|(Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)|
In stepped Jack Campbell, who was coming off his first win since December in what has been a rough season for the top pick. Campbell stopped 35 of 36 in relief plus 3 of 4 in the shootout to claim his first back-to-back victories since April 2013.
"It's always nice to step in and help the team the best you can," said Campbell, deflecting some praise. "It's a big win, and we'll take it. For the team's sake, it was awesome, and personally it feels nice. It feels so good to step up when the team needs me."
Campbell played a strong aggressive game. The only shot that beat him in regulation and OT was a point-blank blast that he had no chance on.
After hitting the end of regulation, Texas decided to play a more aggressive game overall in the overtime period.
Coach Laxdal said, "I told the guys, 'What do we have to lose in OT?'"
The attitude was typified most accurately in the two homerun passes that Jack Campbell attempted in the 3-on-3 segment.
Travis Morin described the scene, "Standing around while they're scraping the ice [Campbell] said, 'If I get it and catch it, just go.' and I said, 'Alright, I'll go.' He made an unbelievable save and then threw it up."
Campbell looked down and out late in the OT, but made an incredible glove grab and popped to his feet to find Morin on a breakaway. The shot ended up in Pickard's chest, but it was an exhilarating moment that Coach Laxdal pointed to as an example of why the NHL should move to 3-on-3 OT.
In the first period, Branden Troock had a nice 2-on-0 goal with newcomer Devin Shore on the assist. With the man power set at four each, Shore broke in with Troock against Pickard. After three passes between them, Troock buried the puck glove side for the 1-0 lead.
Texas found themselves on the penalty kill in the middle of the frame. Sam Henley took the first of his cut against the Stars with a power play goal on that shift with just four seconds left in the kill.
With the score tied at one, the second cut came when Henley bowled over Jussi Rynnas and landed awkwardly on the keeper, who immediately looked to be in pain. Rynnas went off limping, and Jack Campbell entered the game.
"Once and a while the team needs someone to step up," said Campbell. "[Lake Erie] came out ready to play tonight and put a lot of pucks to the net. Sometimes you have to make more saves than the other guy, and I'm so proud we got the win."
In the second period, the team traded power play goals. Cameron Gaunce, earning time on that second power play unit again, scored from the left point. His tally was as much his doing as the work of Brendan Ranford on the screen in front.
Unfortunately, that work was undone later in the period when the Stars all got caught below the goal line on the penalty kill. That left Stefan Elliot wide open on the right wing hashes. Ben Street sent him a nice pass, which Elliot had time to skate into for the one-timer past Campbell. The Texas netminder had no chance on the shot from point-blank range.
Jack Campbell continued to endure the barrage from Lake Erie in the third, stopping all 15 shots he faced in the frame. Overtime came and Texas had further theatrics from Campbell as the best two chances of the period came in rapid succession with Campbell's aforementioned save and Morin's breakaway off the pass from the netminder.
The Stars went to their second shootout of the year, a place where they've yet to win on the season. "We haven't had a lot of success this year," said Laxdal. "So we were going with the guys we knew, Smith and Ranford. You know, it'll be an HBO moment. Let's throw Morin in there. It was a little bit of karma that it worked out."
Morin looked far side and shot short side on Pickard for the win in the fourth round of the shootout after Brendan Ranford and the Monsters' Vincour each scored in the initial three rounds.
Texas hits the road for a string of games in the Midwest. Henri Kiviaho will join them in Chicago tomorrow to back up Jack Campbell.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
McKenzie, Ritchie (call up)
Root, Stransky (scratch)
Faksa, Honka (injury)
Tonight's attendance was 3,978.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Lake Erie - March 17 2015