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With backs against the wall, Stars punch back in Game 4 vs Blues

Photo: Michael Lark/Dallas Sports Fanatic

With backs against the wall, Stars punch back in Game 4 vs Blues

After wasting a golden opportunity to seize control of their second-round series at home on Monday night, the Stars had no room for error while finding themselves trailing their series 2-1 against the St. Louis Blues.  Much like the situation they faced in their first round series against the Nashville Predators, Dallas left no doubt about their level of desperation with a decisive 4-2 win over the Blues at the American Airlines Center on Wednesday night.

With the opening faceoff happening around 8:45 central time, there was plenty of time for the anticipation and excitement to build up for the Victory Green-clad fans at the AAC.  The first few minutes of the game favored Dallas with the Stars recording the first five shots of the night between the two teams.  Things shifted about five minutes in whenever the Blues went on the power play after Jason Dickinson was called for a high-sticking penalty.  Just 18 seconds later, St. Louis superstar Vladimir Tarasenko zipped a shot by Stars goalie Ben Bishop to give the Blues the early 1-0 lead.

Dickinson would redeem himself for the early penalty by showing off his diving skills on a goal that tied the score at 1-1 with 8:37 left in the first period.  With under three minutes left in the first, Dallas went back on the power play after Tyler Bozak interfered with Stars forward Tyler Seguin right in front of the Dallas net — stopping a scoring chance for St. Louis and creating a man-advantage for Dallas that would eventually lead to a big-time goal from Jason Spezza from near the boards with under a minute left in the period.

Things picked up in the second period for both sides.  For the Stars, it was on the scoreboard.  For the Blues, it was their level of frustration.

Off a rush ran by Mats Zuccarello and Seguin, defenseman John Klingberg scorched a puck to the upper-left corner of the goal past feisty St. Louis goalie Jordan Binnington to give Dallas a 3-1 lead. With under three minutes remaining in the second period, another fast-paced rush by the Stars had captain Jamie Benn finding rookie Roope Hintz on a beautiful pass across the ice and on a silver platter for him to slam home to put Dallas up 4-1.  It was Hintz’s fifth goal of the playoffs so far.

Things got heated towards the end of the frame as the Stars thought there should have been a penalty against St. Louis when goalie Ben Bishop was chopped in the back with a stick in the trapezoid behind his net.  It just might have been a bit of an acting job by Bishop.  No penalty was assessed for either squad and play continued.  As the horn sounded to signal intermission, things got chippy between Jamie Benn and the Blues.  Near the benches, some goalie-on-goalie action occurred as Binnington apparently swiped his stick at Bishop as they went off the ice.  Benn would be called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty to begin the third in the box and Binnington was called for roughing when he hit Benn above the shoulders and slashing Bishop as he skated off the ice.

Blues center Robert Thomas added a goal for St. Louis to get the score to 4-2 with under seven minutes left in the third period.  They weren’t able to do any more damage on Bishop as they didn’t even register a shot on goal in the final 2:45 of the game with an extra attacker after pulling Binnington from the net.

With the win, the Stars have evened the series at 2-2 and have created a best-of-three series.  Unfortunately, the Blues will have home-ice advantage but Dallas has proved to be more than capable of winning key games on the road so far this postseason with two wins in Nashville in the first round and a win in St. Louis in game two of this series.

Friday night’s game five is the biggest night of the season so far for coach Jim Montgomery and his team. They’ve managed to come up big when necessary every time so far this postseason.  With tonight yielding a well-balanced offensive attack and a return to form for Ben Bishop, there’s no reason for Dallas to not feel great about what they can do in the Gateway City on Friday night at 8:30 on NBC Sports Network and on 1310 AM/96.7 FM The Ticket.

Let’s see the boys in Victory Green take another big step towards keeping this fun spring run going another week or two.

Editor-in-Chief for Dallas Fanatic| Born and raised in Dallas, I received my Bachelor's Degree from the University of North Texas in 2014 after majoring in Radio/TV/Film. I'm a lover of all sports and support every DFW team. For random sports and other thoughts, find me on Twitter: @DylanDuell

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