The Dallas Stars aren’t being talked about much as Stanley Cup contenders, given the powerhouse teams in their division and conference. But they may in fact play in the most lopsided series of the first round, and turn some heads along the way.
Kari Lehtonen only had to make 22 saves for his second career playoff shutout and the Stars routed the Wild 4-0 in Game 1. Dallas outshot Minnesota 32-22, including 14-2 in the first period.
Despite that huge shot advantage in the first period the Stars didn’t get on the board until the second. Radek Faksa opened the scoring early in the second, then Jason Spezza scored a highlight-reel goal to essentially put the game out of reach – it was obvious even then the Wild weren’t scoring three goals on Thursday.
Spezza took a pass from Patrick Eaves in the neutral zone and went in pretty much untouched before making a great fake then sniping a shot over Devan Dubnyk’s shoulder.
Spezza was playing in his first playoff game since 2013 when he was with the Senators. But that’s nothing compared to the wait Ales Hemsky had. Hemsky played in his first post-season game in a decade – his last game before Thursday was Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup final when the Oilers lost to the Hurricanes. Hemsky picked up an assist on Faska’s goal.
Jamie Benn, the second-leading scorer in the NHL during the regular season, had an empty-net goal and added two assists.