Game Review – 10/23/08 (DAL at NYI)

by Chelsea

Game:

Last night, everyone tuned in to watch the Dallas Stars take on the New York Islanders in New York for what would become (as Razor said) a public flogging of the Islanders.

I can tell you two reactions I had at the beginning of the game. One was “Why do the Islanders look like a barely-blue version of the Flyers?”. The other was “Morrow and Ribeiro together!!!!”

I never watch Islanders games, and was under the assumption that their jerseys were actually blue. Not “blue if you tilt your head and look closely” blue. But yeah, the fact that they finally reunited the best bromance to ever hit hockey overshadowed that a little. No, I’m not biased.

Anyway…

When Islander Kyle Okposo took a penalty for sandwiching Sean Avery between himself and another Islander with excessive force (read: roughing), we did something we hadn’t done in many games.

We scored in the first five minutes, on a power play. We took the lead and held on tight.

Rather, Loui Eriksson did, 3:30 into the first. Only his second of the season, Louibot took a nice feed from Ribeiro to produce a tip-in that slid right past New York goalie Dipietro.

Pausing here to note how extremely happy Loui looked after scoring. It was like a little kid on hockey Christmas. His happy (and his goal) made us happy.

It began to look like a one-goal game, with both teams playing well defensively and both netminders producing walls across the pipes. For ten minutes, nothing happened. Then at 14:13 Mike Ribeiro strode into their offensive zone and passed the puck across Dipietro to nobody, and for a moment I wondered if he was imagining hockey players, until Brenden Morrow came charging up to catch the pass and tip it in behind poor Ricky. Stephane Robidas got the other assist.

Anyone get chills and wonder if they’d traveled back in time to the 07-08 playoffs?

There was more celebration, Morrow said “Yeah!” or “Nice pass!” to Ribeiro and we all agreed entirely.

If you were thinking, “Wow! This just couldn’t get any better!” you’d be wrong.

At 16:22, Sean Bergenheim of the New York Islanders took a two-minute minor for holding. Once again, Stars were on power play. Once again, Loui Eriksson stepped in to capitalize where we need it most – special teams. At 18:22 (a second too late to be a PP goal, but the PP is definitely what fueled it), Mike Ribeiro once again proved to us all that his lack of impact before had merely been punishment for having separated him from captain Brenden Morrow. He earned his third assist in three goals in the first period when he again directed the puck to Eriksson, who backhanded it across the goal line and into the net.

That’s how the first ended. Islanders were in a 3-0 hole and Marty Turco had kept them there by stopping nine out of nine shots.

The first intermission came and went.

The Stars opened the first with a lovely 5-on-3… in the Islanders’ favor. Stephane Robidas took a minor for kneeing, and Sean Avery took two minors for roughing (James Neal to serve the second). The situation was something like this:

Robidas knees someone, who goes down in a fit of complaints and whining. A handful of his teammates jump Robi – who doesn’t much go for fights – so Sean Avery, Nicklas Grossman, and Brad Richards come tearing over to back him up. Two guys take on Avery, so Fabian Brunnstrom comes over and gently redirects one. Turco wanders by. An official emerges with Robidas while Grossman shoulders two guys at once.

In the end, one of our best penalty killers and our chirpiest agitator ended up together in the penalty box for a full two minutes. Only one of the Islanders suffered consequences, Bergenheim, who got two minutes for roughing also. We get a quick view of the box, where Avery is making a gesture to Robidas that suggests he was saying “It’s alright, I’m in here all the time!” while Robidas looks like he’s going to die a little with every passing second.

Again, to quote Ralph and Razor, this was quite possibly just what the Stars defense needed. They fought through the 5-on-3 as a team and came out successful.

There was a lot of confusion (at one point, Neal and Avery and Boucher were all in the box together?) when Philippe Boucher got a penalty at 2:40 for cross-checking. Furthering the confusion was a 4-on-4, when Mike Cromrie took a minor for too many men on the ice. In the end, we resumed evenhanded play still at 3-0.

It would be Bill Guerin who’d crack the 3-0 egg for the Islanders. He swept through the Stars defensive zone at 10:16 in the second and turned a pass from Bergenheim into a goal against Turco. The Stars, however, would soon retaliate.

Three minutes later at 13:05, Krys Barch claimed the game winning goal for Dallas when he converted some nice moves by the Ribeiro-Morrow pairing into another tally on the scoreboard. Ribeiro dropped the puck behind him, where Morrow picked it up and sent it to Barch. Before the Islanders had even registered the exchange, it was in the net.

