It wasn't a work of art, but it was a point for the Dallas Stars Monday night in St. Louis. A hard-fought point. The Stars rallied from two goals down to force overtime, before falling to the Blues, 4-3, at Scottrade Center.
Jamie Oleksiak's second goal of the game, which came with Stars goaltender Antti Niemi out of the net for an extra attacker, tied the game with 50 seconds left in regulation for the Stars, who overcame 2-0 and 3-2 deficits in the game.
But St. Louis forward Vladimir Tarasenko took a pass across the low slot from Jori Lehtera and scored into the open side of the net with 1:36 left in the extra period to give St. Louis the extra point and drop the Stars to 1-6 in three-on-three overtime this season.
"It wasn't pretty, but we got a point. That's a positive," Stars captain Jamie Benn said. "I like how we found a way to score late, but overtime is killing us right now."
The Stars struggled to generate much through the first two periods, but Oleksiak's first goal of the game, which was highlight reel worthy, gave the Stars a spark and helped them begin their comeback. So did some big saves from goaltender Antti Niemi, who stopped 27 shots in the game.
Oleksiak scored twice, Benn recorded one goal and two assists, and Julius Honka chipped in two assists for the Stars, who have picked up points in eight of their past ten games (5-2-3) and are now 9-8-6 on the season.
"It was a hard-fought game, and we fought pretty hard to get a point," said Stars coach Lindy Ruff.
St. Louis (13-7-3) won its fifth straight game at home and extended its points streak at home to ten games (8-0-2). For the second straight game, the Blues allowed a late game-tying goal before winning in overtime.
"'There's a real concern about the leads," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "There's a real concern about what we gave up and how we did it. We played terrific and had full control of the hockey game and then we got careless on our checking and our puck management."
The Blues outshot the Stars 9-4 in the first period and scored the only goal. Robby Fabbri finished an odd-man rush to put St. Louis up 1-0 at the 13:36 mark.
The Blues extended the lead to 2-0 with a power-play goal at 4:17 of the second period. Patrik Berglund tipped an Alex Pietrangelo shot on net, the puck ended up under Niemi's pad, and Pietrangelo poked it into the net.
Niemi came up with a big save about 90 seconds later to keep it a 2-0 game, denying Fabbri on a clean breakaway. The Stars had a couple of power plays, but managed just one shot on goal and couldn't cut into the lead.
But the Stars finally did get on the board when Oleksiak scored a highlight reel goal, making a nice play to pull in a pass that was behind him in the neutral zone, slipping around Pietrangelo in the St. Louis zone and beating Blues goaltender Jake Allen with a wrist shot from the left circle. That made it a 2-1 game at the 16:21 mark of the second period.
"It was a heck of a play," Ruff said. "It was a turning point for us. Gave us the energy and gave us the belief we could get back in the game."
Niemi came up with another big save late in the period, stopping Tarasenko at the 18:05 mark to keep the Stars within one goal.
The Stars tied it early in the third with a power-play goal. Honka set up Benn, who rifled a shot past Allen from the right circle at the 1:47 mark. The Blues regained the lead at 13:12 of the third. After Allen made two big saves on Benn, David Perron scored from the slot. But Oleksiak scored with 50 seconds to go, firing a shot from the point that deflected in off Pietrangelo and that got the Stars a point in the game, but they couldn't get the second one.
"It's tough. We definitely want to turn things around in OT," Oleksiak said. "You work so hard to come back in a game like that, and then you give up a goal. I'll take responsibility for that one. I should have tightened up there. But top to bottom we fought hard to get back in that game, and it's nice to get the point."
*The Blue outshot the Stars 31-21 and had a 61-44 edge in shot attempts.
*Scoring chances were 18-8 in favor of St. Louis, according to naturalstattrick.com.
*Jamie Benn led the Stars with 5 shots on goal and 7 shot attempts.
*Benn has recorded 10 points (5 goals, 5 assists) over the past 10 games.
*Jamie Oleksiak has scored 3 goals in the past 4 games.
*The Stars were 1-3 on the power play and 3-4 on the penalty kill.
*The Stars won 32 of 61 faceoffs (52 percent).
*Jason Spezza won 9 of 17 faceoffs (53 percent). Cody Eakin won 5 of 10 (50 percent). Tyler Seguin won 4 of 8 (50 percent). Radek Faksa won 9 of 20 (45 percent). Jamie Benn won 5 of 5 (100 percent).
*John Klingberg led the Stars with 22:56 of ice time. Jamie Oleksiak and Jamie Benn were next with 22:27 each.
The Stars continue their road trip when they play at Detroit on Tuesday. This is the Stars' third back-to-back set of games this season. They are 1-0-1 in second games of back-to-backs this season.
Jamie Benn - Radek Faksa - Brett Ritchie
Antoine Roussel - Tyler Seguin - Patrick Eaves
Devin Shore - Cody Eakin - Patrick Sharp
Lauri Korpikoski - Jason Spezza - Adam Cracknell
Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Jamie Oleksiak - Jordie Benn
Patrik Nemeth - Julius Honka
Scratched: Dan Hamhuis, Stephen Johns, Curtis McKenzie
Injured: Johnny Oduya (lower body), Jiri Hudler (illness), Mattias Janmark (knee), Ales Hemsky (hip)
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.