Mueller’s OT Goal Gives Texas Stars 3-2 Series Lead
Advantage Texas Stars. Chris Mueller’s goal 3:18 into overtime lifted the Stars to a 3-2 victory over Grand Rapids in Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals Friday night at Van Andel Arena in Michigan. The Stars now have a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Mueller took a pass from Kevin Henderson off the rush and beat Griffins goaltender Peter Mrazek with a blast from the right circle to move the Stars to within one victory of advancing to the next round.
Game 6 of the series is Sunday in Cedar Park.
Mike Hedden and Brendan Ranford scored in regulation for Texas. Jack Campbell got the start in goal and stopped 34 of 36 shots before leaving the game late in the third period due to an injury. Cristopher Nilstorp took over and stopped all four shots, including three in overtime, to pick up the victory.
Hedden opened the scoring in the game, tallying on the power play when he tipped in a Jyrki Jokipakka shot 6:36 into the game to put the Stars up 1-0. Just 59 seconds later, Curtis McKenzie backhanded the puck from behind the goal line to Ranford, who scored from the top of the crease to put the Stars up 2-0.
Grand Rapids outshot the Stars 16-7 in the second period and scored twice to tie the game. Mitch Callahan scored on the power play at the 11:27 mark, tipping in a Tomas Jurco shot to make it a 2- 1 game. The Griffins pulled even late in the period. A couple minutes after Campbell stopped Xavier Ouellet on a penalty shot, Teemu Pulkkinen scored off a blast from the right circle to tie the game with 2:03 left in the period.
Grand Rapids had a 16-11 shots advantage in a scoreless third period. Campbell made 15 of those saves, but left the game with 1:59 remaining after making a sharp stop on Grand Rapids forward Cory Emmerton. Nilstorp took over and played into overtime, where Mueller delivered the game-winner for Texas.
*Stars center Justin Dowling left the game in the first period with an undisclosed injury and did not return.
*Texas forward Toby Petersen did not play Friday due to injury. He was replaced in the lineup by Derek Hulak.
*Texas forward Brendan Ranford scored his seventh goal of the playoffs. Ranford is tied for the AHL playoff lead in goal scoring.
*Texas forward Mike Hedden extended his playoff points streak to six games (three goals, three assists).
*Grand Rapids outshot Texas 40-29 in the game.
*The Stars were 1-3 on the power play and 3-4 on the penalty kill.