The Dallas Stars suffered a heartbreaking loss in double overtime in game seven of the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the St. Louis Blues, ending their 2019-20 season and their Stanley Cup hopes.
On Sunday afternoon, the Dallas Stars had another chance to close out a series in a game six at home. They had done it once already, defeating the Nashville Predators in overtime to move on to the next round, and were in a similar situation to close out the second series against St. Louis at the American Airlines Center.
But, that didn’t happen. A goal from Alex Pietrangelo and two scores in a 33-second span in the third period helped push St. Louis to a 4-1 victory to force game seven in Missouri.
If the Stars wanted to move on to the Western Conference Final, they’d have to beat the Blues one more time on Tuesday night.
And, in retrospect, the game was very reminiscent of the Stars’ 2016 playoff run, which featured a showdown series between the Stars and Blues. Dallas had surpassed the Minnesota Wild in six games to face St. Louis in the second round. The Stars split the first two games of the series at home to go to St. Louis for games three and four with a 1-1 tie. The Blues won game three and lost game four to send it back to Dallas for game five. The Stars lost game five at home by a score of 4-1 to give St. Louis a chance to clinch the series in six, but Dallas was able to fend off the Blues to push the series to seven games. But, the Blues scored three first period goals and two in the second to effectively end the Stars’ series.
On Tuesday night, three years later, the Dallas Stars had a chance at redemption.
However, they weren’t able to redeem themselves of the 2016 loss. It didn’t help that St. Louis got the first goal of the game from Vince Dunn at 6:30 into the first period; the team that scored first in the series won six out of seven games.
But the Stars were able to get the equalizer in the game just a few minutes later off a broken pass. Blues defender Colton Parayko sent a pass that was supposed to go around the Blues’ net, but it deflected off a linesman’s skate, off the net, and slid right out in front for Mats Zuccarello to send home and tie the game.
Aside from that key chance, the rest of regulation play was dominated by the Blues. St. Louis finished the game with 54 shots and more than 98 shot attempts, 33 hits, and 52 faceoff wins out of 96 total draws.
To put it in perspective, the Stars had 30 total shots in the game. They also had 30 blocked shots, too. From the start of the second period to the end of regulation play, the Stars had just four shots. Four. That’s compared to a Blues team that amassed 31 in the second and third periods.
Not only that, but the Stars power play units never made an appearance in the game. St. Louis’ discipline throughout the night helped them stay out of the penalty box, and kept the Stars’ power play on the bench.
Dallas, on the other hand, was flagged for two penalties in the game, both of which took place in the second period. Brett Ritchie—who was playing in his second career postseason game and first in the 2019 playoffs—was called for tripping at 7:07 into the second period, and John Klingberg was also sent to the box for tripping at 11:02 into the second. Fortunately for the Stars, though, the penalty killing unit killed both the penalties and continued its success when they had a man in the sin bin.
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With all that being said, St. Louis was definitely the better team in this game, but there’s a reason the score wasn’t 7-1: Ben Bishop.
Bishop had a stellar game in between the pipes on Tuesday night after a rocky game six in which he appeared to be injured by a rocket slap shot from Blues defenseman Colton Parayko which resulted from a controversial goal to give St. Louis a 3-1 lead. Bishop was down on the ice after taking the slap shot to the collar bone area but had not taken off his helmet to stop play. Veteran defenseman Alexander Steen threw the puck on net from the blue line and Jaden Schwartz tipped it in to double the Blues’ lead. The Blues would score again less than a minute later, which would result in Bishop being pulled from the game and being replaced with Anton Khudobin.
But, Stars’ media announced on Monday that Bishop would be the game seven starter after leaving game six.
And Bishop had an excellent game, ending the night with 52 saves on a grand total of 54 shots. If it were not for the heroics of Ben Bishop, the Stars wouldn’t have had a prayer in the game.
Bishop kept the Stars’ hopes alive, and to Dallas’ credit, they had some decent scoring opportunities late in the third and overtime periods. Klingberg led the Stars in shots in the game with four, and Jamie Benn and Miro Heiskanen had three each. Benn, in particular, had a couple of fruitful opportunities to score a goal, including a backhander that he sent towards a nearly-empty net in the third period that hit the side of the goal, and a wrap-around in overtime that could’ve sent the Stars to the Western Conference Final for the first time since 2008.
But that wasn’t the storyline heading into double overtime. Bishop had been superb all night long, and either team was just one shot away from a trip to the Conference Final. Then, at 5:50 into the second overtime period, St. Louis native and Blues forward Patrick Maroon knocked home a loose puck in the crease to seal the game for the Blues.
The Dallas Stars had a hectic season. They battled injuries, news headline nightmares, a tough western conference, and two strong teams in Nashville and St. Louis. Hats off to both the Dallas Stars and the St. Louis Blues for a hard-fought series.
See you in October.
- Published on 05/08/2019 at 17:58 PM
- Last updated at 05/08/2019 at 17:58 PM