How the Dallas Stars gambled on Mattias Janmark – and won

Mattias Janmark (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Before the season began, Mattias Janmark had a pretty heavy choice ahead of him. According to his contract, he could head back to Sweden if the Dallas Stars couldn’t find a roster spot for him. Sure, Janmark was familiar with AHL Texas from a brief visit the previous season, but the ball was in his court and it was either Frolunda or The Show.

Luckily for Dallas, Janmark earned his way into The Show.

Read more

Stars’ Lehtonen solid, Eakin scores overtime-winner as Dallas evens series

Cody Eakin is swarmed by teammates after scoring in overtime (Jeff Curry/NHLI via Getty Images)

With the Dallas Stars leading 2-1 in the second period, center Cody Eakin took a slashing penalty against Blues winger Jaden Schwartz. It was from his seat in the penalty box Eakin watched as St. Louis’ Paul Stastny found the back of the net to tie the contest, and Dallas’ slim lead in an ever-important Game 4 slipped away.

Eakin wasn’t about to let his penalty which led to the game-tying goal be his memory of Game 4, though. After the teams battled back and forth in a scoreless third period, Eakin made his lasting mark on the contest in overtime.

Skating down the left wing, Eakin took a pass from Patrick Sharp less than three minutes into the extra frame. Blues defenseman Colton Parayko had given Eakin just enough room to operate that he could lift his head, pick his corner and let go a beautiful shot that found the tiny hole St. Louis goaltender Brian Elliott left open over his right shoulder: Read more

Dominant Blues expose all of Stars’ flaws in Game 3 rout

Ian Denomme
Antti Niemi. (Getty Images)

It was nice the Dallas Stars won Game 1 of their second-round series against the St. Louis Blues. They might not win another one.

The Blues took a 2-1 series lead on Tuesday thanks to a dominant 6-1 victory over the Stars. The loss exposed all of the flaws and questions about the Stars that many had before the playoffs even started.

Let’s start with the goaltending. It’s a mess.

Read more

Stars still facing tough goaltending questions with no starter named for Game 3

Jared Clinton
Kari Lehtonen (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Barring an unexpectedly strong run of play by either Kari Lehtonen or Antti Niemi, it was a virtual certainty that the Dallas Stars would at the very least use both goaltenders at some point during the playoffs. In Round One, it took three games for Lehtonen to relinquish the starting duties to Niemi, but Round Two might see Niemi slide into the starting job after only two games.

In Game 2 of the second-round series between the Stars and St. Louis Blues, Lehtonen was chased from the net after 20 minutes of action. The Blues put five shots on Lehtonen in the first frame. Three of them found the back of the net. First it was Patrik Berglund hammering a slapshot past Lehtonen’s glove. Then Joel Edmunson snuck in from the blueline to put the Blues ahead. Finally, Troy Brouwer scored a power play goal and Lehtonen’s outing was over less than two minutes later.

“It really wasn’t [Lehtonen’s] night,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said post-game. “I felt that he was off and just decided to go with Antti (in the second period).”

But Ruff’s goaltending switch after one frame begs the question: which netminder gets the call in Game 3 with the Stars on the road and facing the possibility of trailing in a series for the first time this post-season? Read more

Watch Blues’ Backes score his second overtime winner of the playoffs

Jared Clinton
David Backes (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

David Backes isn’t relied upon in St. Louis to score at the same rate as, say, Vladimir Tarasenko, but this post-season the Blues captain has come up with of the biggest goals of the year for his team.

First, it was his Game 1 overtime winner against the Chicago Blackhawks, a goal which deflected in off the skate of defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk and through the legs of netminder Corey Crawford. While it may have been a lucky break and a friendly bounce for the Blues, it was no less important and no less fitting in a series that St. Louis desperately needed after three straight first-round exits.

But the Blues aren’t ready to leave after only one round, and it was Backes again who scored a huge goal that could extend St. Louis’ season. After the Blues blew a 3-1 lead in the third period, St. Louis and Dallas headed to the first overtime of their first-round series. It was in the extra frame that Stars winger Antoine Roussel took an ill-advised interference minor that set the table for Backes to end the game by slipping a power play goal by Antti Niemi: Read more

Roussel’s penalties prove costly as Stars drop Game 2 to Blues

Antoine-Roussel-DAL

There’s an old adage in hockey that states stupid penalties are harder to kill off. Antoine Roussel and the Dallas Stars learned that the hard way on Sunday.

The St. Louis Blues scored twice in the game on separate unwise Roussel penalties, including when captain David Backes found the back of the net 10:58 into overtime. The 4-3 loss in Game 2 allowed the Blues to even the Western Conference semifinal series before it shifted to St. Louis.

Read more

Stars take Game 1 over Blues on strength of Faksa factor

DALLAS, TX - APRIL 29:  Radek Faksa #12 of the Dallas Stars celebrates after scoring the game winning goal against Brian Elliott #1 of the St. Louis Blues in the third period in Game One of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at American Airlines Center on April 29, 2016 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

It appears as though role player Radek Faksa is developing a knack for scoring at crucial times during these playoffs.

The Dallas Stars rookie netted his second game-winning goal in two weeks, helping his team beat the St. Louis Blues 2-1 in the opening game of their Western Conference semifinal matchup on Friday.

Faksa’s goal was his second point of the contest and was scored with 4:44 remaining in the third period. It also swung the pendulum back in the Stars’ favor after they allowed the tying marker to Blues’ Kevin Shattenkirk 3:44 earlier.

Read more