In a loopy extra time win towards the Calgary Flames on Saturday, the Stars put an exclamation level on a moderately historic street journey.
Dallas took its longest journey of the season for 12 days, beginning in Buffalo, going to Seattle for 2 video games after which trekking throughout Western Canada to Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary. So, when Jason Robertson made a outstanding backhand shot with 12.3 seconds left in extra time, it was extra than simply an additional level within the standings.
It was the sort of recreation that may assist forge a workforce into one thing particular.
“There’s totally different moments throughout an extended season the place you are a coach however you are additionally a hockey fan,” mentioned Stars coach Pete DeBoer after a jubilant post-game celebration. “You are a fan at that time. That is simply an unbelievably expert play and end to win a recreation.”
Robertson’s two targets give him 41 on the season and he turns into the primary participant for the reason that workforce moved to Dallas in 1993 to attain 40 or extra targets in consecutive seasons. Wyatt Johnston scored his twentieth objective and now leads all rookies in objective scoring. Miro Heiskanen ran his level streak to 10 video games, and that is probably the most by a Stars defenseman for the reason that workforce moved to Dallas.
It was a loopy recreation to finish a loopy journey. The Stars began the run with wins in Buffalo and Seattle (twice), however then sustained losses in Vancouver and Edmonton. That made Saturday’s recreation a critical intestine examine. The standings are tightening up, and this workforce wanted a vote of confidence. What’s extra, of their final go to to the Scotiabank Saddledome, Dallas misplaced a 3-2 Sport 7 match in extra time. Combine into that the very fact Calgary received two video games in Dallas this season, 6-5 and 5-4, and also you had a workforce who actually did not wish to lose once more.
All of that was crashing collectively when the Stars took a 2-0 lead, surrendered that to go down 5-4, then acquired a attempting objective from Jani Hakanpää within the third interval, and received in a frenetic further interval.
“I believed this one capped off a street journey that was tremendous emotional,” Robertson mentioned. “It is a six-gamer, however there’s much more to it.”
Robertson mentioned the primary journey again to Calgary after the emotional Sport 7 defeat was vital, as was the struggles towards the Flames and the opportunity of a three-game shedding streak.
“You might go way back to being right here in Sport 7 within the playoffs,” he mentioned. “I do know that was far more vital than this one, however while you get these little victories, it is good to your morale. And undoubtedly after we had two losses to this workforce in our barn, it feels good to get one of their constructing.”
It was all swirling across the area and it actually might have crushed the Stars. The numbers say Calgary performed the higher recreation. The Flames had a 38-26 benefit in pictures on objective and a 65-50 edge in shot makes an attempt. The Stars had been fortunate in a way, with Calgary hitting the posts 4 instances and the Stars’ second objective attributable to a lucky bounce off an official.
Even with all of that good luck, there was an opportunity Dallas was going to lose in regulation.
However with slightly below eight minutes left within the third interval, Hakanpää discovered himself alone within the slot and fired a shot that bounced off Flames goalie Jacob Markström and likewise off defenseman Chris Tanev earlier than settling into the online.
It was an enormous play for Hakanpää, who by chance knocked the stick out of the fingers of Stars goalie Jake Oettinger on the Flames’ fifth objective.
When requested what he was searching for, Hakanpää mentioned only a clear shot.
“My largest concern was that I acquired that puck settled down,” he mentioned. “It got here bouncing in and I knew I had somewhat time, so I used to be simply attempting to get it good and settled, after which I used to be looking for somewhat daylight.”
Hakanpää’s objective was enormous, as a result of the workforce has wanted depth scoring, which additionally they obtained with a objective from Radek Faksa too. Simply as vital, the highest line was sizzling once more after a chilly night time in Edmonton. Robertson (two targets, one help), Joe Pavelski (one objective, two assists) and Roope Hintz (three assists) had been again on their recreation. What’s extra, Johnston added his objective and linemate Jamie Benn had two assists. It was the sort of scoring the workforce has wanted within the month of March.
Dallas has allowed 3.5 targets per recreation whereas going 7-3-0 within the month and a giant secret’s having scored 4.8 targets per recreation in that very same span.
Robertson’s resurgence can be key, and his confidence was exhibiting on Saturday. He had 5 pictures on objective and 9 shot makes an attempt, and that is the sort of recreation he has performed for a lot of the yr en path to 88 factors (41 targets, 47 assists) in 70 video games (seventh in NHL scoring). On the game-winner, Robertson took a stretch cross from Joe Pavelski and headed towards the objective. He made an impressive toe drag round defenseman Rasmus Andersson after which whipped a backhand shot previous Markström.
“I used to be simply attempting to make one thing out of nothing,” Robertson mentioned. “I do know Roope had overwhelmed his man, however I figured I needed to shoot it.”
“I feel I stunned [Andersson], however I stunned myself, too,” he mentioned of the toe drag. “I used to be in a position to end and that capped off a stable street journey.”
It did certainly. The Stars come dwelling for 3 video games and get a few days to breathe earlier than going through Seattle on Tuesday. They transfer to 38-19-13, good for 89 factors and first place within the Central Division. That is enormous when each Colorado and Minnesota are purple sizzling and have 86 factors every. The Stars are at present with out Tyler Seguin (leg laceration) and Mason Marchment (knee), which has introduced its challenges. Seguin could be again this week whereas Marchment is out 3-4 weeks, so any factors proper now are important.
“It was an enormous journey for us,” DeBoer mentioned. “We ended up 4-2, down a few key guys with Seguin and Marchment, powerful schedule, powerful groups we had been enjoying on this journey, so I am actually happy with our group. It wasn’t an ideal recreation by any means. There have been quite a lot of errors made, however we discovered a manner and did sufficient to get two vital factors.”
This story was not topic to the approval of the Nationwide Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Membership.
Mike Heika is a Senior Workers Author for DallasStars.com and has coated the Stars since 1994. Observe him on Twitter @MikeHeika.