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Stars feel they gained psychological edge with Game 4 win against Blues

Goaded St. Louis goalie Binnington into two penalties following incidents with Benn, Bishop

by Mike Zeisberger @Zeisberger / NHL.com Staff Writer

DALLAS -- Jordan Binnington lost his composure.

Ben Bishop did not.

In a best-of-7 Western Conference Second Round, where there is little to choose from between Binnington's St. Louis Blues and Bishop's Dallas Stars, there's a good chance the goalie who doesn't become rattled at crunch time will be the most successful.

 

[RELATED: Complete Blues vs. Stars series coverage]

 

Such was the case in the Stars' 4-2 victory in Game 4 at American Airlines Center on Wednesday that evened the series 2-2. Game 5 is at St. Louis on Friday (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, SN360, TVAS).

"I just thought they lost a bit of their emotional control," Dallas coach Jim Montgomery said, specifically referring to an incident involving Binnington when the horn sounded to end the second period.

The Stars were up 4-1 when the Blues rookie goalie responded to the chirping of Jamie Benn by whacking the Stars captain with his glove. He then gave Bishop a hack when he skated by on his way to the dressing room.

Asked to describe what happened, Benn replied: "Just a bunch of grown men being donkeys out there."

Video: Ben Bishop shines in a physical game Game 3 win

But was it more than that? 

Have the Stars managed to get inside the head of Binnington, who has been remarkably unflappable for a 25-year-old whose small body of work in the NHL consists of 43 games (33 regular season, 10 playoffs). Compare that to the resume of the more experienced Bishop, 32, who has appeared in 415 NHL games (369 regular season, 46 playoffs).

Benn doesn't think experience matters in this instance. In his mind, the team that gets more traffic in front of the opposing goalie will be the most successful.

"It's going to go both ways," Benn said. "Two great goalies in there. The kid (Binnington) is good, so we've got to try and make life tough on him. We found a way to be successful tonight."

And shake up Binnington in the process.

Video: STL@DAL, Gm4: Klingberg goes top shelf on Binnington

Binnington received a pair of minor penalties heading into the second intermission; roughing for his exchange with Benn, slashing for his incident with Bishop. Benn received a minor for unsportsmanlike conduct.

"Emotions were high," Binnington said. "I came back in here and regrouped. … It's playoff hockey. It's exciting. The fans are into it.

"It was an exciting game, and we're looking forward to the next game."

For Blues forward Ryan O'Reilly, the fire that Binnington showed is a quality they are embracing.

"He might be a rookie (in his first NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs), but he's a mature guy and you see the way he handles himself, the way he responds all year," O'Reilly said. "We're not worried at all. We're confident in him and he's confident in this group."

Video: STL@DAL, Gm4: Benn on defeating the Blues in Game 4

The normally calm Binnington did lose his cool during a 5-4 victory against the Anaheim Ducks on March 6 when he tripped forward Corey Perry, who had just delivered a jab to Binnington.

On Nov. 25, Binnington was given a five-minute major for slashing and a game misconduct while playing for San Antonio of the American Hockey League against Texas, Dallas' farm team.

O'Reilly doesn't want Binnington to take penalties but enjoys his feistiness.

"We like his emotion and we like the way he plays with an edge," O'Reilly said. "That's his game."

What should be more concerning to the Blues is that the Stars have scored on Binnington 10 times in the past three games after he had allowed eight goals in the previous four games.

Binnington isn't concerned.

"It's a best-of-3 now," he said. "We've been in this position before, so hopefully we handle it appropriately and just stick to our game."

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