Dallas Stars: Final Thoughts On An Impressive 6-1 Win Over Minnesota

DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 3: Jamie Benn #14, Alexander Radulov #47, Tyler Seguin #91 and the Dallas Stars celebrate a goal against the Minnesota Wild at the American Airlines Center on February 3, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 3: Jamie Benn #14, Alexander Radulov #47, Tyler Seguin #91 and the Dallas Stars celebrate a goal against the Minnesota Wild at the American Airlines Center on February 3, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images) /

It was a big game, and the Dallas Stars had no trouble answering the call to action. The Stars smacked the Minnesota Wild 6-1 in a crucial Central Division matchup and created some much-needed breathing room in the standings.

The Dallas Stars hosted Retro Night at the AAC on Saturday night and threw it back to 1993 with their in-arena production. But on the ice, it looked like it was 1999.

The Stars put together an incredible performance in a “must win” caliber game and knocked off the Minnesota Wild 6-1. The victory pushed the Stars to 30-19-4 on the season and helped them solidify their position in the Western Conference playoff race.

Game recap

The Dallas Stars and Minnesota Wild put together a relatively quiet first period as the two teams felt each other out. There were no penalties, no goals, and very few chances in either zone. The first frame ended in a 0-0 tie with the shot totals being tied at 9-9.

Dallas Stars
Dallas Stars /

Dallas Stars

The second period very well may have been the Stars’ best period of the season. After being heavily outshot through the first eight minutes, Dallas bounced back in a big way. It all started with Mattias Janmark scoring a power play goal on a deflection of a John Klingberg shot. Stephen Johns, Jamie Benn (PPG), and Tyler Seguin all followed it up with goals of their own over the next 5:08 to give the Stars a 4-0 lead. Dallas controlled possession for the remainder of the period and had seized complete control of the game.

The third period involved a lot of energy as well, but the Stars still dominated the show. Alexander Radulov and Dan Hamhuis both scored goals of their own for the Stars, while Jason Zucker tallied the lone goal for Minnesota. The game ended in a 6-1 beatdown and gave Dallas a lot to be proud of.

Thoughts and Observations

That penalty kill looks clean

It would have been very easy for the Stars to give up a power play goal on one of their two penalty kills towards the end of the second. They had already built a 4-0 lead and most teams would shift into neutral at that point.

But the Stars didn’t. They killed back-to-back penalties and finished the night 2/2 on the PK. They gave up minimal chances, shut down the Minnesota power play, and even generated some shorthanded chances. A solid night for the Stars’ shorthanded units.

And let’s not forget the power play

The Dallas penalty kill was incredible tonight. They went 2/2 on the man advantage and made both goals look relatively easy. Mattias Janmark and Jamie Benn scored the two goals, which means both units found the back of the net for the Stars.

For a team that entered the game with the 18th ranked power play in the NHL, that’s pretty impressive. The Stars were clean on their zone time, connected on crisp passes, and found plenty of chances as a result. Good night for the PP.

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  • Kari Lehtonen wants and deserves your attention and respect

    After a stellar performance in Arizona, Kari Lehtonen was announced as the starter for the Minnesota game. Though Lehtonen had played consistently over the last month and was riding a three-game win streak, his stats at home were rather subpar and left plenty of room for doubt.

    But he squashed all of that with tonight’s performance. Lehtonen stopped 30 of 31 shots and finished the night with a .968 save percentage. That’s his fourth win in a row and bumps his record up to 9-5-1 while increasing his stats to a .922 SV% and 2.22 GAA on the year. It was just his second win on home ice this season.

    “A game is a game,” said Lehtonen. “I’ve been playing a lot on the road and that’s just the way it’s been. I just try and go out there and do the same thing. I’ve been doing it and it worked tonight.”

    Lehtonen will likely return to the backup role on Monday night when Ben Bishop returns from injury. But after two impressive performances in a row for the Big Finn, don’t be shocked if Hitchcock gives him a second look before this week’s slate of games.

    Retro Night was a fun one

    A major hat tip to the Dallas Stars presentation crew. The Stars hosted their first Retro Night at the AAC and attempted to turn the clock back on just about everything at the AAC.

    And boy did they. From the old-time scoreboard and 1993 Stars jerseys, to television ads for VCRs and Deloreans playing on the jumbotron, to a great music playlist including tunes from the 1970’s through to the 1990’s, it was a sight to behold and a joy to see.

    “I loved it,” said Stars forward Tyler Seguin. “I thought those jerseys were awesome. I even said before the game that we need something like that for a third jersey next year, so hopefully our front office is listening right now.”

    It was another incredible effort by the Dallas Stars presentation crew and created a fun environment overall.

    That first line magic was in the air

    The Dallas Stars top trio is without a doubt one of the most feared lines in hockey, and could very well be the most dominant throughout all of the NHL. When Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Alexander Radulov are all clicking, it can be darn near impossible for anyone to slow them down.

    “The line was good and [Alexander] Radulov was exceptional,” said Stars head coach Ken Hitchcock. “His hunt on the puck and his hound and strength on the puck. He was a reckless player in a good way today and it was very effective.

    In tonight’s contest, all three players found the back of the net, and there were seven total points tallied between the three of them.

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    “I thought our line carried the same message as the team,” said Seguin. “We had something to build off of as a line in Arizona, and tonight we kept it rolling.”

    One thing is certain: that first line is darn good and probably keeps defenses awake at night.

    That’s one way to respond to a big challenge

    This was a prove it game for the Dallas Stars. If they lost, they could very well have been knocked out of the playoff picture. If they won, they could create some much-needed separation. They did the latter and it paid off well.

    “It was a really tight game at first, but then we got that first one in the second and kind of went from there,” said Stars defenseman Stephen Johns. “I think we smelled some blood and took advantage of it. Any kind of pressure we could put on them was a positive for us.”

    With the response time, the Dallas Stars proved that they

    “Every game is big,” Lehtonen said. “But the games against the division teams, it doesn’t get any bigger than that at this point in the year. It was a good test for us and we passed that one.”

    Stars get rewarded beautifully in standings

    More from Blackout Dallas

    The Dallas Stars needed a win and they got it. Now they’re getting rewarded in the standings.

    With the Minnesota regulation loss and Colorado losing to Winnipeg 3-0, the Stars once again solidified their spot in the Central Division and in the wild card race. Dallas now owns a three-point lead on the first wild card spot and has some breathing room… for now.

    They are three points back of the St. Louis Blues for third in the division, but have a game in hand. Overall it was a much-needed boost and gave the Stars something to build on as they continue the playoff run.

    That Stars team can win playoff series

    That Stars team right there could do some serious damage in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They were aggressive on offense and special teams, focused and structurally sound on defense, and got an outstanding performance from their goaltender in a must-win game against a Central Division opponent.

    While they may not be able to play at that caliber every night, it was nice to see that they can reach that level when they need to.

    “We played a good hockey game,” Seguin said. “We placed that Arizona game as something to build off of and tonight was the next step. So we just need to keep rolling.”

    “We’ve got a lot of hockey left, and it’s been fun so far,” added Stephen Johns.

    Next: Stars Reacting Well To Wake-up Call Games Out Of Breaks

    All in all, the Dallas Stars really needed a win and showed just how dominant they can be when it matters most. They picked up their 30th win of the season and now have 64 points on the year. With 29 games left in the year, there’s still plenty of fun yet to be had. But this was a great way to start off a long stretch against some tough teams. Not to mention that it was a coveted Central Division victory.

    The Stars will be back in action on Monday night at home against the New York Rangers. Until then, revel in the victory.