Friday, April 19, 2013
St. Louis Blues 2, Dallas Stars 1
Stars' playoff hopes take a hit in tough road loss.
The Dallas Stars had no answer for the classic prevent defense Friday night in St. Louis, losing 2-1 to the Blues. The loss dropped Dallas to 22-19-3 and 47 points, still two points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. While the Stars still have a game in hand, there are only four games remaining in the 2013 season. St. Louis improved to 26-16-2 on the season.
The Blues, coached by former Cup-winning Stars coach Ken Hitchcock, scored first and then sat on their lead for the remainder of the game. St. Louis opened the scoring at 10:10 of the first period. With Dallas on the penalty kill, three Stars inexplicably got trapped behind their own blue line on a scrum. The Blues still won the puck battle and got a shot on net, which rebounded right to a wide-open Chris Stewart, who cashed in on the empty net for his 17th of the season and a 1-0 lead.
Dallas tried punching back but were unable to mount anything through the Blues' all-men-back defense, and ultimately gave up a counterattack goal at 7:52 of the second period when Brenden Dillon's lazy clearing attempt was intercepted at the blue line by Chris Porter. Porter got the puck to the net where fourth liner Ryan Reaves drove the net and punched it in for his second of the year and a 2-0 lead.
Dallas tried mounting a comeback in the third, and cut St. Louis' lead in half at 4:37 when Stephane Robidas' shot from the point was deflected in by Antoine Roussel for his sixth goal of the season and a 2-1 game. Dallas had several close calls after that, but were unable to get the equalizer to get to overtime.
Dallas netminder Kari Lehtonen was decent in net, making 18 saves on 20 shots in the loss. Blues goalie Brian Elliott continued his recent streak of dominant play, stopping 21 of 22 shots for the win.
Dallas' next game is Sunday evening in Los Angeles, where they face the Stanley Cup champion 25-14-5 Kings.