Dallas Stars even series with St. Louis Blues on Cody Eakin's OT winner
Dallas Stars' Cody Eakin, right, looks to pass as St. Louis Blues goalie Brian Elliott defends during the third period of Game 4 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference semifinals, Thursday, May 5, 2016, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

Dallas Stars even series with St. Louis Blues on Cody Eakin's OT winner

After being run over by the Blues in Tuesday's game 3, the Stars came back to even the series at two a piece heading back to Dallas for game 5.

josh-mcswain
Josh McSwain

For the second time in the series, the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues needed extra time to decide a winner; this time in a crucial game four. Ultimately, the Stars emerged victorious with a 3-2 win to even the series at 2-2.

Two lines in particular dominated the action for each team. Dallas' first line of Jamie Benn-Cody Eakin-Patrick Sharp created the most chances for the Stars while the Alex Steen-Jori Lehtera-Troy Brouwer line had over half of the Blues shots through two periods (10 of 16).

The first goal of the game was rather bizarre as Dallas clearly had six skaters on the ice and all of the officials missed it. But Vladimir Tarasenko ended up with a breakaway and he drilled the shot passed Kari Lehtonen to give the Blues a 1-0 lead.

Three goal second

Early on in the second, the Stars put the pressure on with their first goal of the game, scored by Radek Faksa at the 4:05 mark, unassisted. Joel Edmundson made a terrible play as he passed it straight to Faksa in his own zone, and Faksa made him pay. The little known bottom six player has emerged in the playoffs with three goals from the third line.

The Dallas Stars took care of business on the road tonight, getting a crucial win. | Photo: Getty Images
The Dallas Stars took care of business on the road tonight, getting a crucial win. | Photo: Getty Images

Just 16 seconds later, David Backes got a two minute minor for a trip on Mattias Janmark, and the Stars took advantage with Sharp scoring his fourth goal of the playoffs. But the Blues would answer with a power play goal of their own with 6:54 left in the second as Paul Stastny scored his first goal of this postseason, assisted by Tarasenko and Steen.

After winning the opening draw of the extra session, Brouwer almost ended it less than 30 seconds in as he shot that Lehtonen bounced off his shoulder. After controlling the puck for the first minute, the Stars got their first shot of overtime when the Faksa line came on, as Antione Roussel shot one on that was saved by Brian Elliott. Ales Hemsky has been a savvy veteran throughout the season for the Stars and he got the second chance while John Klingberg led the rush. Throughout most of the third and overtime periods both teams were only rotating three lines.

Overtime

In overtime, Tarasenko got a steal in the Dallas zone, around the 2:45 mark, and led it back in and tried to set up Lehtera in the slot but Lehtonen made a good save, but Eakin made a great defensive play to disrupt the shot.

Sharp led a rush down the ice and passed to Eakin who drilled a shot from the faceoff circle that went over the right shoulder of Elliott and into the net to even the series, as Jason Spezza and Sharp picked up the helpers.

Eakin scored his first goal of the playoffs and got five hits in the game. The goaltending was not a problem tonight for the Stars as Lehtonen made 24 saves on 26 shots. He will go into game five as the starter, and the question will be if he can maintain his form from tonight or if he will falter like he did in game two after a solid game one.

The series will resume Saturday at noon in Dallas.

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