In what would prove to be the last Stars game for the next week, Dallas (14-12-2, 30 points) trucked past the Minnesota Wild (19-9-2) 7-4 on Monday night at the American Airlines Center.
Joe Pavelski scored on a backhand 1:31 into the first, his twelfth on the season for the 1-0 advantage. Jason Robertson and Miro Heiskanen each earned their fourteenth assists of the year on the Pavelski goal (his twentieth career goal against the Wild.)
Nearly two minutes later, Esa Lindell scored a powerplay goal, his first of the season, to give the Stars a 2-0 in the first.
The early Stars lead didn’t last long, though. The Wild’s Ryan Hartman and Kevin Fiala scored goals at the 5 and 15-minute marks to knot the contest at 2-2.
Just sixty-six seconds later, Tyler Saguin went top shelf on Wild goalie Cam Talbot giving the Stars a lead 3-2 on his eighth goal of the season. Denis Gurianov and Jamie Benn each earned assists on the score, the latter with a spin pass onto Seguin’s stick for the set-up.
At the 10-minute mark – the team’s both shorthanded with four – the Wild’s Ryan Hartman was called for back-to-back major penalties – a hold and cross-check landing him in the penalty box — putting the Stars on a 4-to-3 power play for 1:23 seconds.
Unable to capitalize on that advantage, Dallas skated with a one-person advantage, but the Wild killed the penalties. When Joe Pavelski shot right in front of the net, it seemed a sure goal, but it was stopped short by the gloved hand of Minnesota’s Cam Talbo — 6′ 4″ and 196 pounds – as he fell face-first on the ice.
The Wild struck when Kirill Kaprizov took a deflected pass and snuck the puck across Dallas goalie Jake Oettinger’s left leg pad with 3:33 in the second, cutting the Stars lead to 4-3 going into the second intermission.
More games canceled
During the second intermission, the National League hockey in the NHL players association agreed to postpone five scheduled games on Thursday, December 23. Hence, the collectively bargained holiday break begins after the December 21 games.
“This includes the Stars’ road game against Chicago slated for Thursday, December 23. Dallas’ home game against Winnipeg on Wednesday, December 22, was already postponed due to the concern about cross-border travel and the fluid nature of federal travel restrictions,” NHL Public Relations said.
Players will report back to their clubs on Sunday, December 26, and that day will be used for COVID testing, practice, and or travel. The league’s regular-season schedule will resume on Monday, December 27.
As the final period of Stars hockey for the week began, Jacob Peterson notched the fifth goal of his rookie season and his second against Minnesota this year. The Peterson goal was assisted by Michael Raffl, his fifth of the season, giving Dallas a 5-3 lead with 17 minutes to play.
Seguin stole the puck and slapped to his left to train defenseman Miro Heiskanen exactly sixty seconds later. He backhanded the puck into the goal to double-up the Stars 6-3 lead (four of the last seven goals scored by the Stars have come from defensemen.
With the game all but over, the Wild pulled their goalie as they scrambled to tighten the score. Five minutes later, Alexander Radulov was called for cross-checking. Fiala’s score for the Wild, his second of the night, cut the score to 6-4.
Benn would finally capitalize on the empty-net advantage, however, as he flipped a shot over the Wild defense and down the ice for paydirt and a 7-4 lead. Seven different players scored goals on the night for Dallas.
“It’s nice it didn’t go off my butt or my leg,” Benn said of the shot postgame. “That’s the last game going on break, so that was nice to go off like that.”
Benn added that during the week-long break, he would likely “get some rest and get a lot of food.”
Jake Oettinger was between the pipes for Dallas on the night and ran his record to 6-2 with the win. He stopped 19-of-23 shots on the night.
The Stars will welcome the Nashville Predators (19-10-1) to town on Monday, December 27, at the American Airlines Arena. The last time the two teams met, Nashville notched a 4-2 win. Tickets for the game can be purchased through Ticketmaster or in person at the American Airlines Ticket Center.