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Stars fall to Blues, 4-1, in Game 5

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars will be playing for their playoff lives Monday in St. Louis after falling to the Blues, 4-1, Saturday afternoon at American Airlines Center. The Stars now trail 3-2 in the series and Game 6 is a must-win.

“We’ve bounced back all season long from losses,” said Stars forward Patrick Sharp. “We’ve played well on the road. We know what we are up against with a tough St. Louis team, but we’re confident.”

“We have one last chance,” said Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen. “We need to go there, get one, and win the other one at home. I’m confident we can do that.”

Saturday’s game was closer than the score. The Stars had their chances but failed to execute on some and were stopped by Blues goaltender Brian Elliott on others.

“I think you can look at the outcome of the game, we got to cash in,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “We hit some posts, we hit a crossbar, we missed a couple point blank. When you get chances to execute and turn the game, but it’s your chance to put the game in your favor and we didn’t. They got a bounce on their first goal. That’s just puck luck, sometimes you get it, sometimes you don’t. We put ourselves in position five or six times to make a difference in the game, and we didn’t put them in the back of the net.”

The Stars had two power play opportunities in the third period with a chance to cut into a 3-1 St. Louis lead, but couldn’t cash in and are 1-16 with the man-advantage in the series.

“We got to find a way to make a difference in a hockey game,” Stars captain Jamie Benn said. “I think you saw it in the last game in St. Louis and I think we only had two tonight, but that’s two opportunities that we can have to make a difference in this game.”

Alex Goligoski scored the lone goal for the Stars. Lehtonen stopped 18 of 21 shots and fell to 5-2 in the playoffs.


       Goligoski on today's loss
       Ruff on the team's performance
       Fiddler: "We had our opportunities"
       A ride along with Razor

Elliott made 27 saves for the Blues, who got one goal and one assist from both Robby Fabbri and Paul Stastny. Dmitrij Jaskin, who played his first game of the playoffs, scored the game-winning goal.

“I've been waiting for this moment for three, four weeks. It's great. I found out this morning, and I was ready,” Jaskin said. “I can't wait [for Monday’s game]. The Scottrade Center will be bumping and hopefully we're going to close it out in a couple days.”

The Blues took a 1-0 lead at the 6:00 mark of the first when a Fabbri shot from the left circle deflected off the skate of Stars forward Brett Ritchie and into the net. The Stars answered just under five minutes later. Vernon Fiddler set up Goligoski, who scored from the slot to make it 1-1 at the 10:58 mark.

The Blues regained the lead midway through the second. The St. Louis fourth line got some good pressure in the Dallas zone, and Jaskin scored on the rebound of his own shot to give St. Louis a 2-1 lead at 10:34 of the second period.

“We had the puck for probably 30 seconds,” Jaskin said. “A couple bounces, a good save, I was trying to go higher, as high as I can, and ended up in there.”

The Blues made it a 3-1 game late in the second. After Stars defenseman Kris Russell blocked a close-range shot by Stastny, the puck ended up on the stick of Troy Brouwer, who fanned on the shot from the side of the crease but got enough of it to put it over the goal line with 2:18 left in the period.

“Well … he’s on the beach, and there’s the ocean. It’s just got to go in. You just can’t miss it from that much sand,” said Blues coach Ken Hitchcock.

Elliott came up huge early in the third, stopping Cody Eakin’s point-blank bid at the 3:52 mark to keep it a 3-1 game.

“Elliott was pretty good tonight. He made some huge saves in there,” said Benn. “I think we had our chances, and we didn’t capitalize. They got some good bounces in the second, and they took advantage. That makes a difference.”

The Stars had several more chances and then two opportunities on the power play, but couldn’t cut into the St. Louis lead.

The Stars pulled Lehtonen for the extra attacker with just over four minutes left, and Stastny sealed the win with an empty-net goal with 1:40 remaining.

Now, it is on to St. Louis for a must-win Game 6.

“We’ve been a real good team when we’ve been backed into a corner,” Ruff said. “We’ll just focus on the next game and know that we won the last game in that building and prepare to go up and win a game.”

*The Stars are 3-3 at home in the playoffs.

*The Blues are 4-2 on the road.

*The Stars outshot the Blues 28-22 and had a 65-46 advantage in shot attempts.

*Valeri Nichushkin and Ales Hemsky co-led the Stars with 5 shots. Hemsky was tops with 9 shot attempts.

*The Stars were 0-2 on the power play and 1-1 on the penalty kill.

*The Stars won 30 of 50 faceoffs (60 percent).

*Radek Faksa won 10 of 12 faceoffs (83 percent). Cody Eakin won 10 of 14 (71 percent). Vernon Fiddler won 5 of 10.

*Stephen Johns had a game-high 8 hits.

*John Klingberg led the Stars with 24:14 of ice time.

*Alex Pietrangelo led the Blues with 28:58 of ice time.

Game 6 is Monday in St. Louis. Game time is 7 p.m. and the game will be televised on NBCSN.

Game 1 – Apr. 29: Stars 2, Blues 1

Game 2 – May 1: Blues 4, Stars 3 (OT)

Game 3 – May 3: Blues 6, Stars 1

Game 4 – May 5: Stars 3, Blues (OT)

Game 5 – May 7: St. Louis at Dallas, Noon

Game 6 – May 9: Dallas at St. Louis, 7 p.m.

*Game 7 – May 11: St. Louis at Dallas, 7 p.m.

*If necessary

Jamie BennCody EakinPatrick Sharp

Valeri NichushkinJason SpezzaMattias Janmark

Antoine RousselRadek FaksaAles Hemsky

Travis MoenVernon FiddlerBrett Ritchie

Alex Goligoski
John Klingberg

Johnny OduyaStephen Johns

Kris RussellJason Demers

Kari Lehtonen

Antti Niemi

Tyler Seguin (lower body), Patrick Eaves (leg)

Scratched: Jordie Benn, Patrik Nemeth, Jamie Oleksiak, Colton Sceviour, Curtis McKenzie, Jack Campbell, Jason Dickinson, Julius Honka, Brendan Ranford, Justin Dowling

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 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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