Sean Bergenheim caved in to Avery’s incessant chirping once again at 17:32, getting himself another two minutes in the box for roughing. It was an opportunity that the Islanders surely regretted giving to the Stars. At 18:27, Mike Ribeiro FINALLY got a goal for himself. After getting an assist on each of the night’s four goals, he got his first goal of the season on the power play, off a set-up from Brenden Morrow and Mike Modano.

The second ended at 5-1.

In the second intermission, Mike Ribeiro took a moment to give an interview. In it, he said that he felt the 5-0 shutout loss was the best game he’d had personally, and that the change we saw in tonight’s game came from an attitude change. He explained that he’d been frustrated for awhile, and was able to put that aside to think positively. I’m thinking he should give a lecture on that to the rest of the Stars.

Also: Nice crazy hair, Ribs. Please don’t buzzcut it.

Third period was not as exciting for us in that we didn’t score. It was exciting in that Loui Eriksson kept almost scoring and we kept hoping for a hat trick. It was not exciting in that it only took Mark Fistric 2:02 to trip someone and get himself a minor penalty. It was exciting in that it gave us two minutes without having to watch Mark Fistric.

It was not exciting in that it was that power play that gave the Islanders their second goal. At 3:28, Mark Streit scored. Assists went to Trent Hunter and Doug Weight.

It continued to be both exciting and not exciting. Dough Weight was called for elbowing at 10:16, then Boucher for interference at 16:55, then Mark Streit at 17:34 for boarding. Neither teams scored on any of those power plays.

With three seconds left in the game, unfortunately marring Turco’s sv% for the night, Jon Sim scored for the Islanders to make it 5-3. Assists went to Mark Streit and Bruno Gervais.

Still, it was a great game, and gave the Stars another 2 points on the season standings. They’re coming home with an overall successful road trip, 2-1-0. Tomorrow, they face the Capitals here at the AAC.

Kristine and I will absolutely be there.

Notes:

  • The three stars of the game were, in order: Mike Ribeiro, Loui Eriksson, Brenden Morrow.
  • Turco made 24 saves on 27 shots for a .888 Sv%. His GAA is now 4.04.
  • Mike Ribeiro now once again leads the Stars in points, with 9 for the season. His 5-point game marked a career high.
  • Philippe Boucher led in ice time with 25 minutes and tied with Trevor Daley and Stephane Robidas for shifts with 29.
  • Stephane Robidas led in hits, with 4.
  • Krys Barch took Islander Brendan Witt out of the game with a knee-to-knee collision. A shot to the Islander bench showed Witt in quite a bit of pain, and later he left the game completely. Best wishes to you, Witt.
  • The Stars once again led in faceoffs, winning 62%.
  • Conclusion: You know that feeling you get when you’ve been gone awhile and you’re headed back and catch a glimpse of your home town from a distance? That “aww, I’m almost home!” feeling? That’s what this game felt like.

Official SHR +/-:

Nicklass Grossman: two for backing up Robi in the conflict and minus-one for having a team-low of -2 in the +/-; +1
Stephane Robidas: two for the hit and following conflict, minus-one for not fighting back really, two for the assist, and one for leading in hits; +4
Matt Niskanen: one for nice hustle; +1
Trevor Daley: two for good defense and two for the adorable kiss-on-the-helmet he gave Turco in the post-game congratulations; +4
Mike Modano: two for the assist; +2
Brenden Morrow: two for each assist, three for the goal, and two for being awesome on a line with Ribeiro again; +7
Krys Barch: three for the goal, one for the big hit, two for being fearless, and one for being incredibly versatile; +7
Sean Avery: one for each penalty drawn, two for keeping his cool again, two for backing up Robi, and minus-two for getting a double minor in backing up Robi; +3
Loui Eriksson: three for each goal and two for looking incredibly happy for the entire game; +8
Marty Turco: three for awesome goaltending, three for big saves and staying calm under 5-on-3 pressure, and one for exchanging words with an old teammate; +7
Philippe Boucher: two for leading in SOG, one for leading in TOI and shifts, two for good defense, and one for blocking shots with weird body parts; +6
Mike Ribeiro: three for the goal, two for each assist, two for being awesome on a line with Morrow again, one for the interview, and one for style; +15

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2 Responses to “Game Review – 10/23/08 (DAL at NYI)”

  1. Trevor Daley: two for good defense and two for the adorable kiss-on-the-helmet he gave Turco in the post-game congratulations; +4

    I was so glad to see Daley’s Turco kissings were back.

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