Going Out with a Bang (Stars Gazing; 12.31.22)

Ross James/ALOST

akoiki-passport2 – by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief

DALLAS — Less than a week ago, playing in the National Hockey League would have been a realistic New Year’s resolution for Dallas Stars forward Fredrik Olofsson, who was still in the minor leagues looking for his first opportunity in the big leagues. Now a member of the parent club, Olofsson scratched another bucket list item off tonight, and before the ball dropped to usher in 2023.

Olofsson scored his first National Hockey League goal in the second period to break a second-period tie, and it proved to be the game winner in the Stars’ 5-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks inside American Airlines Center on Saturday evening. Former Shark Joe Pavelski had three assists, including the primary assist on Olofsson’s goal, as Dallas closes out the calendar year on a four-game winning streak.

Olofsson was called up to the Stars from the AHL’s Texas Stars club on Tuesday, and found himself on the scoresheet just a few days later. Pavelski gave the rookie a perfect cross-ice pass toward the left side of the crease, where Olofsson beat Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson and tipped Pavelski’s pass just past the right pad of the sprawling James Reimer in goal at the 10:45 mark of the second period.

“In the neutral zone there I just, for some reason, your instincts kind of take over and I’m like, ‘I’m going backdoor,'” Olofsson said. “Luckily, [Pavelski] is thinking the same thing right away. He was just waiting, waiting, waiting. [The defense] was sleeping and then tap-in. Hats off to him. That’s a play he does in his sleep. For me, it was just go to the hard areas and put it in.”

Along with the three assists, Pavelski scored the first goal for the Stars on the power play midway though the first to tie the score after Alexander Barabanov’s opener for San Jose at 5:13. Dallas’s second power play goal of the night, from leading scorer Jason Robertson a, came just 2:12 after Pavelski’s goal to give Dallas its first lead.

Dallas scored both goals in the third to seal the game, with Roope Hintz tallying shorthanded at 15:18 before Esa Lindell’s empty-net goal to create the final margin.

*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Saturday evening’s game, with all photos taken by Dallas-area photographer Ross James. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 11 pictures in total.

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