Though many Stars fans had the “Keep Calm and Carry On” mentality through the first 7 games, many also were starting to have their doubts when the Stars posted a 2-4-1 record. No matter how premature either assumption you may have had was, there were some bright spots coming into Friday Night’s game versus the Coyotes.
Jamie Benn was making his home debut (after signing his 5 year contact extension), Jamie “Big Rig” Oleksiak & Antoine Roussel were called up from the Texas Stars to add some grit and toughness to the team, and of course, ‘In Kari We Trust’... Kari Lehtonen would be minding the net. Which, yes, is always a great advantage, but he gave us a win on Opening Night against those very same Coyotes.
It was clear early, that the depth of the Dallas Stars would be the key to beating the Coyotes once again. Roussel, in his NHL debut, made a big impact in the game. Scoring the first goal of the night backhanded on Mike Smith halfway through the 1st, winning 6 of 7 faceoffs, and banging bodies throughout the night. Shortly after, Defenseman Brenden Dillon also gets his first career goal on Coyotes Goalie Mike Smith. Dillon, by the end of the night, ended up with a Gordie Howe Hat Trick (1 goal, 1 assist, & a fight).
After the Coyotes tied the game at 2, it was time for another line to shine. Though he may have had a little help from the defenseman’s skate, Michael Ryder ripps one passed Smith to give the Stars a 3-2 lead in the 2nd period. It wouldn’t last for long as Hanzal gets one to the net to even things up at 3-3 with 1:34 left in the 2nd. No goals were scored after that sending the game passed the 3rd period into overtime, and eventually a shoot out.
Radim Vrbata scored the Phoenix’s lone goal, giving the Stars one shot to tie it up or head to the locker room. And just like that it was time for the 1st line to do their part. Jamie Benn scores to keep Dallas alive and Jaromir Jagr scored to end the game. The Stars take the shootout 2-1 and the game 4-3.
The Stars as a whole played a good game and started to do the right things to beat the Coyotes, where depth was the factor. Getting a goals from the 4th line, blue line (defense), 2nd line, and 2 shootout goals from the 1st line. And of course, the toughness and great play from the rest of the team. Now it’s time to sit back and see if the boys can do it again, as the Stars take on the Coyotes in Phoenix Saturday Night, 7PM Central
Above Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images