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Stars rally past Blues in preseason opener

Penalties and special teams dominate play most of the night as Dallas earns a 5-3 victory

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

It looked like a preseason game Tuesday night at American Airlines Center. The Dallas Stars defeated the St. Louis Blues, 5-3, in a game that featured 19 minor penalties and more than 32 minutes of special teams play.

"Well, we definitely got a chance to work on both sides of the specialty game," said Stars captain Jamie Benn. "That was a lot of penalties and a lot of stick work we need to clean up."

The Stars took 11 penalties in the game, including three for hooking, two for slashing and one double-minor for high-sticking.

"You've got to cut it down to which ones are our responsibilities," said coach Ken Hitchcock. "I think that there were at least half of them that were on us. Those are things we have to get better at."

Mattias Janmark, Nick Caamano, Brett Ritchie, Benn and Tyler Pitlick scored goals for the Stars, who overcame 2-0 and 3-2 deficits in the game. Ben Bishop played two periods in goal and stopped 12 of 15 shots. Mike McKenna played the third period and stopped all eleven shots he faced to pick up the win. 

Video: Benn on first preseason game

"I thought we competed hard. I thought we played bizarre at times and I thought we gathered it in really well in the end," Hitchcock said. "I think there a lot of good things we can build on."

After the Blues jumped to a 2-0 lead on a power-play breakaway goal by Wade Megan and an even-strength tally by Klim Kostin, the Stars bounced back to tie on goals by Janmark and Caamano. Janmark scored on the rush from the left wing at 11:47 of the first period in his first game since missing all last season due to a knee issue.

"It was fun," Janmark said. "[The knee] felt good. The first period was tough, played a lot. There was a lot of penalty killing, so I was really tired. I didn't know how I'd get through the game. Then in the second period, I got my power back, and I felt even better in the third."

Video: Janmark scores in preseason opener

Caamano scored from close range, putting home the rebound of his own shot just after a Dallas power play expired at 4:11 of the second. Caamano, a 19-year-old junior player, earned playing time in Tuesday's game with a strong showing at the NHL Prospect Tournament in Traverse City, Michigan and Sunday's prospect scrimmage in Cedar Park.

"I am just trying to impress while I am out there and that is my mentality," Caamano said. "I want to stay here as long as I can and keep proving myself every game and every practice."

Caamano, who made an impression in just 5:14 of ice time, will be sticking around a little longer.

"I like him. I like him a lot," said Hitchcock. "He's got moxie. He's a 19-year-old kid, but he's got the moxie of an older player. He's made a great account of himself, and nobody in this world would have thought he would have hung in this long. He's still here, and when we play on Thursday he'll be here again."

Samuel Blais put the Blues back on top, scoring on a five-on-three power play at 12:15 of the second period. But the Stars bounced back in the third to take the lead. Ritchie came out of the penalty box and scored on an odd-man rush to tie the game at the 8:04 mark of the third. Benn scored from close range on the power play at the 12:19 mark to make it 4-3 Stars. McKenna came up with a couple of big saves with St. Louis on its final power play of the night to keep it a 4-3 game and Pitlick sealed the win with an empty-net goal to make it a 5-3 game at the 18:16 mark.

Notes

  • The Stars were 1-8 on the power play and 9-11 on the penalty kill.

  • Mattias Janmark (one goal, one assist) and Stephen Johns (two assists) co-led the Stars in scoring with two points.

  • The Blues outshot the Stars 26-24. The Stars had a 48-42 advantage in shot attempts.

  • John Klingberg led the Stars with six shot attempts. Jamie Benn, Jason Dickinson, and Tyler Pitlick had five shot attempts each.

  • The Stars won 38 of 62 faceoffs (61 percent). Tyler Seguin won 15 of 19 draws (79 percent), and Dickinson won 10 of 15 (67 percent).

  • Esa Lindell led the Stars in ice time with 25:51.

  • Defenseman Marc Methot played 18:26 in the game, 9:21 of it was played on the penalty kill.

What's Next

The Stars have Wednesday off. They play their next preseason game Thursday, taking on the Avalanche in Denver at 8 p.m.

Stars Lineup

Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Alexander Radulov
Mattias Janmark - Devin Shore - Brett Ritchie
Antoine Roussel - Jason Dickinson - Tyler Pitlick
Nick Caamano - Roope Hintz - Denis Gurianov

Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Marc Methot - Stephen Johns
Jamie Oleksiak - Julius Honka

Ben Bishop
Mike McKenna

This story was not subject to approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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