A two-goal effort from rookie forward Roope Hintz and a flawless performance by the penalty kill helped lift the Dallas Stars to a 4-2 win over the St. Louis Blues in Game 2 of their Western Conference playoff series on Saturday afternoon.
The Round 2 series is now tied, 1-1, as if shifts to Dallas on Monday night.
Hintz opened the scoring for the Stars at the 7:11 mark of the first period with his third goal of the playoffs, capitalizing on a great shift by him and linemate Mats Zuccarello.
Just a few minutes after that goal, the Stars and Blues combined for a crazy two-minute sequence during a four-on-four situation that saw the teams combine for three goals, scoring on three consecutive shots.
The Stars ended up getting the better of that sequence, scoring two goals on highlight reel tallies by rookie defender Miro Heiskanen and veteran forward Mattias Janmark.
Heiskanen’s goal was quickly followed by a goal from Blues defender Colton Parayko to cut the deficit in half. But the Stars quickly responded with Janmark’s first goal of the playoffs just 26 seconds later. Janmark’s goal ended up going in the books as the game-winner.
The Blues would again cut the deficit to a single goal early in the third period when Jaden Schwartz continued has recent goal-scoring binge with his fifth goal of the playoffs.
They were never able to get the equalizer.
They were gifted a great opportunity in the closing minutes when Hintz made the mistake of firing the puck over the glass in the defensive zone, resulting in a delay of game penalty. But the Blues’ power play, which struggled all day, including on a brief 5-on-3 advantage earlier in the game, was unable to score, even after pulling starting goalie Jordan Binnington to give them a 6-on-4 advantage.
Hintz ended up scoring an empty-net goal to put the game away after exiting the penalty box. He also recorded an assist on Heiskanen’s goal in the second period and is now up to seven points in eight games this postseason. His emergence, as well as the return of a healthy Zuccarello, has given the Stars a really strong second line that has perfectly complemented their top line of Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, and Alexander Radulov.
Starting goalie Ben Bishop played a big role on all of the penalty kills and was once again outstanding in the Stars’ net, turning aside 32 of the 34 shots he faced.
This sprawling, desperation save mid-way through the second period was one of his finest plays of the day.
Game 3 of Blues-Stars is Monday at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN