Ross James/ALOST

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

DALLAS — It took just over two minutes from the start of tonight’s pivotal Game 5 for the Dallas Stars to be given a glorious opportunity to take early control of the game. The Stars took advantage almost immediately, then never let up afterward, and are now one win away from their first postseason series in three seasons.

Tyler Seguin scored his fourth power play goal of the series in the first period, one of two tallies scored by Dallas on the man advantage in the game’s first 20 minutes, as the Stars shut out the Minnesota Wild 4-0 inside American Airlines Center to take a 3-2 series lead. Roope Hintz had three assists to take his points total in this series to 11, a new Dallas Stars franchise record for points in a single playoff series.

Jake Oettinger made 27 saves for Dallas to record the first shutout of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Stars found themselves on the power play not too long after puck drop, as Minnesota’s Marcus Foligno was called for a five-minute major penalty for kneeing the Stars’ Radek Faksa at 2:14 of the period. Eight seconds after that call, Seguin scored on a rebound after a goal-mouth scramble to open the scoring.

Though the Stars were not able to score on the rest of the power play, which was truncated by an interference penalty of Dallas’ Miro Heiskanen, the amount of time the Wild spent with only four skaters eventually took its toll later in the period as it took another penalty, a cross check on Jake Middleton, at 10:47. Dallas took advantage again as Jason Robertson, who hit the post on a shot just seconds after the restart, got possession of the puck again before firing a wrist shot past Filip Gustavsson at 11:04 for a 2-0 advantage.

Nine of the Stars’ 17 goals in this series have come on the power play, with a conversion rate of 40.9 percent with the man advantage. This comes not too long after Joe Pavelski, who scored 13 power play goals this season and routinely is one of the best net-front presences in the league, suffered a concussion during the second period of Game 1 and has yet to feature in a game since.

“Our power play has been good all year. Those guys have a confidence level to them,” Stars head coach Pete DeBoer said. “Anytime you take Joe Pavelski off that unit, you wonder how it’s going to affect [the power play]. [Tyler Seguin] has been fantastic in that spot. He stuck his nose in there around the net and is getting rewarded for it. I’ve said this before that we came into this series knowing that Minnesota is one of the most penalized teams in the league. We knew we were going to get power plays. The goal was to make them pay for it, and we’re doing that, and we need to keep doing that.”

*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Tuesday 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 23 pictures in total.

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