Posted: 10:35 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013
By Erin Bolen
One day Alex Chiasson's goal scoring touch will cool off, but that day hasn't come for the Dallas Stars rookie just yet.
Chiasson scored his second goal of the season - and his eighth in nine career NHL games - and it stood up to be the game winner as the Dallas Stars picked up their first win of the season 2-1 over the Washington Capitals at the American Airlines Center.
Chiasson's continued hot hands, along with some strong penalty killing in the final 30 seconds, were keys for the Stars comeback which gave Lindy Ruff his first win as the team's head coach.
It looked like more of the same early for the Stars when Stephane Robidas was called for tripping, which put the formidable Capitals power play on the ice. The Stars penalty killers had a few opportunities to get the puck out but failed to capitalize. The same couldn't be said for Alex Ovechkin, who was left all alone in the left circle and just buried a shot past Lehtonen.
Erik Cole evened up the game off a beautiful feed from Tyler Seguin. Seguin collected the puck behind the net, then spun and fired the pass to the slot without looking, and Cole slammed home a one-timer for his first goal and Seguin's first assist of the season.
The Stars caught a break - or perhaps it should be said Kari Lehtonen drew a break - midway through the second period when Nicklas Backstrom appeared to bunt home a strange bounce to give the Caps a 2-1 lead. But in his attempt to get at the puck, Backstrom had cross-checked Lehtonen in the head, which was caught by the back referee. After a brief conference at center ice, the referees waived off the goal because of goalie interference.
The NHL even weighed in with the official word during the game.
At 8:01 of the second period in the Capitals/Stars game, the puck entered the Dallas net. Referee Mike Leggo determined that Nicklas Backstrom made incidental contact with goalie Kari Lehtonen and prevented Lehtonen from doing his job in the crease -- no goal, no penalty.
Goalie interference is the referee's call on the ice and is not reviewable. Could you argue there should have been a high sticking or cross checking call on the play? Sure, but I think Leggo was the back ref on the play and wouldn't have been able to tell the degree of contact. Could you argue the goal should have counted? Eh, probably not.
Shortly after, Chiasson potted his second of the season after a scramble at the net to give the Stars their first lead of the game.
While the Capitals continued to create pressure as the game went on, including a nervy sequence late in the third when Chiasson failed to take an advantage of a delayed offside to clear, the Stars were much more confident in their defensive zone positioning than they were in the season opener against the Florida Panthers.
That was tested late after Tyler Seguin was whistled for delay of game - puck over glass with 35 seconds remaining. A veteran heavy penalty kill kept the Caps in neutral of their own zone for the first 25 seconds, and Lehtonen came up with one last save to seal the victory.
More observations to come shortly...