How the Dallas Stars proved they can compete

DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 21: Brett Ritchie #25 of the Dallas Stars fights with Colton Parayko #55 of the St. Louis Blues in the second period at American Airlines Center on February 21, 2019 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 21: Brett Ritchie #25 of the Dallas Stars fights with Colton Parayko #55 of the St. Louis Blues in the second period at American Airlines Center on February 21, 2019 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Stars snapped a three-game losing streak on Thursday night and were able to end the St. Louis Blues 11-game winning streak, defeating the ladder 5-2 at home to hold onto the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot.

The month of February hasn’t been very kind to the Dallas Stars—a team that began the month in third place in the Central Division has seen itself knocked around in a tightly-contested race for the playoffs—but Thursday night’s victory over the red-hot St. Louis Blues showed flashes of hockey that the team displayed early on in the 2018-19 season.

After having lost their last three games in a row, including two shutouts on the road and a 5-3 division loss at home, Thursday night’s contest against St. Louis gave the Stars a perfect opportunity to gain momentum after a tough stretch of games.

"“The excitement to end the streak,” said Stars coach Jim Montgomery when asked by Stars Inside Edge Mark Stepneski on what he was looking forward to in the game. “They are somebody we are battling for third place. We want to catch them. They are on a high. We can end that high, and we can also give ourselves some momentum and propel us.”"

And end the streak they did.

Captain Jamie Benn scored his 20th goal of the season at 3:46 into the second period to notch the first goal of the game. With the second period score, Benn increased his 20+ goal-per-season count to nine. He has 41 points this season.

Benn’s second-period goal was set up thanks to a fantastic pass by Miro Heiskanen. Benn received Heiskanen’s pass and was able to net the puck past Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington.

"“Pretty nice,” Benn said of Heiskanen’s pass to Stepneski following the game. “I was almost by the net, I wasn’t sure if it was coming but I guess it goes to show you should always be ready with Miro on the ice so he can make sick plays like that. Such a great player and we’re lucky enough to play with the kid.”"

It was Jamie’s first goal in 10 games.

Five minutes later, Radek Faksa was able to score his first goal since Feb. 4 by corralling a blocked shot in front of the net and threw a no-look backhander past Binnington to double to lead.

But wait. There’s more.

65 seconds later, Alexander Radulov approached the net from the left side of the attacking zone and got off a miraculous shot that somehow made it past Blues defender Joel Edmundson and up over the shoulder of Binnington to give Dallas a 3-0 lead. It was Radulov’s 16th goal of the season and first tally since Dallas lost to Arizona on Feb. 9.

Vladimir Tarasenko was able to score his 27th goal of the season after minutes after Radulov’s strike to cut the lead to two goals. However, Jamie answered back with an impressive deflection off a shot from Esa Lindell for his second of the night to reset the lead at 3.

Ryan O’Reilly reduced Dallas’s advantage back to two with 23 seconds left in the middle frame.

Tyler Seguin recorded his 26th goal of the game with an empty-netter with 44 seconds left in the game to seal the deal 5-2.

One of the more exciting parts of the evening, however, was not a goal—it was a scrap. Dallas’ Brett Ritchie engaged in a spirited bout with Blues’ defender Colton Parayko in the middle of the second period after Parayko laid an unfavorable hit on John Klingberg.

Thursday night’ victory was the first time since Feb. 4 that Dallas scored five goals in a game.

But the win served as more than just a +1 increase in the “win column:” it was an example that the Dallas Stars can compete, and the Dallas Stars showed that they’re a team that has the potential to make waves in the playoffs, even against a sizzling-hot team like the St. Louis Blues.

The good news for Dallas is that they’ll look to carry this win into Saturday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes—who the Stars were shutout by a score of 3-0 last weekend. After that, the team will leave on a four-game road trip that’ll head to Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and St. Louis.

In the meantime, the Stars are still in a playoff spot. They currently continue to hold onto the first wild card spot in the West, and hold a three-point buffer ahead of the Minnesota Wild, who hold the second wild card spot. After that, there is a three-way tie between the Colorado Avalanche, Arizona Coyotes, and Chicago Blackhawks, all of whom have 61 points.

St. Louis, who is in third place in the Central, has a four-point lead over Dallas. The Blues have a tough stretch of games ahead of them, however, as they’ll play against Boston, Minnesota, and Nashville in their next three games.

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Although the Stars have been able to find some breathing room, it could vanish in an instant. They’ll look to net their 20th home win of the season on Saturday night, which would be among some of the league’s leading teams—Tampa, Boston, Winnipeg, and Nashville in particular—who all have at least 20 home wins this season. Tampa has 25.

Trade Deadline and Scouting Update

The Stars-Blues game had a few NHL teams in the press box with the trade deadline just a few days away, including Washington, Montreal, Los Angeles, Arizona, Columbus, and Anaheim.

Rumors over the past few days are that Dallas has interest in Washington forward Andre Burakovsky and Columbus Blue Jackets Winger Artemi Panarin. Per Shapiro, Los Angeles’ senior pro scout Rob Laird has also spent a considerable amount of time in Dallas over the past week.

Related Story. Has Stars' GM Jim Nill's 'Win Now' Strategy Expired?. light

The trade deadline is next Monday, Feb. 25.

What do you think, Stars fans? Will the Dallas Stars capture third place from St. Louis by the time the regular season comes to an end? Are they a strong playoff contender? Let us know in the comments below!

  • Published on 02/23/2019 at 12:13 PM
  • Last updated at 02/23/2019 at 12:13 PM