If you are a fan of special teams, Thursday night’s Stars-Wild matchup was the game for you. If you are a fan of the Stars…there is still a lot of work to be done.
The two teams traded power plays, and in the end, they combined for 39 penalty minutes. Funny enough, the power plays were outworked by the penalty killers more often than not early in the game.
The Wild got things started with a shorthanded goal in the first period during a five-minute Dallas power play. But the Stars would answer right back with a shorty of their own during a double minor to Jamie Benn.
Mats Zuccarello finally got the power plays on the board, sneaking a shot inside the post from the icing line as Anton Khudobin was tangled up in front. Newcomer Nils Lundkvist recorded the Stars power-play goal with a slap shot from the point in the third period.
“I think it’s encouraging for this time of year,” Head Coach Pete DeBoer said when asked about getting chances but not converting on the power play. “We had some great movement, some great looks. Those are going to end up in the net eventually. We didn’t get rewarded, we gave up a goal on the shorty, so that doesn’t feel good. But I think for this time of year, there were some real encouraging signs.”
Dallas was mostly unimpressive for the second time in three preseason games. Aside from the sloppiness expected to happen early, they looked lost in their own end, often breaking down and leaving Anton Khudobin all alone. In the offensive end, it was a lot of the ‘almosts’ and missed opportunities we saw on Monday night. While this can still be looked at as ‘learning the systems’, the Stars have allowed 12 goals in three preseason games. They have scored only six. There is work to be done.
“I think it feels good,” Miro Heiskanen said about the progress of the new system. “Of course, there are going to be some mistakes, but overall it feels good. We just have to clean up the mistakes, and it is going to be fine.”
Ty Dellandrea was the best Star on the ice. Aside from his beautiful shorthanded goal, the forward was a menace on the forecheck and blocked shots in his own end. Unfortunately, one of those blocked shots sent him down the tunnel and into the dressing room in the second period. He did not return to the game.
“He blocked a shot in the hand, looks like he has something broken, no surgery or anything, he’ll be a couple of weeks probably,” DeBoer said. “It’s a broken tip of the finger, so I am hopeful 2-3 weeks, he is back in the lineup.”
As you could probably tell from the penalty minutes, the game was very physical. Jared Rosburg dropped the gloves with Brandon Baddock in the first period after Baddock delivered a late hit that knocked Roope Hintz out of the game for several minutes. Baddock received duel five-minute majors and a game misconduct for interference and fighting. Outside of that exchange, Benn was involved in multiple tussles, including a trip and crosscheck that landed him four minutes in the box.
Anton Khudobin struggled again in net for Dallas. Finishing with 23 saves on 28 shots (.821%), he looked to be out of position and scrambling far too often. In two games, he has not shown much to prove that he is ready to be back at the NHL level.
Ty Dellandrea looked to injure his hand blocking a shot in the second period. He did not return.
Roope Hintz went to the dressing room after taking a big hit in the first period. He returned in the second after passing concussion protocol.
Nils Lundkvist (1 goal) led all skaters with five shots
Anton Khudobin finished with 23 saves on 28 shots (.821%)
In their first game of the preseason, Miro Heiskanen recorded one assist and five shots in 22:24 TOI and Tyler Seguin had 3 shots in 14:43 TOI.
Denis Gurianov and Wyatt Johnston were both minus-3.
Dallas went 1/3 on the power play.
Minnesota went 1/5 on the power play.
Sam’s Three Stars
First Star: Tyson Jost, MIN (3 assists)
Second Star: Marco Rossi, MIN (1 goal, 1 assist)
Third Star: Ty Dellandrea, DAL (1 goal)
He Said It
“Well, that’s the NHL,” DeBoer said about Dellandrea’s injury. “I think he has put a good showing in, he got injured doing what we ask him to do, which is blocking a shot and playing hard. That’s how you’ve got to play the game, so that’s part of it. If you are going to get injured, now is a better time than two or three weeks from now. I liked his game tonight and he’s had a good camp.”