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5 things to know: Stars push past Blues to even series

Four different players score for Dallas to back Bishop's 27-save effort in the Game 4 victory

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Recap: STL 2, DAL 4

Stars win Game 4, even series with Blues

The Stars overcame an early deficit to post a 4-2 win in Game 4 and even their series with the Blues

  • 04:13 •

The Dallas Stars' second-round series with the St. Louis Blues is now a best-of-three.

Four different players scored goals, and Ben Bishop made 27 saves as the Stars defeated the Blues, 4-2, Wednesday night at American Airlines Center.

The series is now tied 2-2. Game 5 is Friday in St. Louis.

 

[MIKE HEIKA: Emotion of Stars-Blues series is what makes playoff hockey so darn special]

 

Jason Dickinson, Jason Spezza, John Klingberg, and Roope Hintz scored for Dallas, while Tyler Seguin, Alexander Radulov, and Mats Zuccarello all chipped in two assists apiece.

Here are five things to know from Wednesday's game.

 

1. Stars shine in crucial game

Wednesday's Game 4 was crucial for the Stars. Win and the series is tied. Lose and they would have headed to St. Louis in a 3-1 hole.

The Stars shook off an early 1-0 deficit and rattled off four unanswered goals to build a 4-1 lead through two periods. It was the game they were looking for after a disappointing 4-3 loss in Game 3 on Monday.

"We responded well. We've got a good team in this locker room, and the guys showed it again tonight," Bishop said. "Desperation's a good word, but I think we were just playing the way we were supposed to play. Guys came in tonight and did the job."

"I think we came to work and work smart tonight," added Stars forward Jason Dickinson. "First two periods for sure, I think we got a little bit sidetracked in the third, we were able to buckle down and handle it.

The Stars got the first five shots of the game, but the Blues got the first power play and scored to take a 1-0 lead at 5:02 of the first period. With Dickinson in the box for high sticking, Vladimir Tarasenko took a pass from Vince Dunn and scored from the right circle.

The Stars drew even at the 11:23 mark, taking advantage of a St. Louis turnover. After Dickinson picked off a Jay Bouwmeester pass at the St. Louis blue line, the Stars got to extend their time in the zone, and Mats Zuccarello put a shot on net that went wide, Tyler Seguin centered the rebound and Dickinson backhanded it into the net.

Video: STL@DAL, Gm4: Dickinson beats Binnington in tight

The Stars grabbed the lead late in the first, cashing in on their first power play of the night. Alexander Radulov put a shot on net, and the long rebound went to Jason Spezza, who scored on a blast from the right circle to make it a 2-1 game with 51.8 seconds left in the first.

Video: STL@DAL, Gm4: Spezza hammers PPG past Binnington

"I just saw the goalie was out of the net so my thought was to shoot as hard as I could and see if somebody wanted to block it, it was kind of what I thought," Spezza said. "Lucky it got a nice bounce and it went in."

St. Louis goaltender Jordan Binnington had a couple of big stops early in the second period to keep the Blues within one goal, but the Stars extended the lead to 3-1 on a goal by Klingberg who took a pass from Tyler Seguin and picked a corner from the slot at the 9:26 mark.

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

The Stars pushed the lead to 4-1 at 17:28 of the second when Jamie Benn and Alexander Radulov set up Roope Hintz on the rush.

Video: STL@DAL, Gm4: Benn dishes to Hintz on rush for goal

St. Louis put on some pressure in the third, outshot the Stars 12-5, and cut the lead to 4-2 on a Robert Thomas goal with 6:16 remaining. But that was as close as they got.

"It was a big win," said Bishop. "We'll enjoy it for a minute and then obviously get ready for the next one."

Video: Bishop discusses physical Game 4 win over Blues

 

2. Lineup changes pay dividends for Dallas

Stars coach Jim Montgomery made some lineup changes heading into Wednesday's game, and they paid off.

He shifted things around with his top six forwards, splitting up the top line of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Alexander Radulov. Seguin centered Jason Dickinson and Mats Zuccarello, and Roope Hintz centered Benn and Radulov.

Those two lines accounted for three goals during 5-on-5 play, equaling the number of 5-on-5 goals the Stars had scored in the first three games of the series. The Seguin line accounted for two of them and the Hintz line one.

"I think you get some sparks from different line combinations," said Benn. "We've talked about that throughout the year. You're going to play with a lot of different guys at certain times. It worked out tonight."

All six top forwards recorded points in the game. Dickinson and Hintz both scored goals. Seguin, Radulov, and Zuccarello all had two assists, and Benn had one assist.

Montgomery also brought Tyler Pitlick into the lineup, replacing Mattias Janmark on the fourth line. Pitlick played 5:48, had four hits and one blocked shot.

"We wanted more speed driving wide on their d-men," Montgomery said. "That's part of his game and he did it a lot tonight."

Also, Joel Hanley came in on defense, playing on the third pair with Ben Lovejoy. It was the NHL playoff debut for the 27-year-old Hanley, who played 12:56.

