Game Review – 10/15/08 (DAL vs NSH)

by Chelsea

Game:

Last night, in what could be called a grudge match, we took on the Nashville Predators only four days after our 3-1 loss to them. This time, though, the Stars had the home turf advantage.

Our starting line was centered by Mike Modano, with James Neal and BJ Crombeen on his wings. Our starting defensemen were Matt Niskanen and Trevor Daley. And, of course, Marty Turco was in the net.

The puck dropped at 7:30, starting a nearly-scoreless first period. There was considerable struggle between the two teams, each fighting for possession for five minutes of uninterrupted play. When Greg Zanon (NSH) was called for hooking at 5:16, Dallas went on their first power play and almost produced their first goal. Stars captain Brenden Morrow was (apparently pushed) in the way of Nashville goaltender Dan Ellis, allowing for a goal by Loui Eriksson that was quickly reviewed and denied. No goal, and Morrow was given 2 minutes in the penalty box for goalie interference.

The Stars effectively killed off the following Predator power play. Then, it was our turn to go on power play when Shea Weber took a two minute for holding. No luck with that one either, though.

It was in the last minute of the first period, when Predator Patric Hornqvist got himself a holding penalty and put us on power play again. Modano won the faceoff, sending the puck to Ribeiro, who sent it to Robidas for a nice one-timer goal at 19:50.

And so ended the first period. I was hoping to win a signed puck, having correctly predicted that Robidas would get the night’s first goal. No luck, but yay for Robi anyway. Intermission involved more people dressed as beer taunting each other, and a moustache.

The second period was probably the most exciting second period we’ve seen so far this season. It had a wonderful start, with Mike Modano claiming the second goal of the night at 0:29. Rookies James Neal and BJ Crombeen got the assists.

The momentum of the game began to turn at 1:58, when Brenden Morrow took a penalty for elbowing. We all went “Really, elbowing?” and watched him take his walk of shame. Eight seconds before he’d be released from the box, Nashville’s Radek Bonk, with help from Martin Erat and Rich Peverley whipped past Daley and Niskanen to score on Turco.

Things worsened for the Stars when, at 9:04, the Predators scored again to tie the game. This one was an a career first for rookie Hornqvist, who was in his fourth NHL game. Assists were credited to Shea Weber and Ryan Suter.

We got the first hat trick of the night when Brenden Morrow was sent to the box for a third and final time at 9:28, for hooking. I’m sure he was celebrating his penalty hat trick as he watched the team successfully kill off the Nashville power play.

Fellow SHR girl and I had only just finished noting how amazing it would be if Fabian Brunnstrom were to score in his NHL debut, following the footsteps of fellow rookie James Neal, when Brunnstrom (or as he’s affectionately known here, “Bunny”) showed us all why we’re glad that he didn’t choose Detroit.

At 11:45, Toby Petersen directed a perfect pass to Brunnstrom, who was unchallenged in front of Ellis. Brunnstrom tapped it in, breaking the 2-2 tie in our favor. Philippe Boucher got the other assist.

Two minutes later, at 13:50, Ryan Jones tied it up again. Ryan Suter and Rich Peverley got the assists.

In what would become an extremely-helpful trend, Brunnstrom once again broke the tie in favor of the Stars. At 14:13, not even three minutes after his first NHL goal, Brunnstrom scored again. This time, the assists came from Brad Richards, who passed the puck to Sean Avery, who sent it to Brunnstrom. Brunnstrom swooped in from the right of the net and popped it in past Ellis.

I think it was around here that I made a comment something along the lines of, “Wouldn’t it be nice if the Predators tied it so Bunny could come out and break it for a hat trick?” that earned me some not-nice glares for possibly jinxing the game. I was totally kidding, though. Besides, the second period ended without Nashville retaliating, at 4-3 Stars.

Daryl “Razor” Reaugh interviewed Brunnstrom during intermission, where he credited good passes and good timing for his two goals.

The third period started with more of the intense struggle we saw during the first two, each side piling on the penalties and neither scoring on the power play.

First was Shea Weber, who got two minutes for hooking at 1:09. Then, James Neal got his first NHL penalty at 4:36 for boarding (the guy did get his nose smashed into the glass, but it hardly seemed intentional). Toby Petersen joined him at 6:15 for another elbowing (“Really, elbowing?”). At 7:44, Shea Weber took another sit down in the box, this time for interference. Stephane Robidas tackled a Predator at 8:52 and got himself a holding penalty.

It wasn’t until after all this, at 10:59, that Nashville claimed a highly-disputable goal from under the highly-crowded Marty Turco. The official on the ice declared it a goal, but it was sent in for review. As even then they couldn’t figure out what happened to the puck, since there were about fifty people in Turco’s crease, they decided the call on the ice would stand. I might add here that Mark Fistric had about twenty chances to clear the puck from the crease, had he only realized that he was supposed to do more than stand there and get in the way. Ahem.

