Senators win fourth straight by beating hot Stars
OTTAWA — One man’s misfortune is another man’s big break. Such was the case for Magnus Hellberg on Monday.
After starting netminder Anton Forsberg was ruled out of the game due to injury, Hellberg came in to make just the third start of his NHL career. The first came almost nine years ago to the day.
All Hellberg did on Monday was make 29 saves as the Senators defeated the Dallas Stars 4-2.
“I’ve been waiting to get a start for a couple of weeks now, so obviously it was nice to finally be in net,” said Hellberg, who was claimed on waivers from the Seattle Kraken earlier this month.
Hellberg played one game with the Detroit Red Wings last season and then signed a contract with Seattle during the summer after spending the previous five seasons in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League.
“I have that inner drive to play at the best level and I feel that I can play in this league as a full-time job," he said. "Obviously I’m really happy that it worked out this summer and that I’m able to play in this league.”
Brady Tkachuk had a goal and an assist, while Shane Pinto scored in his fifth consecutive game in the win.
“It’s just going in for me right now. It’s getting pretty lucky but I’m just happy we found a way to win that one. That was another mature win by us and we just have to keep it rolling,” said Pinto, who is the first Senators’ rookie to score in five straight games.
Derick Brassard also scored in his season debut giving the Senators a 4-1 lead. Thomas Chabot had the other goal as the Senators (4-2-0) won for the fourth straight time.
The Senators were perfect on the penalty kill shutting down the Stars on their three chances. Killing those penalties was huge according to Senators coach DJ Smith.
“I thought our penalty kill was the difference and it settled us down. We started getting composure, got a little more emotionally involved and physical,” he said.
During their four-game winning streak the Senators have outscored the opposition 10-1 in the third period.
“We understand how hard we have to work in a game to get to the third period and not be down. I thought we worked really hard in the second to set that up,” Smith said.
Tkachuk had given the Senators a 2-1 lead five minutes into the third before Pinto made it 3-1 just under six minutes later.
Joel Kivirianta scored at 6:31of the first period and Wyatt Johnston scored late in the third to cut the Senators lead to 4-2. The Stars (4-1-1) recorded the first eight shots of the game as they came out hard at Hellberg, who had only made two previous NHL starts.
“I liked our start. I thought we came out of the gate really good. I thought as the game wore on, their commitment and energy increased and ours decreased, so we’ll have to look at why," said Stars coach Peter DeBoer.
"But you have to give them credit. They were the hungrier team for most of the game tonight. Tough to win in this league when that’s the case."
The Stars maintained their 1-0 lead late into the second period before Chabot ripped a point shot past Wedgewood at 19:23 of the period while the Senators were enjoying their third power play of the period.
Wedgewood was a wall stopping all 22 shots he faced up to that point. Hellberg was just as impressive at the other end of the ice with 20 saves as the game went into the third tied 1-1.
Denis Gurianov and Joel Hanley were scratches for the Stars on Monday, while Dylan Gambrell, Nikita Zaitsev and Anton Forsberg were scratches for the Senators. … Kevin Mandolese was the backup goaltender for the Senators as he was called up from the Belleville Senators of the AHL following the injury to Forsberg. … Dallas Stars have not lost any man games to injury so far this season. … The game was the first of two meetings between the Stars and Senators this season. They meet again in Dallas on Dec. 8.
The Dallas Stars will conclude their four-game road trip Tuesday night in Boston against the Bruins before starting a three-game homestand on Thursday against the Washington Capitals.
The Ottawa Senators conclude their six-game homestand Thursday against the Minnesota Wild and then head to Florida for a pair of games against the Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning on Oct. 29 and Nov. 1, respectively.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 24, 2022.
Note to readers: Corrects how Ottawa obtained Hellberg in fourth and fifth paragraphs.