The Texas Stars registered a playoff-low 23 shots on goal Sunday night, but they made the most of their opportunities. The Stars scored six goals on their first 20 shots, including three goals on four shots in the second period, in defeating the St. John’s IceCaps, 6-3, at Cedar Park Center to take a 1-0 lead in the Calder Cup Finals.
“Yeah, you don’t score three on four,” said Texas Stars coach Willie Desjardins. “He (St. John’s’ Michael Hutchinson) is a real good goaltender. We had some real good chances.”
The Stars got a big game from right wing Scott Glennie, who had two goals, one assist and a fight for the Gordie Howe Hat Trick. Glennie, Dallas first round pick (eighth overall) in the 2009 NHL Draft has struggled with injuries during his career, but he is healthy now and has 10 points (6 goals, 4 assists) in 16 playoff games.
“I’ve been plagued with injuries the past couple years and to be playing with the guys I am playing with now and to be given the opportunity I am in now, I’ll take it,” Glennie said. “It was great to get the win tonight and it’s great to be in the Finals.”
“He’s a great skater. He’s got good skill,” Desjardins said of Glennie. “When he’s healthy and he is playing his game, he is a real good player.”
Travis Morin scored two goals and Chris Mueller and Mike Hedden also tallied for the Stars. Dustin Jeffrey picked up three assists. Cristopher Nilstorp made 26 saves.
The Stars, who were outshooting their opponents by an average of 37-26 during the first three rounds of the playoffs, were outshot 29-23 in Sunday’s game, including 24-12 over the final two periods.
“It means they’re a good hockey club and we’re going to have to be better,” said Desjardins. “That second period wasn’t good enough from us. If we play like that we are going to be in some trouble and it’s going to be a long series.”
Game 2 is Monday night at Cedar Park Center.
“To take the first game is huge, but there is a lot we can improve on for the next game,” said Jeffrey.
The Stars dominated play in the first period, outshooting the IceCaps 11-5 and scoring the only goal to take the early lead. After killing off an IceCaps’ power play early in the game, the Stars went on a power play a short time later and scored when Glennie set up Morin, who scored from the right circle to make it 1-0 Texas 3:08 into the contest. It marked the first time since the second round that the Stars had scored the first goal of the game.
“It was good,” said Desjardins. “I think our starts have been OK, we just haven’t scored on them. It was a good start, especially getting on the power play. … We know they are good on the penalty kill. It’s important for our power play to get going, so that first one was big for us.”
The IceCaps outshot the Stars 12-4 in the second, but the Stars scored on three of their four shots to build a 4-1 lead.
“Goaltending wasn’t the issue, execution was,” St. John’s coach Keith McCambridge said. “We played the game too wide open against obviously a very dangerous team offensively. We gave up too many Grade A chances and got ourselves on the wrong side of the game.”
St. John’s tied the game early in the second, coming out with a strong push early, creating a flurry of chances and Will O’Neill beat a sprawling Nilstorp to make it a 1-1 game at the 1:47 mark.
The Stars answered a little more than two minutes later when Mueller scored from the right circle off the rush to make it 2-1 Texas at 3:52 of the second. The Stars added two more goals to extend the lead to three goals. Jeffrey set up Glennie, who scored from the slot off the rush to make it 3-1 at the 12:17 mark. Morin scored shorthanded at the 16:51 mark to make it a 4-1 game.
“The shorthanded goal was big for us because they were getting some momentum,” said Desjardins.
IceCaps forward Kael Mouillierat scored off a rebound early in the third to cut the Stars’ lead to 4-2, but Glennie finished off a nice tic-tac-toe passing sequence off the rush with Mueller and Jeffrey to make it a 5-2 at the 8:27 mark of the third. St. John’s answered less than a minute later when Jordan Hill beat a screened Nilstorp with a shot from the point to make it a 5-3 game at the 9:18 mark. Hedden scored into an empty net late to round out the scoring and make it a 6-3 final.
*Texas forward Scott Glennie and St. John’s forward Adam Lowry picked up fighting majors as time expired in Sunday’s game.
*Glennie led the Stars with 5 shots on goal. Brett Ritchie and Matej Stransky had 4 shots each.
*St. John’s did not register a shot on goal for the first 14 minutes of the game.
*The Stars were 1-2 on the power play and 4-4 on the penalty kill.
*The Stars scored first for just the sixth time in their 17 playoff games. It was the first time they’ve scored first since Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals against Grand Rapids, snapping a stretch of eight straight games in which they surrendered the first goal.
*Texas goaltender Jack Campbell, who had been out since May 16 due to injury, returned to the lineup Sunday and backed up Cristopher Nilstorp.
*Attendance for Sunday’s game was 5,625.
Curtis McKenzie – Travis Morin – Brendan Ranford
Dustin Jeffrey – Chris Mueller – Scott Glennie
Mike Hedden – Justin Dowling – Brett Ritchie
Kevin Henderson – Radek Faksa – Matej Stransky
Patrik Nemeth – Jyrki Jokipakka
Jamie Oleksiak – Cameron Gaunce
Derek Meech – Maxime Fortunus
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.