The first game home after a road trip is always a potential trap game. Playing against the Anaheim Ducks, one of the worst teams in the NHL this year, doesn’t change that equation.
With no John Klingberg in the Ducks lineup, there wasn’t any special event to roll through – just the mid-season grind of trying to beat a team that the Dallas Stars should beat if they are going to make the playoffs and take a run at the top of the Central Division.
Things didn’t start out that well for the Stars. Early in the period, Jani Hakanpaa – who is still impaired by the full cage over his face – put one into the lower bowl for a delay of game penalty.
Anaheim’s power play has been struggling for most of the season, but recently the team has been on an upswing. The Ducks put four shots on net during the course of the two minutes that Hakanpaa missed – and that doesn’t include the snipe off the pipe from Mason McTavish, but the Stars survived.
Coming out of the 4×5, the Stars top line went to work, and it paid off when – who else – Jason Robertson banked one off Ducks defender Urhu Vaakanainen into the Ducks net.
After opening the scoring, play was pretty even, with the Ducks generating more chances, but the Stars getting more quality shots. The Ducks survived a Stars power play mid-period, with both units having issues getting set up in the zone.
The period ended with Mason Marchment taking an instigator penalty (plus fighting and a 10 minute misconduct), going to the defense of Wyatt Johnston after he took a hard check into the boards. Ducks start period two on the power play.
Score – Dallas 1, Ducks 0
Shots – Dallas 10, Ducks 12
The Stars penalty kill unit showed why they’re third in the NHL, finishing off the Ducks power play to open the period. After that, Dallas put the pedal down. Wyatt Johnston was robbed by Anthony Stolarz’ pad twice off a pretty feed from Robertson.
After extended time in the offensive zone, Colin Miller drew a tripping penalty. The first power play went to work, and Robertson picked a post off a feed by Miro Heiskanen for his second of the game.
After the power play goal, the Stars kept buzzing, with the top line putting on the pressure. After a TV timeout, Heiskanen Hacky Sacked a Ducks clearance attempt to his stick and put a shot on net. Joel Kiviranta found the rebound and popped the rolling puck into the net for his fourth of the season.
The period ended with the Stars top unit looking dangerous on another power play, which turned into a penalty kill when the second unit got caught flat footed and Denis Gurianov took a holding penalty to even things up (and turned into a Duck power play). The Stars penalty kill kept their clean slate without giving up anything dangerous.
Score – Dallas 3, Ducks 0
Shots – Dallas 26, Ducks 22
An early period trip on Roope Hintz put the Stars on the power play, and Jason Robertson replicated his second goal of the game, this time with Joe Pavelski taking Stolarz’ eyes with the netfront screen. The goal put Dallas up 4-0, and the rout was on.
Miro Heiskanen – already with three assists – had a goal waved off when Ty Dellandrea pushed a Duck defender into the goaltender. The onslaught continued when Wyatt Johnston roofed a backhand over Stolarz to make it 5-0.
The shinny hockey continued, with Stars lines taking turns in the Ducks offensive zone generating chances. Jamie Benn drew a penalty shot after a nifty bit of stick handling, but tried his standard five-hole move (failing once again). The only remaining questions were whether Jake Oettinger could get his second shutout of the year and whether Tyler Seguin could finally score a goal against the Ducks. Yes to the first, no to the second.
Final Score – Dallas 5, Ducks 0
Shots – Dallas 41, Ducks 31
After the first period, the Stars tilted the ice their way, and by the end of the game all four lines were buzzing looking for the next goal.
Dallas, so far this season, has won the games that they should win. Thursday nights game against the Ducks was a prime example of that dominance.