It's Déjà vu all over again for the Dallas Stars as they lost Game Three of their Second Round NHL Playoff Series with the St Louis Blues on Wednesday night in front of another sold out crowd at American Airlines Center. Just as they'd done in Round One against the Nashville Predators the Stars dropped the first game on home ice. Once again, it was a star-studded affair as numerous sports celebs were in the house including Dirk Nowitzki, Ezekiel Elliott, Daryl "The Moose" Johnston, Ryan Palmer, Joey Gallo, Hunter Pence, Shelby Miller, and John Isner.
Zeke even took time to take a selfie with a young fan who was accidentally hit by a puck.
But all those feel-good vibes in the arena couldn't overcome the tension on the ice. It didn't help that St Louis scored less than two minutes into the game on a sweet deflection by Jaden Schwartz off a hard point shot from Colton Parayko
It would foreshadow things to come, as the Stars were forced to play from behind and chase both the game and the Blues all night. It took the Stars nearly the entire first period to find the equalizer, but after Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester took a penalty for tripping, Jason Spezza and Alexander Radulov worked their magic to tie the game .
In the second period St Louis continued their physical play, and their offensive zone cycling. They were also winning the net-front battles as evidenced by their second goal courtesy Tyler Bozak, who was johnny-on-the-spot and knocked home a puck that creeped through Ben Bishop.
By the third period it seemed as if the Stars were going to need a spark, something, ANYTHING to get them going, and that's just what they got from Andrew Cogliano. After Stars defenseman Roman Polak was called for high sticking, Cogs scored a shorty, and the building erupted!
Then just as the St Louis power play expired, with just over 5 minutes to play, Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo blasted a one-timer past Bishop.
Again, the Stars were chasing. Could they find the equalizer and send this game to overtime? Well, the answer to half of those questions is YES. Stars' rookie phenom, defenseman Miro Heiskanen found Tyler Seguin in the slot for a backdoor slam dunk. TIE GAME!
But on this particular night it was apparent the Stars (and their fans) were not allowed to have nice things. Gotta give St Louis credit. All night they were the more physical team, and with 1:38 left in the third period Blues winger Pat Maroon found a clear path right in front of the net to deposit what would eventually be the game-winner over fellow St Louis native (and golfing buddy) Ben Bishop
Just as the Stars did against the Nashville Predators in Round One, they're going to have to re-rack and find a way to win Game 4 Wednesday on home ice and tie the Series at 2, making it a best 2 out of 3. The Stars beat Nashville in Games 4, 5 AND 6 to win that Series. I suspect this time around it may not be as simple. The Stars and Blues are so evenly matched this Series seems destined to go 7 games. Win or lose, enjoy the ride Stars fans, it's better than the alternative.