Taylor Fedun was in the middle of eating dinner at home Friday night when the phone call came.
Forty-five minutes before the Stars were set to take the ice against Vegas, Fedun learned that John Klingberg wouldn’t be suiting up as he was excused for a personal matter. That meant for the first time in six games, Fedun wasn’t going to be a healthy scratch as originally planned. He was in the lineup.
“I put it in high gear and boogied over here,” Fedun said.
Fedun didn’t make it to American Airlines Center in time for the team’s 6:30 pregame warmup.
Turns out, he didn’t need to.
Fifteen minutes, 14 seconds into his first game since Nov. 26, Fedun rocketed a shot through traffic and past Golden Knights netminder Malcolm Subban’s glove side to give Dallas an early lead in what became an eventual 3-2 overtime loss.
It was Fedun’s second goal of the season — a nice reward amidst an otherwise chaotic evening.
“It was a good possession and a great shot,” Stars interim coach Rick Bowness said. “That’s a hard-working goal. You’re not going to get a lot of pretty goals in this league, especially against that team, and you’ve got to get some hard-working goals like that.”
One that exemplifies the type of player that Fedun is.
It was a little more than a year ago when the Princeton graduate was acquired by the Stars in a mid-November trade with Buffalo. An AHL veteran fighting just to see the ice at the time of the deal, Fedun pounced on his opportunity with the big club when he was called up from Texas as a fill-in replacement on a wounded Dallas defense. He became a regular contributor, even seeing time in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, as he evolved into one of the Stars’ best stories of 2018-19.
This season, Fedun has again seen his share of ups and downs. Signed to a two-year, two-way contract in June, Fedun made the Stars’ opening night roster, but has seeing playing time in only 22 of 33 games.
Friday was certainly an unexpected positive.
“I think initially I had found some good spots to jump in offensively,” Fedun said of his night, where he finished as a plus-1 with 13:39 of ice time. “I think my legs were a little bit heavy, personally. Being out of the battle in the games, I think that’s gonna take a little bit of getting used to again, so I think there’s definitely some room for improvement there.”
Room for improvement, maybe. But he certainly impressed Bowness in helping the Stars earn another important point as they moved into a tie with Winnipeg for third place in the Central Division standings.
“He scored a big goal … that’s Feds,” Bowness said. “You can put Feds in any situation and he just deals with it.”
- Jamie Benn scored the tying goal late to force the extra period, but it wasn’t enough as Vegas’ Max Pacioretty took a long pass up ice while the Stars were in a change, hustling past defenseman Esa Lindell to pot the winner just 51 seconds into overtime.
- With his assist on Fedun’s first-period goal, Alexander Radulov now has points in three straight games.
- Esa Lindell notched his ninth point of the season with an assist.
- Stars goalie Ben Bishop turned aside 28 of 31 shots.
- The Stars finished 0-for-2 on the power play.
- Miro Heiskanen led the Stars in ice time with 24:39 followed by Lindell (24:04) and Roman Polak (20:26).
Courtesy Jeff Odom