With the Stars down 3-0 to Columbus in the third period, coach Lindy Ruff was looking for a spark and he decided to gamble to create one.
With the Stars on a power play seven minutes into the third, Ruff pulled goaltender Tim Thomas for an extra attacker to make it a six-on-four advantage. It worked. The Stars scored to cut the lead to 3-1 and it gave them life in the game.
"I just felt it was time to create some energy, create some desperation,” Ruff said. “I thought we got the energy. We got a couple great looks afterwards and we put a little into them, and made believers out of the players that last 10 minutes.”
Ruff said the move was nothing new. He did something similar earlier in his coaching career.
“I pulled a goalie one time in Atlanta with 9-something,” he said. “I pulled it at even strength and we didn't score, but we scored the next shift and we pulled him late in the game and ended up tying it, and won it in overtime.”
The Stars players were onboard with the move.
“I think that was a really good call. That was a really good move. It was thinking outside the box,” Thomas said. “At that time, what other chance did we have to get back in the game? Being down 3-1 with ten minutes left, it certainly gave us a chance.”
Said Stars captain Jamie Benn: “We’re playing to win these games and we needed to score three goals to at least get a point. Why not go for it? We scored one, but we couldn’t get a couple more.”
Quotable: Lindy Ruff on the play off Tim Thomas
"Just the third goal was one of those you don't want to see go in. After that, I don't think he faced a lot. He made a couple of good saves for us in the second period, but Tim would want that one back. That's just one that hurts you. I thought he made a couple in the second that kept the game where I thought we were still within reach.
"It's not easy, though. It's not easy to adjust from sitting that long and going in and playing. [Thomas' last game was April 3, his only other game since March 20.] That's a hard role for anybody. It's a role that he's never had, and it would have been to see at least that third one get stopped, but it didn't. And we made enough mistakes around him early on that I'd like to see cleaned up."
*The Stars had a four-game home winning streak and an eight-game home points streak snapped with Wednesday’s loss.
*The Stars finished 13-17-2 vs. the Eastern Conference this season.
*The Stars outshot the Blue Jackets 34-25. Tyler Seguin led Dallas with nine shots on goal.
*The Stars were 1-4 on the power play and 2-4 on the penalty kill.
*The Stars won 30 of 56 faceoffs (54 percent) in the game. Vernon Fiddler won 9 of 15. Jamie Benn won 9 of 17. Dustin Jeffrey won 5 of 8. Cody Eakin won 4 of 10.
*Stars captain Jamie Benn ran his points streak to four games with an assist. He has six points (four goals, two assists) during the streak.
Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Valeri Nichushkin
Antoine Roussel – Cody Eakin – Ryan Garbutt
Shawn Horcoff – Vernon Fiddler – Colton Sceviour
Erik Cole – Dustin Jeffrey – Alex Chiasson
Alex Goligoski –Trevor Daley
Jordie Benn – Brenden Dillon
Patrik Nemeth – Sergei Gonchar
Scratched: Kevin Connauton, Aaron Rome
Injured: Ray Whitney (lower body), Rich Peverley (irregular heartbeat)
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.