury, Jeff Petry failed to bat down a lob pass from Trevor Daley, and Antoine Roussel gathered the puck and scored another empty netter to make it 3-0 with 14 seconds left.
A huge positive from this game is that the Stars overwhelming won the possession battle, which they should have against the Oilers. The shots read 26-22 in favor of the Stars, but the Stars attempted 64 shots as opposed to the Oilers’ 44. More significantly, after Peverley scored to make it 1-0 Stars halfway into the second period, the Oilers only attempted eight unblocked shots the rest of the game. The Stars were on the power play five times after Peverley’s goal, and disrupted any momentum the Oilers could have gathered.
The most frustrating thing to take away from Wednesday night’s game is that the Stars again went 0-6 on the power play, which included two 5-on-3 chances that amounted to absolutely nothing. The Stars have to find ways to convert those chances as the season goes on, starting Thursday night against the Calgary Flames.