Maybe it’s fitting that a playoff series between the two best teams in the West during the regular season needs seven games to decide a winner to play in the conference final.
Needing a win on the road to stave off elimination, the Dallas Stars could not have asked for a better start. Mattias Janmark and Vernon Fiddler scored just 20 seconds apart to give their team a quick two-goal lead. Up three goals before the end of the first period, the Stars chased St. Louis Blues starting goalie Brian Elliott from the crease.
For the remaining 40 minutes, however, the Stars just barely hung on to defeat a hard-charging Blues team that came close but couldn’t complete the comeback in a 3-2 final.
It wasn’t from a lack of opportunities.
Basically, from the start of the second period to the final buzzer in the third, it was all Blues. Alexander Steen gave them life, scoring in the second period, and Patrik Berglund brought them to within a goal with plenty of time remaining in the third. They couldn’t get the equalizer by Kari Lehtonen.
For all the concerns about the Stars’ goaltending in these playoffs, Lehtonen came up big with 35 saves on 37 shots.
The Stars? They had 14 shots on goal the entire game, seven of those coming after the first period.
Shot attempts? Puck possession? Those were just a little lopsided in favor of St. Louis.