Vladimir Tarasenko (Scott Rovak/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Dallas Stars should have been called for too many men after a disastrous line change, but the play wasn’t blown dead, leading a breakaway goal for St. Louis Blues sniper Vladimir Tarasenko.
There aren’t many teams who look favorably upon picking up a too many men penalty. If there was ever a team that wished they had been whistled for throwing an extra skater over the boards, though, it would have been the Dallas Stars in the first period of Thursday’s Game 4 against the St. Louis Blues.
Midway through the opening frame of Thursday’s game, the Stars made a disastrous line change that resulted in six Dallas skaters on the ice, but none of the four officials on ice caught the extra player. Play went on for several seconds, and what looked for a moment like a fortunate break for the Stars likely turned into coach Lindy Ruff likely wishing Dallas had been instead working to kill off a bad penalty.
With the Stars focused on the puck, Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko snuck behind all six opponents for a clear cut breakaway, picked his spot and rifled the puck through Dallas goaltender Kari Lehtonen’s five-hole:
If there’s one player the Stars couldn’t afford to have on that breakaway, it was Tarasenko. The Russian sniper scored 40 goals during the regular season and came into Game 4 with five goals and nine points in 10 games. Tarasenko would later add an assist on Paul Stastny’s second period power play goal, making him a point per game player through 11 post-season games.
Much has been made of Tarasenko’s ice time this post-season, but he’s making the most of his opportunities. Tarasenko has skated below his season average ice time in Games 3 and 4 of the second-round series, but he’s put up two goals and five points in his past two games. Following Game 4, Tarasenko was tied for second in playoff goal scoring.