Bill Meltzer: Star Gazing: Explosive Third Period Propels Stars in Preseason Opener


The Dallas Stars rode a three-goal outburst in the third period to come from behind to defeat the St. Louis Blues by a 4-3 score in the opening preseason game at the American Airlines Center. Dallas led 1-0 at the first intermission, trailed 2-1 after the middle stanza and then grabbed a 4-2 lead in the third period before hanging on for the narrow win.

The Stars got goals from Vernon Fiddler, Curtis McKenzie, Jordie Benn (power play) and Jason Dickinson. St. Louis received second period tallies from Ryan Whitney (power play) and Patrik Berglund to take the lead. After Dallas rallied in the third period, Ian Cole brought the Blues back within one goal with 1:29 remaining on the clock.

Winning goaltender Anders Lindbäck turned aside 19 of 21 shots in 29:42 of action for the Stars. Starting netminder Kari Lehtonen stopped 11 of 12 shots in 30:18. For St. Louis, Brian Elliot played the first two periods and saved 11 of 12 offerings from the Stars. Niklas Lundström came in for the third period and took the loss as he allowed three goals on 13 shots.

Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky made their respective preseason debuts in Dallas uniforms. The linemates combined to assist on Jordie Benn’s go-ahead power play tally.

Last night’s game also saw the NHL preseason debut of Dickinson, the Stars “other” 2013 first-round pick (29th overall) in the Draft that netted Valeri Nichushkin. At 8:57 of the third period, Dickinson scored what proved to be a critical insurance goal as he took a give-and-go feed from veteran Erik Cole and directed the puck into the net. The goal ultimately stood as the game winner.

There were not a lot of shots or chances for either team in the opening 40 minutes. The Stars and Blues combined for just 26 shots (14 for the Blues, 12 for the Stars) through the first two periods. The ice opened up in the third period. The Stars finished with 25 shots to 33 for St. Louis.

Dallas generated a meager six shots in the first period but one of the found the net. On the sequence, Blues prospect Ty Rattie lost his stick and went to retrieve it. Stars defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka pinched into the high slot and made a nice pass to Fiddler, who tapped the puck home from point blank range at 7:16.

In the second period, Lehtonen gave up the only goal of his half-game effort. With the Blues on the power play, former Stars forward Steve Ott provided a screen and reclamation project defenseman Ryan Whitney weaved a point shot into the net at 5:06.

Lindbäck came in to relieve Lehtonen at 10:18 of the second period. The 1-1 score held until the 17:42 mark. The Blues took their first and only lead of the game. Stars defenseman Patrik Nemeth fumbled the puck away in the neutral zone and Berglund grabbed possession to go in on a breakaway. Berglund beat countryman Lindbäck to put St. Louis ahead.

With Lundström taking over in net for Elliot in the third period, Dallas quickly knotted the game with a line rush goal. At the 1:14 mark, Travis Morin fed the puck to McKenzie, who snapped a left circle shot under the crossbar to forge a 2-2 tie.

Less than two minutes later, Ott fought McKenzie and picked up an extra roughing minor from the fray. On the ensuing power play, Spezza made a cross-ice feed to defenseman Jordie Benn, who wired home a shot from the right circle at 4:19.

Dickinson scored his first NHL preseason goal at 8:57 to give the Stars a two-goal cushion. Cole got the Blues back within 4-3 late in the third period. With Lundström pulled for an extra attacker, Lindbäck made a tough save on Ott to preserve the win.

The Stars have an off-night tonight. Tomorrow, they are in Sunrise, FL, to take on the Florida Panthers. Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn are expected to play in that game, along with other regulars who were not in the lineup last night.

This was the Stars’ lineup in Monday’s game:

Antoine Roussel – Jason Spezza – Ales Hemsky

Curtis McKenzie – Travis Morin – Scott Glennie

Brendan Ranford – Vernon Fiddler – Ryan Garbutt

Remi Elie – Jason Dickinson – Erik Cole

Jordie Benn – Kevin Connauton

Patrik Nemeth – Julius Honka

Jyrki Jokipakka – Jamie Oleksiak

Kari Lehtonen / Anders Lindback

This post originally appeared on and we thank them for permission to rebroadcast it here.

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