Ottawa Overpower Offensively Oriented Stars
The Senators marched into Dallas on Tuesday night and took two points, scoring an impressive seven goals on one of the Western Conference's best squads.
Riding Craig Anderson's shutout streak of 120 minutes after two straight, convincing wins against the Columbus Blue Jackets and Philadelphia Flyers, the Senators were in Dallas to face off against the Stars for a matchup of two impressive offences.
Also making headlines was the early Norris Trophy race, which currently sees Dallas defender John Klingberg and Erik Karlsson as frontrunners. The two Swedish sensations were going head-to-head for the third time in their careers. So far, Klingberg had the upper hand with four points in two previous games, while Karlsson had none.
Speaking of Klingberg, he would make quite the impression early on.
Seven minutes into the first period, attempting a breakout pass, Klingberg was pick-pocketed by Bobby Ryan. No, not Mark Stone. Bobby Ryan.
After the takeaway, Ryan found himself in all alone on Anti Niemi. He would make no mistake, wrapping the puck around Niemi's left pad for his eighth of the campaign.
Bobby Ryan scores pic.twitter.com/QXyi7uYguX— Stephanie (@myregularface) November 25, 2015
With the goal, Ryan extended his point streak to nine games. In that span he's recorded four goals and seven assists.
The Stars were taking it to the Senators, hemming them in their own zone and drastically outshooting them 8-1 until Jason Spezza took a slashing penalty on Shane Prince with five minutes left in the frame.
Ottawa then put on a keepaway clinic, led by Karlsson and his downright beautiful slap passes. But a few wide open cages missed and the Senators would have to resort to even strength to try and extend their lead.
That was no problem, though.
This time, instead of Ryan playing the thief, it was the usual suspect.
Like a lion stalking its prey, Stone went wide on Jyrki Jokkipakka, forcing him into the corner where Stone would pin him and kick the puck out. Jean-Gabriel Pageau picked up the puck, fed Milan Michalek, and the 30-year-old would snipe one over the glove hand of Niemi.
Michalek was on a noteworthy three-game point streak and the Senators were leading the NHL's best offence 2-0 after 20 minutes despite being outshot 11-6.
In the second period, it was Mark Borowiecki in the middle of a weird coincidence.
For the second time in three games, the stay-at-home defenseman found himself running through the opposing team's crease, bumping into the goalie. Against Columbus, Borowiecki's mistake would see a goal called back, but this time it was a goalie interference penalty that sent the Stars on a power play.
Dallas would have no success on the man advantage, but it wasn't very long after that they struck.
Cody Eakin fed Patrick Sharp on a break and the Winnipeg native would blast a slap shot past a hung-out-to-dry Craig Anderson.
Anderson's impressive shutout streak had ended at 146:59 minutes.
But here to spoil the Stars' comeback was Stone again. Pouncing on a poor pass through the middle by former Senator Patrick Eaves, the 23-year-old had all the time in the world to pick a spot and fire home a snapshot to the lower right pocket of the net.
And with that, Stone had a hat trick. Well, sort of.
Takeaway, snipe, awkward celebratoon - the Mark Stone hat trick.— Bonk's Mullet (@BonksMullet) November 25, 2015
Ottawa's goal chased Niemi from the Dallas net and in entered Kari Lehtonen, who was on a hot streak of late winning six straight.
But after Stone had drawn a hooking penalty, the Senators were given a power play. And Mike Hoffman on the point of said power play is deadly.
Hoffman scores, 4-1 Sens pic.twitter.com/YTEbwRuWvx— Stephanie (@myregularface) November 25, 2015
Karlsson and Stone would cart assists on the Hoffman blast, and the Senators would go into the final frame up by three.
After a Chris Neil slashing penalty sent the Stars on their second power play of the game, Curtis Lazar sent Pageau on a breakaway and the notorious Hab-killer would stick one between the wickets of Niemi (Dallas had made another goaltending change), spreading the devastation of his shorthanded tear.
Pageau shorthanded goal, 5-1 Sens pic.twitter.com/7QR7nNwdOH— Stephanie (@myregularface) November 25, 2015
The shorty was Pageau's third of the year, which put him ahead of 22 other teams in that category.
After the Stars gained back two, Pageau would strike again. And on another breakaway.
In the final two minutes of the period, Anderson made a potential game-saving stop on Jamie Benn in tight, diving across and getting a piece of the puck with his shoulder. The puck would bounce right to Hoffman, who fired it down he ice, off the boards and into an empty net.
Though Anderson wasn't credited with the assist - Benn touched it before it went to Hoffman - he was credited with the much-deserved win.
Sens Hero: Mark Stone
Before the game, the TSN crew was discussing Stone's latest slump that's seen him tally only three points in seven games after he was handed a two-game suspension. The Winnipeg native must've been watching the broadcast in the lounge, because boy, did he ever respond. It was an all-around great performance by Stone, but one that we've been accustomed to over the past couple years. He steals the puck, makes great plays and scores timely goals. What more could you want in a young forward?
Sens Hero: Craig Anderson
His save percentage might not show it, but the Senators' netminder was given a huge task going up against the league's best offence. Anderson also made an amazing save near the end of the game when Dallas was putting on the pressure. Immediately after the save, Hoffman fired the puck down the ice into an open net, giving his goalie a win and an unofficial assist.