Dallas Stars

Bishop stayed cool, Binnington blew up as Stars even series

Dallas Stars coach Jim Montgomery before playing the St. Louis Blues in Game 5 of their Western Conference Semifinals series

Dallas Stars coach Jim Montgomery discusses his teams playoff series against the St. Louis Blues, which is tied 2-2.
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Dallas Stars coach Jim Montgomery discusses his teams playoff series against the St. Louis Blues, which is tied 2-2.

The St. Louis Blues made their run since January on the back of their rookie goalie Jordan Binnington.

He was outstanding the final three months of the regular season and carried that into the playoffs.

The same goes for the Dallas Stars and their Vezina Trophy finalist Ben Bishop. The 32-year-old veteran has been the team’s rock while leading the league in goals against average.

But in Game 4, the rookie lost his cool and the veteran stayed poise as the Stars evened the series at 2-2 with a 4-2 win Wednesday night. Game 5 is at 8:30 p.m. Friday at Enterprise Center in St. Louis, Mo.

“I thought they lost a little bit of their emotional control but they played well in the third period and regrouped well,” Stars coach Jim Montgomery said. “They’re a good hockey team.”

Dallas Stars defenseman Ben Lovejoy describes the home crowd at the American Airlines Center in the Stars' Western Conference semifinal playoff series against the St. Louis Blues.

In the final minutes of the second period, tempers began to flare for St. Louis. Forward David Perron slashed Bishop behind the net. Moments later, Binnington was assessed two minor penalties for punching Jamie Benn and slashing Bishop as they skated off the ice for intermission. Everyone, including Binnington, downplayed the penalties.

“Stuff happens. I don’t really remember,” Binnington said. “It’s playoff hockey and [Benn] is an effective guy and we just have to handle him.”

Blues coach Craig Berube was unmoved by the escalating emotions, specifically from his goalie. The Stars were the more desperate team, he said, “and we didn’t match that desperation in the first two periods.”

“I’m not sure exactly what all happened and how it all escalated, but it’s playoffs,” he said “Both teams are heated. It’s emotional and things happened. [Binnington] is competitive. I don’t know what Jamie Benn is doing skating down there and getting in Binnington’s face. He is just reacting a little bit to it. He is a competitor.”

If the Blues’ plan was to rattle Bishop, it backfired, Montgomery said.

“I think their game plan was to get Ben Bishop off his game,” Montgomery said. “I think it was Binnington who got off his game a little bit.”

But Montgomery doesn’t think the emotions will carry over to Game 5. Or, more to his point, the overall emotions of a tied series going into Game 5 doesn’t need any additional emotional fireworks.

“I think next game we start fresh. I don’t think there is carryover from one game to another,” he said. “I don’t think it really exists. We start the first period and the team that starts asserting their will first will be the team that takes advantage of the first period anyway.”

St. Louis Blues coach Craig Berube said the Dallas Stars 'wanted it more' in the first two periods in Game 4 Wednesday night.

Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn said the line changes in Game 4 helped spark offense to 4-2 win.

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Stefan Stevenson has been covering sports for the Star-Telegram since 1997. He spent five years covering TCU athletics, which included two BCS bowls, two trips to the college World Series and the move to the Big 12. He has covered the Texas Rangers since 2014 and started reporting on the Dallas Cowboys in 2016.
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