Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk could only raise his arms in disbelief.
He didn’t know how the Dallas Stars were awarded a goal after the puck bounced off a couple of skates behind the net, somehow ricocheted off the back of his helmet and into the net early in the second period.
As the old hockey saying goes, some nights the puck just doesn’t bounce your way. It did for the Stars, though, and it might be a sign that good fortune is with the top-seeded Western Conference team for what it hopes is a deep playoff run.
That goal credited to Antoine Roussel might become a series-defining moment. The Stars didn’t surrender the lead from that point on, holding on for a 2-1 victory in Game 2 on Saturday night at American Airlines Center.
“Felt I got lucky on that one,” Roussel said. “I was trying to kick it back on my stick and ... just perfect. Looked like a [Sidney] Crosby goal or something.”
Dallas took advantage of that goal and its home ice to start the series. The Stars have a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series with Game 3 scheduled for Monday night in Minnesota.
Captain Jamie Benn sealed the victory with a breakaway goal midway through the third period for a 2-0 lead. He got free for a one-on-one showdown with Dubnyk and buried the puck in the net with 9:37 left in the game.
The Wild answered with a power-play goal by Marco Scandella with 7:18 left in the game, the first goal of the series given up by Kari Lehtonen. But that’s as close as the Wild came with Lehtonen and the defense milking the clock down the stretch.
And to think the news of the day going into the game had been the return of standout forward Tyler Seguin from an Achilles injury.
But the biggest story of the night centered on one of the most bizarre goals imaginable in a game. The Wild, understandably, wasn’t happy about it afterward.
“The puck is kicked and somehow they have enough to overturn the ref’s call,” Dubnyk said. “It’s mind-blowing that that’s the outcome of that play.”
Added Wild defenseman Matt Dumba: “I don't know if anyone can really riddle me how that's a goal in the National Hockey League, but it was.”
Nobody in the Stars’ locker room apologized for the call. As Benn said, “It’s not our call. It’s the refs call. We caught a break I guess.”
The goal was scored with skates, not sticks, less than four minutes into the second period. The Wild was trying to clear it out from behind its own net but was met by a couple Stars.
The puck hit off forward Ales Hemsky’s skate and headed back behind the net. The wobbly puck then bounced off Roussel’s skate and took an upward path over the goal.
Somehow, it cleared the crossbar and hit the back of Dubnyk’s helmet. Dubnyk skated backward into the goal and lifted it off its moorings. Simultaneously, the puck slid down his back and crossed the goal-line.
Upon a lengthy review, the officials determined the puck had cleared the goal line before the net moved, which gave the Stars the goal and lead.
“I’ve seen the puck go in there many ways, but not like that,” Roussel said.
The home crowd went crazy. All Dubnyk and the Wild could do was look on with disbelief.
That seemed to take some life out of the Wild and the Stars appeared to put the game out of reach with Benn’s goal. But the Wild made it interesting late with the power play goal and had a couple chances in the final seconds.
The puck simply bounced the Stars’ way, fittingly. But they’re not ready to bank on luck going forward.
“It’s just going to get harder,” Benn said. “Their compete and their will to win is going to raise. They’re a good team. It’s going to be hard to go into their building and get a win.”
First Period—None. Penalties—Scandella, Min (hooking), 8:28; Dallas bench, served by Sharp (too many men), 9:39; Hemsky, Dal (slashing), 13:08; Suter, Min (tripping), 16:45.
Second Period—1, Dal, Roussel 1 (Hemsky), 3:54. Penalties—Zucker, Min (cross-checking), 5:41; Stoll, Min (tripping), 11:32; Carter, Min, misconduct, 11:32.
Third Period—2, Dal, Ja.Benn 2 (Eakin), 10:23. 3, Min, Scandella 1 (Dumba, Zucker), 12:42 (pp). Penalties—Spezza, Dal (hooking), 4:04; Oduya, Dal (holding stick), 10:59; Pominville, Min (tripping), 17:08; Eaves, Dal (cross-checking), 19:54.
Shots on Goal—Min 7-11-8—26. Dal 14-10-4—28; Power plays—Min 1 of 5; Dal 0 of 5. Goalies—Min, Dubnyk 0-2-0 (28 shots-26 saves). Dal, Lehtonen 2-0-0 (26-25). A—18,988 (18,532). T—2:48.