Goal was given to Martin Erat, with an assist from Ryan Jones.

When we passed the 15-minute mark into the third without breaking the tie, the word “overtime” traveled around the AAC in anxious murmurs. We wanted to win. We really, really wanted to win.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t delighted to see Brunnstrom hovering around the net again. We needed a tie breaker, big time.

At 16:35, Fabian Brunnstrom managed to do what only two others in NHL history had ever managed. He scored a hat trick in his NHL debut. Defenseman Nicklas Grossman delivered the puck along the boards to Brad Richards, who was behind the Nashville net. Richards, in a move of either desperation or trust, passed to Brunnstrom. Brunnstrom was in front of the net, but heavily covered by Radek Bonk (NSH) with barely room to make a move. Somehow, though, he still managed to elevate the puck and slip it in behind Ellis once again.

The crowd exploded into wild applause, and it rained hats. Fabian Brunnstrom celebrated and looked on as the Ice Girls cleaned up the ice, in what could be described as a happy shock. We cheered until we ran out of oxygen. Then we cheered more.

Brunnstrom almost broke the record for goals in an NHL game when he scored again, but he’d taken the shot right after an official had blown the whistle for stoppage of play.

Nashville called a time out here, giving us all a chance to sit in awe over Brunnstrom’s hat trick. They decided to pull their goalie and put out an extra attacker. We were not fazed.

At 19:56, Mike Modano collected the puck after a blocked attempt by the Predators to score. In true Modano fashion, he smacked it across our blue line, where it traveled uninhibited through center ice. As the Predators watched helplessly, the puck sailed with perfect accuracy into their open net. It was the icing on our victory cake.

The game ended 6-4 Stars.

Notes:

  • The three game stars, in order: Fabian Brunnstrom (DAL), Mike Modano (DAL), Martin Erat (NSH)
  • Marty Turco played the entire game, allowing 4 goals in 19 shots for an unimpressive .785 Sv%.
  • Fabian Brunnstrom played his NHL debut, getting a hat trick. The only two other players to ever achieve this were Alex Smart of the Montreal Canadiens (1943) and Real Cloutier of the Quebec Nordiques (1979).
  • Brenden Morrow led the team in penalty minutes with 6.
  • Mike Modano was quoted as saying that playing on a line with rookies James Neal and BJ Crombeen rubbed off on him, “Sometimes youth can energize us old guys.”
  • Only three Stars were in the +/- negative for the game; Mike Ribeiro, Krys Barch, and Loui Eriksson.
  • Joel Lundqvist led the team in hits, with 8.
  • Stephane Robidas was the shift and ice time leader, with 26 shifts and 25 minutes.
  • Conclusion: The Stars finally started looking more like the team we saw in the playoffs, with a few exceptions – where’s the skill we’ve come to expect from Turco and Ribeiro?
Official SHR +/-:
Nicklas Grossman: two for the assist and two for good defense; +4
Stephane Robidas: three for the goal and two for good defense; +5
Matt Niskanen: three for having Turco’s back and good defense; +3
Trevor Daley: one for having Turco’s back; +1
Mike Modano: three for each goal, two for the assist, and two for style; +8
Brenden Morrow: two for the assist and minus-one for the penalty that NSH scored on the PP of; +1
Sean Avery: two for the assist, one for hitting someone that hit Brunnstrom, minus-four for sloppyness; -1
Toby Petersen: two for the assist; +2
James Neal: two for the assist and one for energizing Modano; +3
Mark Fistric: minus-two for sloppy defense and minus-two for repeated skate-bys; -4
Marty Turco: two for some good saves and minus-two for seeming otherwise off his game again; +0
Joel Lundqvist: two for leading in hits; +2
Philippe Boucher: two for the assist and two for good defense; +4
BJ Crombeen: two for the assist and one for energizing Modano; +3
Mike Ribeiro: two for the assist; +2
Brad Richards: two for each assist and one for leading in faceoff %; +5
Fabian Brunnstrom: three for each goal and two for beautiful gameplay; +11
Off-Ice:
Mike Ribeiro: one for tossing a puck over the glass to a fan after the skate around before the game; +1
Fabian Brunnstrom: one for his interview and one for keeping the three pucks of his hat trick (see pic); +2

Bunny and his hat trick pucks

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2 Comments to “Game Review – 10/15/08 (DAL vs NSH)”

  1. Ribbons throwing out his puck after skate around was precious, that girl was so excited after she left the glass! Her friend however, didn’t look too pleased lol.

  2. Can you blame her friend? :]

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