Oilers and Stars trade goals and hostilities in a wild affair that sees Dallas come out on top
DALLAS, TX -- The Oilers overcame a two-goal deficit in the first period to tie the game and eventually gain the lead on the strength of two goals from Drake Caggiula and three points from Connor McDavid but the Dallas Stars rallied to retake the lead and eventually defeat the visitors 6-3 in a game that had plenty of scoring and altercations.
The Oilers five-game road trip continues with a game in St. Louis on Tuesday. The game can be seen on Sportsnet West and heard on the Oilers Radio Network, including 630 CHED. Puck drop is 6:08 p.m. MST.
Three minutes into the game, Eric Gryba received two minutes for hooking Remi Elie of Dallas, who otherwise would have cut right through the Edmonton defence on a clearcut breakaway. Result was the game's first man advantage going to the home team.
While shorthanded, Zack Kassian scooped up the puck in the neutral zone and skated in all alone on Kari Lehtonen. His shot attempt was turned away by the Stars netminder, however. On the same penalty kill, Connor McDavid skated in on a two-on-one for Edmonton's second scoring chance. His pass attempt to Drake Caggiula was knocked out of harm's way, however.
Three minutes later, while even strength, Dallas scored on its first shot of the game. Jamie Benn dumped the puck into the corner where Antoine Roussel picked it up behind the goal line. Roussel centred the puck and it went off the back of Cam Talbot's leg and in.
Greg Pateryn and Milan Lucic dropped the gloves for a very quick fight that saw Lucic take down Pateryn in a couple of punches eight minutes into the period. Leon Draisaitl also received two for slashing and Radek Faksa two for cross-checking.
A minute after the fight and just over two minutes after Roussel's opening goal, Dallas doubled its lead. Alex Radulov wristed a shot from the right circle glove side past Talbot for the marker to make it 2-0.
"This was a strange game, in my opinion," said Oilers head coach Todd McLellan. "The first two shots go in. We got the start we wanted, we were pressing but when they score the first two goals you're behind the eight ball."
McLellan added that he was happy with how the team responded at that point, scoring the next three to take a 3-2 lead.
"I thought we responded real well. We came back, we pressed, we pushed but it got away from us a little later in the game," McLellan noted.
McDavid backhanded a pass right on the stick of Caggiula who put the puck into the open cage for a shorthanded goal with 3:06 to go in the first. Lehtonen had no chance as the Oilers shorthanded onslaught of the Stars finally found pay dirt.
Edmonton then had a power play of their own with Radulov in the box and converted. McDavid had a wide open net but his shot was blocked by Jamie Oleksiak. The rebound went right back to the Oilers pivot, however, and he hammered it in with the Stars netminder out of position.
42 seconds into period two, Caggiula netted his second of the game. He picked up Darnell Nurse's rebound following a blast from the point and put the puck in behind Lehtonen, whose day ended with his third goal allowed on 12 shots.
Stars head coach Ken Hitchcock was asked about the goaltending change and why he put Ben Bishop in despite some nice saves from Lehtonen in the opening 20 minutes.
"This had nothing to do with Kari, we needed a big-time wake up call. We were falling into the abyss again," Hitchcock said. "You look at their third goal and we had three chances to clear it and none of them got out. We got out-battled on pucks, we were starting to go down that path at the end of the period and then started the second period that way again and I'd had enough and we needed a wake-up call."
Dallas responded to the wake-up call and tied the game up eight minutes into the second. Devin Shore teed up a one-timer from the high slot that ricocheted off Oscar Klefbom on its way to the net before it fooled Talbot.
With 1:20 to play in the middle frame, the Stars completed a nice three-way passing play to regain the lead at 4-3. After receiving the puck from Jamie Oleksiak, Tyler Pitlick spun and fed Radek Faska who was barrelling up the middle. Faksa then deked out Talbot for the goal.
"They got a lot of bounces, shooting pucks that went off guys. We probably have to adopt that a little more, just fire pucks on the net," Mark Letestu noted. "We didn't squeeze the trigger a couple times when we could have."
The teams traded power plays in the third period with Edmonton's best chance coming off the stick of Draisaitl, whose redirection at the top of the crease was denied by Bishop.
Dallas extended its lead to 5-3 on a goal by Jamie Benn with 6:30 to play in the game. Benn was at the doorstep to backhand the puck home after a deflection resulted in a fortuitous bounce over to him.
With 3:16 to play, Lucic ran over Bishop behind the Stars net and that resulted in everyone on the ice engaging in pushing and shoving. Dallas received a power play after all was said and done. While on the power play, Jason Spezza rifled a shot from the left circle past Talbot to make it a 6-3 game.