The Stars scored four consecutive goals, including two in the first period to take a three-goal lead into the third period.
The Stars mixed up their front line for the first time in the playoffs, using Jason Dickinson, Tyler Seguin and Mats Zuccarello to start before changing to Jamie Benn, Roope Hintz and Alexander Radulov.
“It looks like it worked tonight, right,” Dickinson said. “Seguin gets a couple of points. I get a goal. It’s one of those things where when it happens it looks great but if nothing happens tonight then nobody even says anything about it. I think what it comes down to is personally guys elevating their game.”
In the final minutes of the second, tensions began to erupt with Dallas goalie Ben Bishop taking a stick to the back and Benn take shot to the face from St. Louis goalie Jordan Binnington. As Binnington left the ice for intermission, he slashed Bishop. Binnington was assessed two minors for roughing and slashing to put the Stars on a power play to start the third period.
All of the drama sets up Game 5 which is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. Friday at Enterprise Center in St. Louis, Mo. Game 6 is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday at the AAC. Game 7, if necessary, would be back in St. Louis on Tuesday.
“I think it gets built up the more you go in the playoffs,” Bishop said. “Each round it gets more emotional.”
Dickinson’s high sticking penalty gave the Blues the first power play of the game and Vladimir Tarasenko scored past Bishop’s glove on the right side of the net to give St. Louis a 1-0 lead five minutes into the game.
The altered lines, however, worked, and Dickinson tied it up with an equalizer. He punched in a deflection from Seguin as he was falling down in front of the net. Jason Spezza gave Dallas a 2-1 lead with less than a minute remaining in the first with a power play goal on an assist from Radulov. It was the first time the lead has changed in eight games between Dallas and St. Louis (including four in the regular season) this season.
“I give them advance warning that I’d like to switch lines and the players were really good,” Stars coach Jim Montgomery said. “I never heard once all year, never heard a player complain. They all rolled with it. And now because we’ve done it all year, they easily just assimilate with whoever they’re playing with.”
The Stars scored twice in the second to build a three-goal lead. John Klingberg shot one in midway through the period after Zuccarello helped set up a play in the neutral zone before feeding Seguin, who fed Klingberg for the wide open shot. Hintz scored with 2:32 left in the period to push the lead to 4-1. Dallas outshot St. Louis 26-17 in the first two periods.
Robert Thomas scored with six minutes left in the game to pull the Blues to within 4-2. St. Louis went without a goalie for an extra skater in the final few minutes but the Dallas defense held the two-goal lead. The Blues outshot the Stars 12-5 in the final period.
“I think we came to work and work smart,” Dickinson said. “I think the first two periods for sure.”