Just like they wrote it up! The Dallas Stars followed the identical script written during Round One against the Predators, dominating Game 4 on home ice and evening the Series at 2-2. Just as they've done the majority of the post-season, the Stars allowed the first goal, which has not been a path to victory against the Blues. The team to score first has won every game, both in the regular season and the post-season. After dominating play early on, shots were 5-0 in favor of the Stars when Jason Dickinson took a high-sticking penalty, which led to (who else) Vladimir Tarasenko scoring a power play goal.
Thankfully, tonight the Stars were able to flip the script and respond... in a BIG way. Jason Dickinson redeemed himself with a hard fought goal as Mats Zuccarello shot it toward the goal, Tyler Seguin worked it in front of Blues' goalie Jordan Binnington and Dickinson pounced to tie the game 1-1.
Then, with 2:45 left in the first period, Blues' forward Tyler Bozak was called for an interference penalty and with just under a minute left in the period the Stars power play responded. Jason Spezza looked like the Jason Spezza of old as he blasted a shot from the top of the circle and the Stars would take a 2-1 lead into the room after one.
Halfway through the second period the Stars would extend their lead when Jason Dickinson caught Blues' defenseman Jay Bouwmeester from behind, forcing him to to cough up the puck. Mats Zuccarello would pick up the puck, feed it up the boards to Tyler Seguin, who found John Klingberg trailing down the near side and Klinger made no mistake, 3-1 Stars! His celly was just as good as the goal. 'The Playmaker' Michael Irvin was loving every minute of it, scroll down to see his Tweet.
Turns out the good guys were not done lighting the lamp in the second period. With under 3 minutes to play in the middle frame, the Stars scored their prettiest goal of the night. Alexander Radulov picked up the puck in center ice, fed Jamie Benn down the wing, and the Captain made a perfect cross-ice pass to Roope Hintz, and the rookie phenom netted his 5th goal of the Playoffs, tying him for the team-lead with Radulov.
The end of the second period would feature shenanigans as St Louis' goalie Jordan Binnington slashed Stars' goalie Ben Bishop at center ice as the two skated past each other on their way to the locker room. Just prior to that, Binnington got into a kerfuffle with Jamie Benn in front of the Blues' net. Binnington wound up with two minor penalties - one for roughing and one for slashing. Benn received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
The Stars wouldn't do much with the power play to start the third, and the teams played a pretty tight period until just over 6 minutes left when Blues' captain Alex Pietrangelo blasted a shot so hard it knocked Ben Bishop's goalie stick out of his hands, which left him exposed to a follow-up shot from Robert Thomas who found the back of the net for his first of the Playoffs, and just like that, the Blues were within 2.
The Blues would pull their goalie with just under 3 minutes remaining, but the Stars put the game on lockdown. When the clock ran out, the horn sounded, the streamers fell, and I was able to announce the two words Stars' fans love to hear.. "STARS WIN" followed by Stevie Ray Vaughan's "The House Is Rockin'" and all was right again in Stars land, at least for 48 hours.
Part of my job as PA Announcer is to announce the Three Stars Of The Game at the conclusion. Tonight, it was all Dallas Stars players (which is awesome) and NBCSports carried it live on national TV! Watch closely as Jamie Benn squirts Tyler Seguin with his water bottle as Seguin skates off the ice.
After a big win it's always fun to see which Stars player receives the Cowboy Hat, and on Wednesday night (previous recipient) Ben Bishop gave it to rookie defenseman Joel Hanley after making his NHL post-season debut.
Now the Stars (and Blues) head back to St Louis for the next most important game of the Series, the all critical Game 5, Friday night at 8:30pm. Just like Round One, it's now a best two-outta-three, with only one more game at American Airlines Center, Game 6 Sunday afternoon at 2pm. Hopefully the Stars can continue to follow the Round One script and find a way to steal Game 5 in St Louis and come home Sunday to close it out. I've said it before I'll say it again, enjoy the ride Stars fans. It's May, and our heroes are still playing meaningful hockey. GO STARS!