Robby Fabbri's first goal since Nov. 23 helped the St. Louis Blues get one game closer to the franchise's first Stanley Cup as St. Louis bested the Dallas Stars 3-2 in Game 1 of their second-round series.
While the Stars answered when John Klingberg sent the puck across the face of the net for Jason Spezza to slap home, the Blues' Vladimir Tarasenko finished Dallas off for good with two goals, his third and fourth of this postseason.
The Stars outshot the Blues 29-20 but couldn't finish off their near chances and fell into droughts where they struggled to get the puck on target.
By the time Dallas began really crowding the net and challenging Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington, it was too late. The Stars snuck in a controversial power-play goal with two minutes and five seconds left in the third period.
St. Louis' success scoring—specifically Tarasenko—might in part have been because the Stars were without defenseman Jamie Oleksiak, who was ruled out with a lower-body injury after appearing in the last four games of Dallas' first-round series against Nashville.
Regardless of who is playing defense for Dallas, Tarasenko getting hot to start the series is the best-case scenario for the Blues.
In nearly every team category, the Blues and Stars were indiscernible. Both teams scored a power-play goal. The Blues won 29 faceoffs to the Stars' 28. Each team committed five penalties. And so on. St. Louis being able to count on its star to swing the pendulum in an evenly matched series is crucial.
Perhaps the most encouraging note the Blues can take with them from Game 1, though, is Binnington's ability to hold up against the Stars' third-period ambush. Through the first two periods, Dallas had 12 shots compared to 17 shots on goal in the third period alone.
Binnington's play paired with consistent dominance by Tarasenko, who now sits fourth in Blues history with nine postseason power-play goals and third in multigoal postseason games, will make the Blues a tough out.
St. Louis will again host Dallas for Game 2 on Saturday beginning at 3 p.m. ET.