Some notes on Friday’s game that saw the Dallas Stars fall 3-1 at Pittsburgh.
Special teams key: The Stars won the five-on-five battle, at least on the scoreboard, 1-0, but the game turned on special teams. All three Pittsburgh goals came as the result of penalties on Dallas. Pittsburgh was 2-5 on the power play and scored on a penalty shot as well. Whether the calls were good ones or bad ones, the Penguins executed better on special teams. The Stars have now allowed seven power play goals over the last four games and are 16-23 (69.6%) on the PK during that stretch. The Stars were 0-2 on the power play. It’s only the second time in the last seven games the Stars have failed to score on the PP. Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has not allowed a power play goal this season in 40 shorthanded situations.
Turning point: No goal, no problem for Penguins: Both Pittsburgh power play goals by James Neal came just moments after the Penguins had apparent power play goals waved off. The first one was nullified because the puck was deflected in by a Chris Kunitz high stick. The second one was waved off because Kunitz interfered with Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen. In each case the Penguins persevered and scored. The first one tied the game and the second one ended up being the game-winner.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a better response from a team and the guys, both in preparing themselves to go back out when it was a no-goal call and then going out and executing with the rest of the power play,” Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. “That’s pretty impressive to get back out there and not put your head down, get ready to execute and take advantage of what was left. They were both very big goals for us.”
Video review explanation: Here was the NHL’s explanation (provided by Stars PR) on the video review of the Pittsburgh goal that was waved off late in the second period due to being deflected into the net by a high stick:
“At 17:32 of the second period in the Penguins/Stars game, video review proved inconclusive. Therefore referee Furlatt's call on the ice -- that Penguins forward Chris Kunitz deflected the puck into the net with his stick above the crossbar -- stands. No goal Pittsburgh.”
Nystrom continues to roll: Stars forward Eric Nystrom continues his goal scoring roll. He ran his goal scoring streak to four games and now has five in the last six games. With his five goals this season, Nystrom has surpassed his total for all of last season, which was four in 82 games with Minnesota.
Benn line Staaled: The Jamie Benn line, which has been tearing it up lately, was held off the score sheet Friday night. Benn, who had no shots on goal in the game, had a six-game points streak snapped. Loui Eriksson had four shots on goal, but his five-game points streak ended. Michael Ryder, who had seven points over the last three games, had no shots on goal. Give some credit to Pittsburgh’s Jordan Staal line(Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis on the wings), which went head-to-head with Benn’s line most of the night. The defense pairings of Paul Martin-Kris Letang and Brooks Orpik-Deryk Engelland played a big role, too.
Statistical tidbits: The Stars fell to 7-3-0 when scoring first. … The Stars are now 6-3-0 when tied after two periods. … The Stars suffered their first loss of the season against the Eastern Conference and are now 3-1-0 against the East.