The Dallas Stars opened the preseason with a victory, rallying to defeat the St. Louis Blues, 4-3, at American Airlines Center Monday night.
Center Jason Dickinson’s goal at 8:57 of the third period proved to be the game-winner for the Stars, who scored three unanswered goals to erase a 2-1 third period deficit.
Dickinson, Dallas’ first-round pick (29th overall) in the 2013 NHL Draft, was playing in his first NHL preseason game. He shook off some early nerves to play a strong third period and scored what turned out to be the big goal of the night.
“In the whole third period my game was finally there,” Dickinson said. “I felt my way through the first, eased my way into the second and I found my legs and I just skated a lot more in the third.”
“Dickinson started a little tentative, maybe a little bit nervous, but as the game went on his pace picked up,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “Did a real nice job, scored a nice goal.”
Vernon Fiddler, Curtis McKenzie and Jordie Benn also scored for Dallas. Kari Lehtonen played the first half of the game in goal, stopping 11 of 12 shots. Anders Lindback played the second half, stopping 19 of 21.
“I thought both goalies were good,” said Ruff. “Anders did a real nice job. He made five or six real good saves, some tight stuff on redirections where he was big. It was good to see the way he played.”
“There’s always a little rust in the first couple exhibition games, but overall I felt pretty good,” said Lindback. “I saw the puck pretty well, so I am going to try to build off of this.”
The Stars scored the only goal of the first period. After Blues forward Ty Rattie went to the blue line to pick up his stick, Stars defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka took advantage, skating to the high slot and then setting up Fiddler, who scored from close range to put the Stars up 1-0 at 7:16 of the first period.
The Blues drew even at 5:06 of the second period with a power play goal. Ryan Whitney scored from the point with Steve Ott setting a screen in front of Lehtonen.
St. Louis took a 2-1 lead with 2:18 left in the second period when Patrik Nemeth lost the puck at center ice, and Patrik Berglund picked it up and beat Lindback on a breakaway.
The Stars tied it 1:14 into the third when Travis Morin set up McKenzie on the rush, and McKenzie roofed a shot from the top of the left circle.
Less than two minutes later, McKenzie dropped the gloves with Ott, who picked up an extra minor. The Stars cashed in on the power play when Jason Spezza sent a cross-ice pass to Jordie Benn, who scored from the bottom of the right circle to put the Stars up 3-2 at 4:19 of the third period.
“I knew Spezza had it, and I just put my stick in one position because I knew if he saw me he’d get it to me,” Benn said. “I just got it and shot it in.”
The Stars made it 4-2 when Dickinson finished off a give-and-go with Erik Cole, tipping the puck past Blues goaltender Niklas Lundstrom at the 8:57 mark of the third.
“It was a great move by Cole to shake that defender,” said Dickinson. “I got a great pass back from him and I had no room so I figured I might as well chip it over the goalie. Sure enough it worked.”
St. Louis’ Ian Cole scored to make it a 4-3 game with 1:29 remaining, but Lindback came up with a big stop on Ott with just under a minute to go to keep the Stars on top.
*The Blues outshot the Stars 33-25.
*Curtis McKenzie led the Stars with four shots on goal.
*The Stars won 27 of 62 faceoffs (44 percent).
*Jason Spezza won 12 of 22 faceoffs (55 percent). Vernon Fiddler won 7 of 13 (54 percent). Travis Morin won 5 of 13 (38 percent). Jason Dickinson won 2 of 11 (18 percent).
*Kevin Connauton led the Stars with 21:28 of ice time.
*Remi Elie led the Stars with five hits.
*Jamie Oleksiak led the Stars with four blocked shots.
*Oleksiak and McKenzie both picked up fighting majors.
*Monday’s announced attendance was 14,567.
*The Stars will be off Tuesday.
*The Stars play at Florida on Wednesday.
Antoine Roussel – Jason Spezza – Ales Hemsky
Curtis McKenzie – Travis Morin – Scott Glennie
Brendan Ranford – Vernon Fiddler – Ryan Garbutt
Remi Elie – Jason Dickinson – Erik Cole
Jordie Benn – Kevin Connauton
Patrik Nemeth – Julius Honka
Jyrki Jokipakka – Jamie Oleksiak
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.