Game Review – 10/20/08 (DAL at NYR)

by Chelsea

Game:

So, totally meant to do this last night, but after watching the game on DVR it was something like midnight and I had class this morning.

But here it is. Game one of the road trip, against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. It was the home of Sean Avery until he signed with Dallas, and the first time going against his old team this year. It is the home of Joel Lundqvist’s twin brother, Ranger goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.

First period, as far as the numbers go, was cringe-worthy. Only 25 seconds into the game, Loui Eriksson got a fairly debatable penalty for tripping and put the Rangers on their first power play. Right after that call, Avery saw an opportunity to engage his old teammates in with rather unfriendly chirping and shoving. Another Ranger stepped in, and a few of the Stars circled over to back up Avery. It was nice, to see Avery getting helped out by the team.

Back on the numbers thing, thirty seconds after this little altercation, at 0:58 in the first, Ranger Markus Laslund got a swift power play shot in on Marty Turco, putting them at a 1-0 lead. The assists went to Michal Rozsival and Scott Gomez.

Being down by one to the team in the league with the most points shook off any remaining lethargy we’d seen in the Stars. Their serious underdog complex took over, and (I thought) their play sharpened considerably. They outshot the Rangers 9-8 for the first period.

Also, but not very memorably, in the first was a small conflict between BJ Crombeen of the Stars and Brandon Dubinsky of the Rangers that earned them each two minute minors (for roughing and elbowing, respectively).

I fast-forwarded right through the first intermission.

Period two showed the same work ethic, to borrow the term of the month from the Stars, that we’d seen in the first. It was rewarded with a Stars power play when Ryan Callahan was called out for tripping at 4:13. Half-way through the PP, we had a special teams group of Stephane Robidas, Brenden Morrow, Mike Modano, Brad Richards, and Fabian Brunnstrom out to tie things up. As we know, Fabian Brunnstrom likes ties – making and breaking them. Last night, he helped Morrow make one.

At 5:38, Brunnstrom (looking very much like Mike Modano) sent a slick backhand pass behind him to what should have been Brenden Morrow standing in the crease. Unfortunately, Morrow had been knocked down. Fortunately, falling over has never stopped Brenden Morrow from playing hockey. Yes, Morrow scored their first goal from his back directly in front of Lundqvist, elevating the puck right over him and into the net. I loved it.

After that, the second period finished out very much like the first, with both teams struggling to maintain puck possession. Nicklas Grossman spent a few minutes in the box for hooking and Dubinsky spent a few more for tripping. Henrik Lundqvist had trouble controlling his rebounds, but managed to hold us at 1-1. Our defense had a little trouble in controlling turnovers, leading Turco to make a couple big saves to keep us in the game, including a huge one on Nigel Dawes.

We also discovered that Rangers fans suck.

Okay, that’s a bit dramatic, but really. They were booing at Avery every time he stepped onto the ice, and cheered whenever he was hit. And he was hit a lot, including a sucker-punch to the face that the officials conveniently did not see. Luckily, Avery loves being hated, and was probably really enjoying the attention either way.

Fast-forwarded through the second intermission too.

Third period I think I spent staring in wide-eyed anticipation at the Neal-Modano-Crombeen line. Modano looked hungry. He wasn’t just a veteran trying to finish out his contract. He was forceful, dominating on the ice and going after the puck like nobody’s business. I fully credit James Neal and BJ Crombeen with this revitalizing of our dear Modano, who has said now that he’d like to be the team’s top scorer again.

Turco and Lundqvist continued their battle of the goalies for almost ten more minutes, holding the game to a 1-1 tie.

At 8:03, though, Lundqvist lost. No shaming in losing to Mike Modano, though, really. After some puck shuffling between Neal and Crombeen, Crombeen took a shot from behind that bounced off the side of the net. With some lucky geometry, the puck deflected at the perfect angle to take it straight to Modano. Modano sent it sizzling right past Lundqvist with the game-winning goal.

After that, the Stars were on fire. They got a power play at 11:40 when Michal Rozsival got a two-minute for interference that did not get converted into another goal, but was looking much better than the “are we on a PP or PK?” that we’d been seeing. Turco held the lead, stopping seven shots total in the third period.

Lundqvist tried to leave a couple times for open net, but the Stars continued to push into the offensive zone and prevented him from benching until the last 36 seconds of the game.

We ended with a glorious 2-1 Stars win, despite the Rangers best efforts to push it into overtime. Might I just say: Hah!

Notes:

  • The three game stars, in order: Mike Modano, Marty Turco, Henrik Lundqvist
  • Marty Turco looked like the lovable wall we know him to be, stopping 27 in 28 goals for a Sv% of .964. His season Sv% is now .844 and his GAA at 4.05, moving him up from 30th place for GAA in the league.
  • Toby Petersen did not play, as he returned to Dallas when his wife went into labor Monday. Doug Janik also did not play, and is still day-to-day with his facial injury from Saturday.
  • Love love love love the Neal-Modano-Crombeen line. Love it.
  • Sean Avery declined to speak to the press following the game, as he owed the Stars a victory dinner.
  • Trevor Daley led the team in TOI with 24 minutes, but Stephane Robidas and Nicklas Grossman tied for leading shifts with 27.
  • Brenden Morrow led in hits, with 7.
  • Mark Fistric continued to fail, making us miss a defenseman we’ve only ever seen play for five minutes. His sloppy turnover habit resulted in at least one scoring chance for the Rangers. Bleh, Fistric.
  • None of the Stars exited the night’s game in the negative for +/-. Five left at +1.
  • Conclusion: The Stars looked like Stars again. Our big names were having the big impact, our netminder was minding like we know he can, and the skill and hard work we’ve come accustomed to is (though slowly) returning.
Official SHR +/-:
Nicklas Grossman: two for good defense; +2
Stephane Robidas: two for good defense, one for shoving someone who got in Modano’s face, and two for the giant hug he gave Turco after the game; +5
Matt Niskanen: two for good defense; +2
Trevor Daley: two for good defense and one for leading in TOI; +3
Mike Modano: three for the goal, two for the game star, and one for the high level of energy; +6
Brenden Morrow: three for the goal, two for style, one for leading in hits, and one for looking like our captain again; +7
Sean Avery: two for maintaining his composure and getting even without breaking the rules, one pity point for all the big hits he received, and two points for the moment he had with Turco post-game; +5
James Neal: two for the assist, one for leading in takeaways, and one for being in the top ten list of rookies in the league; +4
Mark Fistric: minus-three because I’m sick of watching him create scoring chances for the other team; -3
Marty Turco: two for the big save on Dawes, three for all the other big saves, and two for being Turco again; +7
BJ Crombeen: two for the assist and one for being in the top ten list of rookies in the league; +3
Mike Ribeiro: one for being in the right place consistently, even if the result didn’t produce goals; +1
Brad Richards: two for the assist; +2
Fabian Brunnstrom: two for the assist and two for being the second-best rookie in the league; +4
Off Ice +/-:
Brenden Morrow: three for being hilarious in last Thursday’s interview on The Ticket and in joking about the ugliness of his goal last night; +3
Sean Avery: two for his oddly friendly “I love everything” attitude towards the press and his teammates; +2
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3 Responses to “Game Review – 10/20/08 (DAL at NYR)”

  1. I love your SHR plus-minus! Great recap!

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