Entering their second round series with the St. Louis Blues, much was made about how even the Dallas Stars were with their opponent in talent and play style. Many hockey pundits predicted the series to reach seven games.
That came to fruition in game one.
St. Louis’ seized control early and never trailed in a 3-2 victory over Dallas. Robby Fabbri scored just six minutes into the first period. Fabbri scored off an even break and beat Stars goalie Ben Bishop with a shot past his five-hole.
Veteran forward Jason Spezza, a healthy scratch early in the Nashville series, stepped up on the fourth equalized in the second with a goal gave Dallas a shot it desperately needed.
It didn’t last long, however. The Blues drew a Stars penalty that proved to be extremely costly. St. Louis exploited what was Dallas’ biggest strength in the first round- its penalty kill. Blues star Vladimir Tarasenko cashed in on a power play goal that broke the Stars’ streak of 16 consecutive penalties killed to start the postseason.
Dallas’ defense again faltered when Tarasenko exploded on a one-on-one breakaway, and beat Bishop stick side for a highlight-reel goal early in the third.
The Stars showed life late. Dallas drew a late penalty, and Jamie Benn scored a power play goal to draw back within one. Head coach Jim Montgomery promptly pulled Bishop with three minutes remaining in favor for the extra attackers, and after multiple scoring chances, St. Louis’ rookie sensation Jordan Binnington and a vaunted defense kept the Stars at bay to seal the win.
After scrutiny of National Hockey League officiating in the first round of the playoffs that led to apologies and suspensions of referees from the league, it was interesting to see a lack of penalties called in game one of this series.
Only four were called in total- each team went 1-2 on the power play. Though Dallas scored a power play goal, they still sit 5/23 in the playoffs with the man advantage. Three goals came in game four of the first round alone.
Game two will be played in St. Louis on Saturday afternoon. Puck drop is set for 2:00 central and can be watched on NBC.
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