Defense and goaltending take back seat in Dallas Stars 13-goal scrimmage

Jason Spezza fires a shot at practice on Sunday. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

Jason Spezza fires a shot at practice on Sunday. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

CEDAR PARK — The final scrimmage of Dallas Stars Training Camp in Central Texas was the most entertaining with 13 combined goals.

It was the first scrimmage Jamie Benn and Ales Hemsky participated in and had more Star power — pun completely intended — than any other scrimmage with Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza, Patrick Sharp, Johnny Oduya, John Klingberg, and Antti Niemi all participating.

But, it also unearthed some familiar wounds from the 2014-15 season.

The defense struggled and left the goaltenders out to dry, and the goaltenders didn’t do enough to help themselves.

It started in the first period, where both teams missed the memo about playing defense and combined for seven goals on 18 shots in the opening stanza.

Antti Niemi had more goals allowed (four) than shots stopped in the period (three). He was beaten by Remi Elie, Seguin, Emil Molin, and Mads Eller.

To be fair to Niemi, he didn’t have too much help.

Elie skated in untouched and sniped a shot off the crossbar. Seguin was set up all alone in front for a one-timer from Antoine Roussel.

Eller and Molin also had extra time and space to take a shot, but the Finnish goalie should have made both saves.

At the other end Jack Campbell turned away eight of 11 shots in the first period, as Curtis McKenzie, Cole Ully, and Travis Morin scored for Team Green.

“Loose today compared to the previous days,” Dallas coach Lindy Ruff said. “You get to third and fourth day of camp, and it seems the scrimmage becomes a little bit more about trying to score. I really thought tremendous speed — speed that you can’t defend against — but I thought we did somethings with the puck that I didn’t like.”

The avalanche of goals slowed in the second period when Team Green took a 5-4 lead.

Benn scored on a pretty passing play with Jason Spezza. The Stars captain left a drop pass and then finished with a one-timer after a slick pass through a maize of bodies by Spezza.

Ully then scored his second goal of the scrimmage, continuing an impressive training camp showing by the 20-year-old.

Ully’s second goal was the first against Maxime Lagace, who entered the game in relief for Niemi.

Niemi finished with seven saves on 11 shots, while Campbell stopped 12 of 16 attempts. John Muse stopped 6 of 8 shots in relief for Team Green, while Lagace stopped 7 of 10 shots after relieving Campbell.

The teams traded goals in the third period — Vernon Fiddler for Team White and Morin for Team Green — as Team Green took a 6-5 victory in regulation before five minutes of 3-on-3 overtime to close the session.

Team Green started 3-on-3 with Benn, Spezza, and Klingberg and that trio promptly scored against Team White’s starting three of Justin Dowling, Elie, and Lindell.

Jason Demers countered later in the 3-on-3 session when he slammed home a one-timer off a pass by Seguin.

Team White then tried to tie the game and pulled the goalie for a 4-on-3, but couldn’t capitalize.


Team White:
Antoine Roussel-Tyler Seguin-Patrick Sharp
Remi Elie-Justin Dowling-Matej Stransky
Brandon Magee-Vernon-Fiddler-Mads Eller/Emil Molin

Johnny Oduya-Jason Demers
Jamie Oleksiak-Esa Lindell
Aaron Hayden-Brennan Evans

Jack Campbell
Maxime Lagace

Team Green:
Jamie Benn-Jason Spezza-Colton Sceviour
Curtis McKenzie-Radek Faksa-Ales Hemsky
Gemel Smith-Travis Morin-Cole Ully

Jordie Benn-John Klingberg
Patrik Nemeth-Stephen Johns
Ludwig Bystrom-Matt Mangene

Antti Niemi
John Muse

Practice group:
Brendan Ranford-Cody Eakin-Branden Troock/Derek Hulak
Valeri Nichuskin-Jason Dickinson-Patrick Eaves
Mattias Janmark-Devin Shore-Taylor Peters

Alex Goligoski-Jyrki Jokipakka
Mattias Backman-Jesse Blacker
Alex Peters-Julius Honka

Kari Lehtonen
Philippe Desrosiers


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