Video: Hanley earns celebratory cowboy hat after Stars' win

"I thought he was excellent," said Montgomery. "He separated people from pucks, his quickness got back the pucks and made really good breakouts. I thought he was very poised at the offensive blue line as well, didn't force anything. I thought he managed the game really well and he helped us."

Video: Montgomery on Stars' 'desperation' in Game 4 triumph

 

3. Emotions run high late in second period

The game got chippy late in the second with the goaltenders involved. Blues forward David Perron slashed Stars goaltender Ben Bishop in the back behind the Dallas net and Bishop fell to the ice. There was no call.

"He just slashed me in the back," Bishop said. "I don't have padding on my back."

Tweet from @hockeyfights: David Perron 🏒 ������������������ Ben Bishop#HfHits pic.twitter.com/hpVzPPLMmQ

Perron on what happened: "I was reaching, trying to prevent him from playing (the puck). I don't know, he's 6-6, so he's a big guy."

Then, at the end of the period, Stars captain Jamie Benn poked Binnington with his stick and Binnington went after Benn.

Tweet from @MDeFranks: This is the Benn-Binnington incident. pic.twitter.com/McTqBQGNzY

"There's nothing really to comment about," said Benn. "Just a bunch of grown men being donkeys out there."

Blues coach Craig Berube on Binnington going after Benn: "Well, [Binnington] is competitive. I don't know what Jamie Benn is doing skating down there and getting in Binnington's face. He is just reacting a little bit to it. He is a competitor."

Then, as Binnington headed off the ice, he slashed Bishop as the two crossed paths near the benches.

Tweet from @dmn_stars: Binnington also gave a "How do you do?" to Ben Bishop on his way out... #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/HEVDkk3tg6

"He just slashed my stick," Bishop said.

Binnington: "I was just skating off, and emotions were high. I came back in [the locker room] and regrouped. Like I said, it's playoff hockey, it's exciting, and the fans are into it. So, it was an exciting game, and we are looking forward to the next game."

When all was said and done, Binnington was assessed roughing and slashing minors, and Benn picked up and unsportsmanlike minor.

"It probably should stay playing hard between the whistles but stuff like that happens," Benn said. "It's the playoffs. A lot goes on out there. You're going to get that stuff once in a while."

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

 

4. Blues suffer first road defeat of playoffs

Wednesday's loss was the first in five road playoff games for the Blues in this year's playoffs. The Blues looked at Wednesday's loss as they simply got outplayed by a Stars team that was more desperate.

"It's not that they got to their game; they were desperate, and we didn't match that desperation in the first two periods," said Blues coach Craig Berube. "We did in the third, and we played a good period."

"They came out with more urgency than we did," said Blues center Ryan O'Reilly. "Sure, obviously it was good getting the first goal, but we didn't respond well. They played better than us. If you look at the whole game, we had some good things at times, but our consistency wasn't there."

Video: Seguin breaks down his effort in Game 4 with Razor

 

5. Laying the boom

The Stars had 30 hits in the game. Radek Faksa and Tyler Pitlick were tops with four hits each. ... The Stars outshot the Blues 31-29. ... The Blues had a 63-50 advantage in shot attempts. ... High-danger chances were 15-7, Dallas. ... Jason Dickinson led the Stars with five shots on goal and seven shot attempts. ... Dickinson, Andrew Cogliano, and Tyler Seguin co-led Dallas with three high-danger chances each. ... The Stars were 1-for-2 on the power play and 2-for-3 on the penalty kill. ... The Stars won 35 of 59 faceoffs (59 percent). Seguin won 13 of 19 faceoffs (68 percent). Roope Hintz won 9 of 15 (60 percent). ... Esa Lindell led the Stars with 27:13 of ice time. ... Lindell also led the Stars with four blocked shots.

Here is the lineup the Stars used to start Wednesday's game.

Jason Dickinson - Tyler Seguin - Mats Zuccarello
Jamie Benn - Roope Hintz - Alexander Radulov
Andrew Cogliano - Radek Faksa - Blake Comeau
Jason Spezza - Justin Dowling - Tyler Pitlick

Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Miro Heiskanen - Roman Polak
Joel Hanley - Ben Lovejoy

Ben Bishop
Anton Khudobin

Scratched: Mattias Janmark, Valeri Nichushkin, Brett Ritchie, Taylor Fedun, Julius Honka, Landon Bow, Dillon Heatherington, Gavin Bayreuther, Denis Gurianov, Joel L'Esperance, Nick Caamano, Adam Mascherin

Injured: Jamie Oleksiak (lower body)

Injured Reserve: Martin Hanzal (back), Stephen Johns (post-traumatic headaches), Marc Methot (knee surgery)

For complete postseason coverage, visit Stars Playoff Central.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.

Mark Stepneski has covered the Stars for DallasStars.com since 2012. Follow him on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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