The Dallas Stars rolled out close to what should be their NHL lineup Tuesday night against St. Louis, but coach Lindy Ruff didn’t get the effort he was looking for as the Stars fell to the Blues, 4-1, at American Airlines Center.
“There is disappointment,” Ruff said. “We didn’t compete hard enough. I thought some guys did. I was looking for this to be a good compete game for us, and it was for about 30 minutes.”
The game turned late in the second period when Blues defenseman Joel Edmundson flattened Patrick Sharp along the boards in the neutral zone. As the Stars went to Sharp’s defense – including both defensemen on the ice – Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko scored on a breakaway to give the Blues a 2-1 lead.
“It looks like we are going to go over and fight somebody, but we don’t do anything. The game turned from that point,” Ruff said.
A little more than a minute later, Scottie Upshall scored off the rush, and the Blues had a 3-1 lead heading into the third period, where they added another goal.
Mattias Janmark scored the lone goal for the Stars. Antti Niemi got the start in goal and stopped 24 of 28 shots.
The Stars are 1-4-0 this preseason.
Benn, Hemsky make preseason debuts
Stars captain Jamie Benn and forward Ales Hemsky both made their preseason debut in Tuesday night’s game. Both players had been held out of the first four preseason games as they continued to get up to speed after offseason hip surgery.
Benn played 17:44 and had two shots on goal. Hemsky played 16:01 and registered one assist.
“I thought Hemmer skated well,” Ruff said. “Jamie tried to be physical and skated well at times. He had the point blank scoring chance in the first. Overall, I thought it was between okay and good. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”
“My body felt pretty good but my game was just okay for now,” Benn said. “It was the first game in five or six months, so I need to get some timing back. It was a little quicker than the past skates that I’ve had, but that will come with the more I play.”
First period: There was no scoring. Both Stars goaltender Antti Niemi and Blues goaltender Brian Elliott were sharp in making nine saves apiece. Niemi stopped Blues captain David Backes’ point blank chance 31 seconds into the game. Elliott stopped Stars captain Jamie Benn on an odd-man rush at the 14:49 mark.
Second period: The Stars opened the scoring at the 3:46 mark when Jason Spezza made a slick play to set up Mattias Janmark, who scored from close range to give Dallas a 1-0 lead. Dmitrij Jaskin tied the game at the 9:38 mark, putting home the rebound of a Colton Parayko shot. After Blues defenseman Joel Edmundson nailed Patrick Sharp along the boards in the neutral zone, Stars players came to his defense and Vladimir Tarasenko got behind the Dallas defense and scored on a breakaway to put St. Louis up 2-1 at the 15:30 mark. Scottie Upshall scored off the rush from the left circle 1:05 later to extend the St. Louis lead to 3-1. Shots were 10-10 in the second.
Third period: The Blues made it a 4-1 game at 1:55 of the third when Troy Brouwer scored off the rebound of a Robbi Fabbri shot. The Blues outshot the Stars 9-7 in the third period.
Stars center Jason Spezza on the game: “A little bit of rust. It’s the first time we’ve all been together. I think it is to be expected, it is the preseason. It was a pretty good game; we lost our focus there on the one with guys trying to stand up for a teammate. They get a quick goal and the game gets away from us.”
Stars captain Jamie Benn on the game: “I thought the first (period) was kind of boring, a little bit of feeling out the game. I think we could have come out a little harder. We had a good start to the second, but the last ten minutes or so we kind of went downhill. Everyone was just looking at the [Edmundson hit on Sharp] there and then Tarasenko has a breakaway. It was plays like that we can clean up, we are definitely going to have to focus on playing a full sixty (minutes).”
Stars coach Lindy Ruff on the power play, which went 0-5: “Your power play has no success unless you get pucks back. We never got any back. They won the puck battles. We threw some pucks away. I thought our power play played pond hockey. That was a frustrating part for me.”
Benn on the power play: “We didn’t really do anything. We could barely set up, probably didn’t get one shot out there. That’s on us five (players), as a group there we have to be better. We have got to make a difference in a game, and we didn’t tonight.”
Spezza on the power play: “I think it showed rust, but I think there are less moving parts than last year, so I think it's to be expected that we get a little momentum quicker. This morning was the first time we've practiced it. A goal-scoring power play hasn't been the focus of our training camp. It's been a lot more system stuff and work drills more than anything, so I think you'll see as it goes on here. We got a week before games. Once the preseason's over, we'll probably spend a lot of time on special teams. It's not magic. You don't just throw yourself out there and expect it to work. You need to work on it.”
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock on the game: “(Goaltender Brian Elliott) stood tall and was very good. I thought some of our defenseman had real good games. I thought the three kids (Petteri Lindbohm, Colton Parayko and Joel Edmundson) got better and better as the game went on. We were opportunistic on the offensive chances we got and the physical play we got off Edmundson. We dialed up in a six minute stretch there in the second period. We got right into the game and played well.”
*The Blues outshot the Stars 28-26.
*Mattias Janmark and Jason Demers led the Stars with three shots on goal each.
*The Stars were 0-5 on the power play and 3-3 on the penalty kill.
*The Stars won 29 of 65 faceoffs (45 percent).
*Radek Faksa won 7 of 14 (50 percent). Jason Spezza won 7 of 15 (47 percent). Tyler Seguin won 5 of 11 (45 percent). Cody Eakin won 8 of 19 (42 percent).
*Alex Goligoski led the Stars with 23:18 of ice time. John Klingberg was next with 21:50.
The Stars will work out off the ice Wednesday and then play their sixth preseason game at Tampa Bay on Thursday. They close out preseason play Saturday at Chicago.
Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Patrick Sharp
Mattias Janmark – Jason Spezza – Ales Hemsky
Antoine Roussel – Cody Eakin – Patrick Eaves
Remi Elie – Radek Faksa – Colton Sceviour
Alex Goligoski – John Klingberg
Johnny Oduya – Jason Demers
Jyrki Jokipakka – Jordie Benn
This story was not subject to the 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.