Dallas Stars avoid elimination as Kari Lehtonen shines
Kari Lehtonen #32 of the Dallas Stars makes a save against the St. Louis Blues in Game Six of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Scottrade Center on May 9, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.(May 8, 2016 - So

Dallas Stars avoid elimination as Kari Lehtonen shines

The Dallas Stars won in St. Louis once again, led by a three goal first and stellar play in net.

Josh McSwain

Coming into tonight's game, the Dallas Stars biggest concern was their play in net. But this night, the script flipped with Kari Lehtonen in net, as he made 35 saves and the Stars put in three first period goals en route to a 3-2 win.

Stars Jump Out to Early Lead

Mattias Janmark scored the first goal of the game just 4:53 into the game. Off a stretch pass from Valeri Nichushkin, he streaked down the ice, beating Carl Gunnarsson and sniped it over the glove of Brian Elliott to put the Stars up 1-0. Just 20 seconds later, Colton Sceviour casually threw the puck on goal and Vernon Fiddler got his first goal of the playoffs as he tapped it out of the air and into the net.

Kevin Shattenkirk #22 of the St. Louis Blues passes the puck against Mattias Janmark #13 of the Dallas Stars in Game Six of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Scottrade Center on May 9, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri. (May 8, 2016 - Source: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images North America)
The Blues were unable to clinch the series at home as the Stars came away with the win. | Photo: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

After taking a 2-0 lead, the Stars began to concede the chances to the Blues. But Lehtonen stood tall. He stopped a good chance by Jori Lehtera on a dump and chase play, making a good pad save. A couple minutes later Lehtonen gave up a rebound with a large scrum in front of the net, and Robby Fabbri had a shot to put it in but the Dallas defense kept it out.

Later in the first, the Stars anemic power play (1/16 in this series) came to life. After a turnover, St. Louis looked like they might have a breakaway but John Klingberg made a great defensive play to deflect a pass and it quickly turned into a chance for Dallas, as Jason Spezza took it into the slot and made a great toe drag move and drilled it past Elliott to give Dallas a 3-0 lead. After that, Jake Allen came on for Elliott. He held down the fort and got it to the first intermission at 3-0.

Blues Push Back

In the second period, the Blues came out like a team that wanted to get back into the game. On a stretch pass, Scottie Upshall had a chance but was stopped by Lehtonen and then, just a couple minutes later, Vladimir Tarasenko was set up well near the faceoff circle but Lehtonen made a great glove save.

Finally, the Blues got on the board with 12:31 left in the second as Alex Steen drilled one home. Off a deflected shot Steen was just standing in the slot with the net open and put it past Lehtonen to get the Blues with two at 3-1.

Lehtonen continued to play well, making a great stop on Troy Brouwer in the final minute if the second of a rebound. Steen had another shot on a rush with 20 seconds to go but once again Lehtonen made the stop. St. Louis dominated the second, but was only able to get one goal on the board.

As the third period began, Kris Russell got called for a delay of game at 2:41. The Blues power play has been golden in this series, converting on 5/19 chances. Kevin Shattenkirk had two good shots in the first 45 seconds of the penalty but once again Lehtonen stood tall. After the penalty was killed, Dallas had a rush the other way but it went high. On the counterattack, Patrik Berglund had open ice but could not get it past Lehtonen.

The Blues pulled within one as Berglund scored off a great pass in the crease by Lehtera through his legs to the stick of Berglund who beat Lehtonen to the far post. Just a couple minutes later Fabbri was given two great chances from the slot to tie it up, but Lehtonen got just a piece of both shots to keep the Stars ahead.

Going Down to the Wire

Patrick Eaves almost put the game away with just over two minutes to go as he had a breakaway but hit the post. Not long after that Allen went to the bench as the extra skater came out. Radek Faksa iced the puck and gave the Blues an offensive zone faceoff with 56 seconds to go. The Blues got a great chance with 30 seconds as David Backes had a great shot but Lehtonen held on to the puck as Backes whacked away. After the faceoff Backes passed it behind the net to Jaden Schwartz who had a great chance in the slot but Lehtonen got a glove on it to keep it out.

An icing with three seconds left gave the Blues one last chance and Eaves made a diving defensive play to prevent one last shot from Tarasenko and seal the win. Game seven will be Wednesday night in Dallas.