Dallas 3 - Pittsburgh 4
Man, that was a lot of fun wasn't it? I don't even mind that the Stars lost. Playoff atmosphere hockey in what had to have been the most exciting game of the year for the Stars. This past week of hockey has been as fun as any this season. Dallas took everything, EVERYTHING, that the Penguins threw at them and gave it right back. Dallas didn't back down from anything in this game, which really took off after the Nystrom-on-Letang hit which I'll get into a bit more later.
The forward lines were great up and down the lineup, 1st-4th. There was no one that had a subpar game among in this group. The Ribs line has been great in the past week and proved their worth again tonight. All three of the guys on this line kept their point streaks going. Kari Lehtonen was solid, but was let down by a couple of defensive lapses.
Dallas actually struck first as Jamie Benn scored a goal in his first game back. He was wide open in the slot and no Pens defender tried to stop him as he put it past Fleury, who actually got a glove on it. From then on, it was a back and forth game all the way until the shootout. It looked like the Pens had all the momentum in the third period as they scored twice in a minute to take the lead but Dallas was again able to fight back.
Marc-Andre Fleury allowed three goals but still might have been the number one star of this game. He made three saves on Stars breakaway chances and stoned numerous point-blank chances. Dallas could have easily had at least seven goals if Fleury had been even a bit off his game today. When Letang left, the Pens blue line was an absolute mess.
There was a huge talking point in this when Eric Nystrom put a hit on Kris Letang in the corner. Letang and Nystrom were both going for the puck and Nytrom hit Letang. Letang went down to the ice and was taken off with what's probably a concussion. In my opinion, Nystrom did not put a dirty hit on Letang. He kept his elbow tucked in and hit him with the side of his arm.
Letang was reaching for the puck in the corner and had his body leaning and his head down as a result. It was as much of him running into Nystrom as it was Nystrom hitting Letang. I can totally understand how people could see this differently though and would not be surprised or angry if Nystrom gets a suspension.
more after the jump
- Dallas completely shut down one of the best PP units in the league. The Penguins had five power-play opportunities and didn't score on any of them. They were limited to a total of five shots on the man-advantage.
- Goligoski had a mighty troublesome time in this game. He got burned on both of the Penguins first two goals. The first team, Steve Sullivan just flew right past him to chase down a puck and score. The second time, Goose lost sight of Craig Adams on a backdoor cut. Adams had a easy tip-in goal.
- He still managed an assist, but Dallas did a great job controlling Malkin in this game. He was less of a passer and more of a shooter this game.
- Trevor Daley was absolutely magnificent in this game. He was a huge part of the PK and did a great job assisting on offensive rushes. He wasn't caught out of position and might've been the MVP of the game for Dallas if it wasn't for Loui.
- Loui made a beautiful little saucer pass on his assist on the second goal for the Stars. He was all over the ice tonight and made many plays on his own.
- Lehtonen had a terrible shootout performance, his worst of the season. Before this game, he was 19 of 25 in shootout chances. He saved only 1 of 4 in this game.
- Benn had 1 goal, 2 shots and 5 hits in 18:05 of ice time in his first game back from a lacerated leg.
- Fleury is 6-0-0 in his career against the Stars.
Game Stats and Scoring Summary:
|Power Plays||0 of 4
||0 of 5
- 15:25 - Jamie Benn (18)
Assists: Steve Ott (21), Adam Burish (10)
- 18:53 - Steve Sullivan (12)
Assists: Pascal Dupuis (22), Brooks Orpik (10)
- 19:47 - Sheldon Souray (6)
Assists: Loui Eriksson (35), Mike Ribeiro (34)
- 3:33 - Craig Adams (4)
Assists: Jordan Staal (11)
- 4:12 - Chris Kunitz (18)
Assists: Paul Martin (18), Evgeni Malkin (42)
- 7:23 - Michael Ryder (26)
Assists: Loui Eriksson (36), Trevor Daley (18)
Overtime: No goals
- Shootout GOAL scored by James Neal on Kari Lehtonen
- Shootout GOAL scored by Loui Eriksson on Marc-Andre Fleury
- Shootout attempt by Evgeni Malkin saved by Kari Lehtonen
- Shootout attempt by Mike Ribeiro saved by Marc-Andre Fleury
- Shootout GOAL scored by Chris Kunitz on Kari Lehtonen
- Shootout GOAL scored by Jamie Benn on Marc-Andre Fleury
- Shootout GOAL scored by Pascal Dupuis on Kari Lehtonen
- Shootout attempt by Michael Ryder MISSES Wide of Net