First Star- Radek Faksa: 1 Goal, 1 Assist, +2, 15:24 TOI, Game Winning Goal
Second Star- Ales Hemsky: 1 Assist, +2, 3 SOG
Third Star- Brian Elliott: 40 Saves
After the Stars beat the Wild in 6 and the Blues stole a hectic Game 7 away from Chicago, the Central Division was ready to face some more spectacular hockey. Dallas, after finishing with the best record in the Western Conference, received home ice advantage through the Stanley Cup Finals, and certainly made use of it tonight. Radek Faksa tapped home the game winning goal with 4:44 left in the third period to help the Stars take Game 1 in front of a sellout crowd at American Airlines Arena.
Dallas attacked hard and played hungry. Limiting the Blues to a mere 6 shots on net during the first 20 minutes of play, the Stars really set the tone early. Brian Elliott met the match. Stopping all 14 shots in the first period and 40 throughout the game, the Blues netminder kept his team in it until the very end. The best player in a St. Louis uniform, Elliott made countless saves sprawling across the crease, deflecting it wide with his pads, and of course using his leather catching glove.
The scoreless tie was interrupted when the Stars broke off for an odd man rush midway through the game. Eventual goal scorer Antoine Roussel took off the other way after intercepting a pass in the defensive zone. Defenseman John Klingberg and fellow linemate Radek Faksa followed suit and utilized a triangle style set up to effectively spread out the lone the Stars defenseman. Roussel was able to collect a rebound in front of the net and bury the puck past Elliott to open the scoring.
Halfway through the third period Kevin Shatttenkirk teed up a shot from rookie partner Colton Parayko from the top of the circles, that managed to find a way past a screened Kari Lehtonen. Five minutes later it was Radek Faksa who put the dagger in but following up on a shot by Ales Hensky and potting the rebound across the goal line. The Stars did not need another one as this proved to be the game winner.
Total Shots: St. Louis managed 32 while the Stars put up a whopping 42. Both teams were unable to make use of the man advantage finishing a combined 0/5 on the night. Dallas helped out their goaltender by blocking 22 shots before Lehtonen had the chance to make the save. St. Louis was also outhit 26 to 32 throughout the game, which is weird because they are one of the bigger and heavier teams in the league. Game 2 is Sunday at 3 PM EST on NBC for American viewers and Sportsnet for Canadians.
Featured Image Credit: nhl.com
Three Stars Image Credit: nhl.com