Paul Stastny (via NHL.com)
Paul Stastny got credit for the St. Louis Blues’ Game 7-winning goal Wednesday night for putting home a shot that had no business beating Dallas Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen. Making matters worse, Stastny’s tally came 44 seconds after the Stars successfully challenged a goal against.
The difference between the Blues and Stars in Game 7? It was goaltending. St. Louis netminder Brian Elliott was outstanding and the Stars’ duo of Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi left much to be desired.
On 19 shots, the pair of Stars netminders team up to turn aside only 13, as the Blues walked to a decisive 6-1 Game 7 victory. And on a night both goaltenders were subpar, of course it was the worst goal either allowed that ended up going down in the record books as the game-winning goal.
Late in the first period, Paul Stastny found himself at the side of the Stars’ net with no one covering him. Stastny took a short pass from Troy Brouwer, and the Blues center simply turned and fired the puck on goal, where Lehtonen was up against the post and seemingly sealing off any holes. And it was only seemingly, because Stastny’s shot somehow got through Lehtonen to put the Blues up 2-0 late in the opening period:
As if the goal wasn’t a soft enough one to allow, it’s made worse by the fact that it came less than a minute after Lehtonen was let off the hook by a coach’s challenge. Only 44 seconds after the goal by Vladimir Tarasenko was wiped off the board — also one that possibly shouldn’t have eluded Lehtonen, though it did come on a bizarre deflection — Stastny lit the lamp. It’s made worse yet by the fact Lehtonen gave up another goal with four seconds remaining in the period, and the Stars headed to the dressing room down 3-0 after one.
Needless to say, that was the end of Lehtonen’s night. Stastny’s goal would stand as the winner, but subsequent markers by Patrik Berglund, David Backes, Troy Brouwer and Tarasenko would make the score incredibly lopsided.