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Stars Rally for Point, but Fall to Blues in OT

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars overcame a rough start and a 2-0 deficit to force overtime and get one point, but they couldn’t get two, falling 3-2 in overtime to the St. Louis Blues Sunday evening at American Airlines Center.

“It was a well-played game, a hard game,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “It was an important point to come back and get. The game could have went the other way when it was 2-0, and you’ve got to give our guys a lot of credit for battling back. We got a point out of it and we move a point up in the standings. “

The Stars had a goal waved off 25 seconds into the game, and then saw St. Louis score on the power play a couple minutes later to take a 1-0 lead. The Stars dominated play early in the second only to have St. Louis score and extend its lead to 2-0.

“The last two periods we played the way we wanted to play, especially in the second,” said Stars defenseman Aaron Rome. “We wanted to get off to a better start than we did with them playing last night. We felt like we could jump on them early, but that wasn’t the case. We battled back and we got a point out of it. We need those extra points.”

Jamie Benn and Ryan Garbutt scored for the Stars. Kari Lehtonen stopped 20 of 22 shots in goal.

The point gave the Stars points in six straight games (4-0-2) and kept them within two points of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Kevin Shattenkirk scored on the power play with 10.4 seconds left to win the game for St. Louis, which rallied for a 6-5 shootout win over Chicago on Saturday night.

“I think we’re happy with getting four points out of four,” said Blues forward Jaden Schwartz. “Pretty gutsy wins by us, a nice comeback win last night and kind of a character win for us tonight. So it’s definitely nice getting that extra point both nights.”

It was an eventful first minute of the game. The Stars appeared to score 25 seconds into the game, but the goal was waved off because of incidental contact between Garbutt and Blues goaltender Brian Elliot.

“I thought we did our best to try to avoid contact,” said Ruff. “It was a tough call. It’s a call they make a decision on the ice, and it’s made. … It’s a tough break. You just hope they even out by the end of the year. “

Just 32 seconds later, Garbutt took an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty to put St. Louis on the first power play of the game, and the Blues would score on it to take a 1-0 lead. Vladimir Sobotka set up a wide open Jaden Schwartz, who scored from close range 2:41 into the game.

The Stars went on the power play just under four minutes later, but couldn’t cash in. Lehtonen came up big with eight minutes left in the period, stopping Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko on a breakaway to keep it a 1-0 game.

The Stars had another power play chance that began late in the first and carried over into the second period, but couldn’t take advantage. The Stars had a lot of pressure on the Blues early in the second and had the first five shots of the period, but St. Louis scored on its first shot of the second to take a 2-0 lead.

T.J. Oshie stole the puck from Kevin Connauton along the right boards and then beat Lehtonen with a shot from the right circle at the 5:12 mark.

The Stars went on a third power play when Patrik Berglund was called for high sticking Alex Goligoski, and they cashed in to cut St. Louis’ lead to 2-1. Ray Whitney set up Jamie Benn, who scored from the bottom of the right circle at the 8:13 mark.

The Stars went on the power play again less than a minute later with a chance to tie. The Blues killed off the power play, but just 30 seconds later the Stars tied the game when Rome’s shot from the left point was redirected into the net by Garbutt to make it a 2-2 game at the 8:31 mark.

“The lines were a little bit mixed up from the power play,” said Garbutt. “I got on there with [Shawn] Horcoff and [Vernon] Fiddler. I just got open in the slot and got my stick on it.”

Lehtonen came up with a two big saves a couple minutes later, stopping Tarasenko and then making a pad stop on a point blank shot by Magnus Paajarvi.

There was no scoring in the third and the teams headed to overtime, where both teams had chances on the power play. The Stars had a full two minutes of four-on-three time after Benn, had a couple of good chances but missed the net. The Blues went on a power play with 36 seconds left when Connauton was called for tripping, and Shattenkirk scored off a one-timer from the left circle with 10.4 seconds remaining to secure the second point for the Blues.

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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