|Alex Chiasson in tonight's game (Credit: Josh Rasmussen/Texas Stars)
"There wasn't a lot of room out there," said Coach Desjardins. "Milwaukee played a great game, and we just got a couple of breaks. They're so hard to create on. There were a few flurries [of shots] in the game, but otherwise it was tight."
Chiasson, who scored six goals in seven NHL games to end the season in Dallas, was reinserted in his usual spot with Mike Hedden and Justin Dowling. The line's chemistry was undeniable from the first shift. Chiasson's goal came in his first game back from injury after a collision with Niklas Hjalmarsson of the Blackhawks.
"[Chiasson] hasn't played for a while," added Desjardins. "It was a really tough game for him to come back and play. It's a sign of maturity. He prepared himself and battled."
Kevin Connauton added a power play insurance goal to set the final score at 2-0.
The two teams came out of the gate playing some extremely quick end-to-end hockey. The pace slowed down to the more expected defensive game as the first wore on. Despite the track meet start, the period ended with no score.
The second unfolded in a little bit more plodding of a fashion. Shots were 7-4 for Milwaukee after Texas outshot the Ads 15-6 in the first. The teams traded chances on the power play, but Texas's #2 ranked power play had some trouble creating.
It all came down to the third period for the two clubs. Chiasson's goal came as he bumped Chris Mueller off the puck and passed to Dowling. Dowling sent the puck back to Chiasson, who tipped it past Hellberg for the 1-0 lead.
"You want to be that player, the guy who steps up. There's a lot of guys here who can do that. I'm glad to be back here and helping the team win."
Shortly afterwards, Kevin Henderson took an extremely undisciplined penalty, checking Kevin Connauton after an icing touchup.
"If you want to win, you have to stay out of the box," said Desjardins. "It's an emotional game. There's a lot going on, but we have to stay out of the box and we know that. The guys are committed to doing that."
Texas went to the power play, their fourth of the night. Connauton, who drew the penalty, ended up cashing in. From the point, his shot found twine to make it 2-0. Joe Morrow and Reilly Smith collected the assists.
Milwaukee would pull Hellberg with two minutes remaining in the game. Texas twice had chances at the empty net from 200 feet away but just missed. In the end, Nilstorp stood tall to earn the goose egg by a 2-0 mark.
Friday's game is a potential series clincher for the Stars. If so, it would be the first series decided on the Cedar Park Center ice in franchise history.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Vause, McKenzie, Klingberg, Sloan, Wrenn, Jokipakka, Sonne, Cameron, Faksa, Todd, Commodore (scratch)
Glennie was inserted between Smith and Ritchie, creating a very 'top six' looking third line. Coach Desjardins thought Glennie's play with "really strong". It looks like that line will stay together.
Travis Morin was in and out of the lines tonight. Petersen and R. Smith cycled in. No word on any injury that might be affect the Stars' all-time leading scorer.
Tonight's attendance was 4,656.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Milwaukee - May 1 2013