Not often do you see a home and home, back to back set in the NHL. That’s exactly what the league gave to The Dallas Stars and The Phoenix Coyotes last weekend. Both teams had the same record; 2-4-1, and Dallas entered the game with six of their seven games being decided by one goal.
Friday, February 1, The Dallas Stars young players gave the team the early energy that they needed, including the first goal of the game from Antoine Roussel. Roussel scored at 9:53 on a backhand shot with assists from Ryan Garbutt and Brenden Dillon. It was Roussel’s NHL debut, making him only the eighth French-born player in an NHL game. Brenden Dillon scored his own first NHL goal two minutes later, on a slap shot. Later in the first, Phoenix’s Radim Vrbata would score on a tipped-in shot. The period ended 2-1 in favor of the Stars.
The second period brought out everyone’s emotions. Phoenix’s Martin Hanzal scored two goals, sandwiching the Stars’ Michael Ryder’s goal. The two teams traded three power plays before Brenden Dillon and Coyote’s Kyle Chipchura engaged in fisticuffs resulting in fighting majors. After the fight, the only penalty went to Jaromir Jagr who was called for a slashing penalty. The third period of the game didn’t have any goals or penalties to add to the score sheet. The game ended at regulation with the score tied at 3-3.
Overtime continued just as the third period had, no goals or penalties. Phoenix outshot Dallas six to three. The game was headed into a shootout. Vrbata, Phoenix’s second shooter, scored, as did Dallas’ Jamie Benn in the third round. With the teams tied after three shooters, they went to sudden death. Oliver Ekman-Larsson was next for Phoenix, no goal. Dallas sent out Jaromir Jagr, scoring and winning the game. Final score 4-3, Dallas. Both teams then raced off to the airport, headed to Phoenix to play each other again the next night.
Other Dallas Stars news from the game: Brenden Dillon had a Gordie Howe hat trick with the assist on Roussel’s goal, his own goal, and the fight with Kyle ChipChura. Ray Whitney had been playing with a stress fracture in his foot after a puck hit him on January 20th in a game against Minnesota. The pressure on his foot caused the fracture to widen into a crack and Whitney will miss 4-6 weeks while his foot heals.
Saturday, February 2, both teams found themselves in Phoenix ready for Game 2. Would Dallas be able to continue the momentum from the win just 24 hours earlier or would Phoenix’s home ice be to their advantage?
The first period began with Dallas giving Phoenix three power plays on stick infractions; one hooking and two high-sticking calls. Luckily for Dallas, Phoenix couldn’t capitalize on the man advantages. The teams went to the first intermission in a scoreless tie.
The second period started off the same as Dallas gave Phoenix two more power plays. This time tripping and interference were called. Coyote’s Nick Johnson scored the first goal of the game at 11:57, assisted by Lauri Korpikoski. Dallas’ Brendan Morrow and Phoenix’s Zbynek Michalek ended the period sitting in the in the penalty box for roughing and high-sticking respectively.
With the teams playing 4 on 4 hockey, the third period began. Fifteen seconds after the penalties expired, Stars’ Michael Ryder was called for boarding; Coyote Mikkel Boedker took advantage of the power play and scored a goal. A roughing penalty to Roussel was the last item listed on the official score sheet before the final buzzer sounded. The Phoenix Coyotes won 2-0 and outshot the Stars 34-17.
How did the home-and-home, back-to-back stand work for Dallas and Phoenix? Each time won their game at home, but Phoenix got the extra point in their loss. Each team looked tired at the start of the second game. But it was Dallas’ stick infraction penalties that cost them. In the second game against Phoenix, Dallas played short-handed seven times totaling almost 12 minutes. They only had a total of 41 seconds of power play action. “We’re going to pay for it now. We paid for it tonight,” said Coach Glen Gulutzan. “We’ve had internal discussions about too many penalties, and we’ll pay for it when we get to practice.”