Dallas Stars Batten Down Hatches, Defeat Canucks 2-1

Nov 25, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Stars defenseman Esa Lindell (23) and the Stars celebrate the win over the Vancouver Canucks at the American Airlines Center. The Stars defeat the Canucks 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 25, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Stars defenseman Esa Lindell (23) and the Stars celebrate the win over the Vancouver Canucks at the American Airlines Center. The Stars defeat the Canucks 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Stars found a way to get it done tonight on home ice in front of a sellout crowd. They bested the Canucks 2-1 in a scrappy and hard-nosed battle.

The Dallas Stars did not look like themselves tonight. Their offense struggled while their defense and goaltending carried the weight.

Even though the forwards were a bit stagnant, the blue line and goaltending were enough to push the Stars past the Vancouver Canucks for a much-needed 2-1 win. Post game recap and some thoughts to ponder on can be found below.

Game recap

The first period began with a furious effort from the Stars. But it was the Canucks who drew first blood when Jayson Megna blew past the Dallas defense and undressed Niemi for his first goal of the season. The 1-0 lead held true for the Canucks going into first intermission.

The Dallas Stars came roaring out in the second period and it wasn’t long before Radek Faksa tallied his second of the year to tie the game at 1-1. The goal was initially thought to be scored by Esa Lindell (which would have been his first career goal). But Lindell would not be denied. About six minutes later, he scored on a snipe to gain the 2-1 lead for Dallas that would hold to the end of the period.

The third period offered a lot of good chances for both sides, including a late power play for the Canucks. But the Stars held their ground and escaped with a 2-1 victory.

Thoughts and Observations

Vancouver’s defense was up to par

For giving up the seventh most goals in the NHL, the Canucks played an impressively tight defensive game tonight. They clogged the passing lanes, guarded the front of their net well, and gave up very few chances in the slot or near the crease.

It was a challenge for the Stars to produce many quality chances, and both their goals came from initial shots from the blue line (by the wonderful Esa Lindell, I might add). Besides a little hiccup in the second period, the Canucks defense played a pretty airtight game.

Lindell with his first (and second?) goal

Esa Lindell was the catalyst behind the Dallas Stars’ offense tonight. Yes, you read that right. The defenseman led the offense.

Behind a wickedly fast release, Lindell set the Stars up for two different goals. The first was assumed to be Lindell’s until the official review claimed that Radek Faksa deflected the puck in front just before it found its way into the net. But as all good hockey players do, Lindell refused to be denied his celebration. He tallied his first career NHL goal a few minutes later, and it ended up being the game winner.

He finished the night with one goal, one assist, a +2 rating, and 21:13 of ice time. He was second on the Stars in regards to time on the ice. Not a half bad night for the rookie.

Lots of crowd energy

The Dallas Stars definitely received a helping hand from their home crowd tonight.

In front of a sellout crowd of 18,532, the Stars fended off the Canucks using the passion that overflowed from the stands. “Let’s Go Stars” chants began ringing in the crowd midway through the second and continued on-and-off for the rest of the game. After the Stars’ second goal, the crowd began chanting “Miiiiiiillllllleeeerrrrrrr” to try and get in the head of Ryan Miller, the Canucks goaltender.

The crowd was backing them with all they could offer, and they could be considered one of the main reasons that Dallas came out on top in this game. Have the Stars finally found some home ice advantage?

Oleksiak eating up playing time

Jamie Oleksiak led the team tonight in time on the ice with 22:13.

“He was moving pretty good out there,” coach Lindy Ruff said after the game. Though he did not tally any points, Oleksiak played a phenomenal defensive game. He used his reach and physicality well and consistently disrupted the Canucks.

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One area where he particularly stood out was on the penalty kill. He skated 3:03 of a possible 4:00 while shorthanded and helped hold Vancouver to two total shots on two power plays. The Big Rig is becoming one of the more consistent performers on the Dallas defense.

Niemi with another masterpiece

Antti Niemi stepped up once again on home ice and turned in a dazzling performance. He finished 30-31 tonight for a .967 save percentage. Besides one goal given up early on a semi-breakaway, Niemi turned everything else aside.

He now improves to 5-2-2 on the season with a .907 save percentage and 2.97 GAA. At home, he is 5-1-1 with a .936 save percentage. Not bad for home ice perks, huh?


“I felt a little bad, but I needed the goal too, ya know?” -Radek Faksa on deflecting Esa Lindell’s first potential NHL goal

“It feels good, if it was my goal…” Lindell on scoring his first goal at the NHL level

The final stat line


G: Jayson Megna (1) A: Bo Horvat (7)

G: Radek Faksa (2) A: Esa Lindell (2), Brett Ritchie (2)

G: Esa Lindell (1) A: Jamie Benn (11), John Klingberg (9)

The Canucks outshot the Stars 31-28 and owned the face-off dot with a 50.8% win percentage. The Stars outhit Vancouver 22-18 and blocked 24 shots to Vancouver’s 10.

Three stars: 

  1. Esa Lindell
  2. Antti Niemi
  3. Jayson Megna

Looking ahead

The Dallas Stars earned the win tonight behind some solid goaltending, excellent defense, and a terrific penalty kill. With those three things, even a subpar NHL team can go a long way.

Next: What Stars Items To Buy This Holiday Season

The Stars will be off tomorrow before hitting the ice for practice on Sunday. On Monday night, they will be back in action on the road against the St. Louis Blues. Make sure to check back in to Blackout Dallas for coverage of the game.