The Stars had lost four straight games to the Pens, dating back to March 11th, 2018, but they come in riding a three game win streak. Dallas lost in their two contests against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the 2018/19 regular season. Both teams made the playoffs, although the Penguins were swept in the First Round, and the Stars made it on to Second Round.
That is all behind us as the two teams met for the second time of the season, Saturday night at the American Airlines Center.
The Stars came out of the gate strong, applying good pressure, but were unable to convert on a few really good chances. The team has been much better about starting strong, as of late.
Esa Lindell blocked a Sidney Crosby one timer with his face and had to leave the game with 7:29 left in the period. It appeared through the beginning of the game that he would be the man to cover Crosby, but that was cut short.
Dallas played the body, made good defensive plays to prevent chances, and drew a penalty to end the period. The shots were 12-6 in favor of Dallas, with the score tied at 0 to end the first.
Dallas came out of the gate hot, but unable to convert on their first power play opportunity. Esa Lindell came back into the game wearing a face shield.
On another fluke play, a second Stars d man, Taylor Fedun, was also struck in the face by a puck. This time is came at the hands of a deflection off of his own stick. Play was stopped, but he would return.
Denis Gurianov continued his strong play from the game before, drawing a penalty after a beautiful move on the offensive blue line opened up a lot of space for him. Unfortunately, nothing short of an ugly power play ensued, resulting in nothing.
The period would end with shots in Dallas favor, twice as many as their opponent, 22-11.
Once again, the Stars came out with a fire lit underneath them. The team appeared to be trying to buy into Montgomery’s system of being a “hard to play against,” type of team.
Crosby was hit in the head by a shot from Kris Letang, left the game, but returned shortly thereafter.
During the midst of the goalie duel, the Penguins scored on their 20th shot of the game, after a mishap behind the net by the play of Ben Bishop. The Stars had been denied on their 23 shots, up to the first goal by Pittsburgh, a little over seven minutes into the game. The goal seemed to deflate the building.
Bryan Rust, was able to net the Pens’ second goal of the game, just a few minutes thereafter. Brandon Tanev got the empty netter to finish the game 3-0.
The Stars played a pretty strong game overall, but the scoring has to increase. The team’s big three from the past few years has been virtually non existent. The three have combined for only four goals this year. If there is going to be any type of push, there’s going to have to be a lot more from them, especially on the power play.
Without the Vezina style goaltending we had last year, the Stars will not be able to maintain, and it has been extremely apparent in the first stretch of the season here.