The Dallas Stars scored the first two goals and held off a late Columbus rally to defeat the Blue Jackets 2-1 in their road trip finale on Monday night.
Dallas finished a tough five-game road trip with a 3-1-1 record and seven of the 10 possible points. This coming after an identical five-game home stand has boosted the Stars in the standings, as they sit alone atop the Central Division.
It looked to be another goalie battle early in Columbus as both Jake Oettinger and Danil Tarasov held off a high-event first period and kept the game scoreless. While the goalie duel continued throughout the 60 minutes, the 0-0 tie was broken very early in the second period.
In the first minute of the second frame, Ryan Suter fired a shot from the point and Wyatt Johnston found a heavy rebound off the pad and scooped a backhand into the back of the net for the first goal of the game.
Johnny Hockey who??? We've got Wyatt Johnston! (;
— Bally Sports Southwest (@BallySportsSW) December 20, 2022
The goal moved Johnston into third in rookie goal-scoring with eight on the season.
"He just gets better every night," Stars Head Coach Pete DeBoer said. "He's making more plays. I'm giving him more responsibility. He's taking draws in our own end, I think he can kill penalties. Just a pleasure to coach."
With the pace of the game and chances on both ends, there seemed to be no way that slim lead would hold. But with some incredible saves from Oettinger and Tarasov, the 1-0 score stuck around until late in the third period.
Just a few moments after Columbus pulled the goaltender for a sixth attacker, Jason Robertson tallied his first goal in eight games, sliding a shot from his own blue line into the empty net.
Oettinger earned the victory in his 100th career game and was just 14.3 seconds away from earning his third shutout of the season if not for a shot that deflected off Luke Glendening’s glove in front of the net, it would have been a near-perfect milestone game.
“Long road trip for us and we knew if we took care of business tonight, it would be a great road trip,” Oettinger said. “Feels good to be coming out of this trip with a few wins. To play 100 games is pretty crazy, and hopefully, I can play a few more.”
Oettinger moved to 54-27-11 with a .915 save percentage through the first 100 games of his young career.
Ed Belfour is the only goaltender to lead the @DallasStars to a Stanley Cup, so Jake Oettinger is hanging around pretty impressive company through 100 career games.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) December 20, 2022
“I wouldn’t rather be doing anything else than I am right now,” he said. “Try to work your ass off and try to give this team a chance to win every night.”
Sam’s Three Stars
- First Star: Jake Oettinger, DAL (27 saves on 28 shots)
- Second Star: Wyatt Johnston, DAL (1 goal)
- Third Star: Danil Tarasov, CBJ (32 saves on 33 shots)