It seemed like it was going to be a great night. The Stars opened up the scoring in this one and had yet to lose in the playoffs in games when they scored first. At 2:41 of the first, Perttu Lindgren collected a rebound off Mannino's pads from a Wathier shot and potted his 2nd of the playoffs for the 1-0 lead.
Next, Texas got into a bit of penalty trouble. The Stars took two consecutive delay of game penalties and were bested on both. Spencer Machacek scored his 4th of the playoffs to knot it at one on Hutchinson's delay of game penalty. Coach Gulutzan felt the Stars were really playing out of position on that particular PK and it ended up costing them
Then, 3 minutes later, the Stars were down 5-on-3 due to a Matt Stephenson cross-checking penalty. Nathan Oystrick collected his first of the playoffs on the ensuing advantage. "You can kill the ones where a guy saves a goal or puts someone through the endwall but when you flip two pucks over the glass and take a cross-check," said Coach Gulutzan "those hurt you. I think it took away our energy."
Texas struck again to close out the scoring in the period at 11:37. With Riley Holzapfel in the box fro tripping, Aaron Gagnon found twine on a shot that beat Mannino stick-side high against the post. The period ended in a 2-2 tie.
Things got out of hand in the 2nd period. Chicago opened the scoring in the period with a Brett Sterling goal at 5:11. Off the faceoff, he patiently waited out Brent Krahn moving across the goal mouth and managed to roof it after Krahn committed low for the 3-2 lead. Texas took 6 minutes worth of penalties in the period, including a double minor to Wathier which overlapped by 12 seconds with Morin's minor. The penalty killers were tired and almost made it through. Nathan Oystrick got his second of the night with 88 seconds left in the period and just over a minute left on Wathier's penalty. Texas was down 4-2 to close the 2nd. They were outshot 13-2 in the second period.
The Stars have not managed a comeback win yet in these playoffs. They had also yet to lose on home ice. Something had to give going into the third.
Matt Climie came out for the third period to see his first AHL playoff action for the Texas Stars. Krahn had given up 4 goals on 22 shots and Texas needed some momentum going into the 3rd. I don't think it gets any more complicated than that.
Chicago tacked on one more 7 minutes in on a breakaway by Spencer Machacek. Andrew Hutchinson defended the pass on the two on one but Machacek didn't need the extra man as he beat Climie clean on the stick-side low.
Down 5-2 with 5 minutes left, Texas got something of a breath of life. Perttu Lindgren scored his second of the night and 3rd of the playoffs with a stick-side high snapshot on Mannino. With time winding down, Texas went on the offensive and managed to draw a high-sticking call on hockey relic Chris Chelios. Mathieu Beaudoin pleaded with the refs for a double minor for drawing blood, trying to show the gash he had received in his mouth. Terry Koharski disagreed and only gave 2 minutes. Despite 17 shots in the period, Texas would score no more. The game was over at 5-3.
Even the most casual observer of tonight's stat sheet will instantly know what happened in tonight's game. Texas lost the momentum because they took 'dumb' penalties that they didn't need to and then couldn't lock it down on the PK. Texas allowed 3 PP goals on 7 opportunites. It's easy to look back now but if you take those goals away, the game goes in Texas's favor. Texas wants to play 5-on-5 because that's where they excelled tonight.
Tomorrow's game is essential. If Texas can't win, then the Wolves can close it out on Friday. Right now though, the series is scored the same as if each team had won their home games. The momentum is certainly different, and we will see if Texas rebounds tomorrow.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Korostin, Shelast, Ty. Ludwig, Chupp, Gazdic (scratched)
Coach Gulutzan shuffled the lines in the 2nd half of game two to tonight's lineup and got some good chemistry out of it. He wanted to try it again tonight. Clearly the score was not a product of the lines though, it was the conga line to the sin bin.
Tonight's attendance was 3,046.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Chicago - May 4 2010