Game Review – 11/30/08 (DAL vs EDM)

by Chelsea

Game:

Stars faced off against the Edmonton Oilers at 5:00 PM CT in Dallas today, looking to redeem themselves after that 6-2 loss to the Sharks on Friday.

A notable difference in today’s game was the starting line, which featured Mike Modano and Loui Eriksson on the wings, centered by Brad Richards.

Also, the defensive pairings were jumbled, as Sergei Zubov is out with an undisclosed injury. Grossman and Robidas were back together, which we were glad about, as they seem to have very complimentary styles of defense. Sydor was with Daley, which we also approved of, because Daley is speedy and it seems that even a cow could outskate Sydor. Niskanen and Janik were back together as well.

The game started with both teams looking pretty energetic. The Oilers looked, here and throughout the game, like they had buttered hockey sticks. Losing pucks left and right.

The Oilers got an early boost when Mike Ribeiro took a hooking minor at 4:51 in the first. However, that PP did not go well for them; James Neal with the shorthanded pickpocket in the Oiler’s end nearly led to a Dallas goal.

Moments later, Neal drew a hi sticking penalty from Robert Nilsson, putting the Stars on their first power play.

The Stars successfully set up in the Oilers’ zone, with Brad Richards passing the puck to Mike Modano on the point. Modano’s wicked slap shot was deflected up into the air, provoking the weirdest response from Edmonton goaltender Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers. The goalie, instead of reaching up to catch the puck, backed into his own net looking much like a hermit crab. The puck landed on his shoulder, and as he retreated further, Mike Ribeiro batted the puck baseball-style to the ice. It landed in front of Drouin-Deslauriers, but both wound up behind the goal line.

Adding to the momentum was a long-lasting scrap between Krys Barch and Zack Stortini, who dropped the gloves right off a faceoff at 8:56. Though Barch did land some solid punches before the officials broke them up, it was a thorough undressing by Stortini. Barch retreated to the penalty box minus his helmet, gloves, elbow pads, and with his jersey half-off.

The Dallas lead was threatened at 11:06 when Darryl Sydor got two minutes for holding. However, they killed the penalty successfully, going two PKs without allowing any SOG. The ensuing momentum led to an extension of their early lead.

At 14:01, Toby Petersen netted his first in two seasons (since March 2007, to be exact) with a slick deflection of Matt Niskanen’s shot from the point. Chris Conner got the second assist, earning his first point of the season. The confidence shown from Niskanen, who didn’t hesitate between getting the puck and firing it at the net, is something we could use more of.

The Stars finished out the first without allowing any goals, despite a good scoring opportunity by Ales Hemsky. Turco was there to make the save, and for only the fourth time this season, Dallas escaped the first period with the opposition held off the scoreboard.

The second period began just as energetically as the first, with Chris Conner (listed generously as 5’8” on skates) coming into the Oilers zone with a big, highlight-worthy hit on Nilsson (5’11”).

The Stars got another PP at 3:32 when Marc Pouliot got a hooking penalty. It nearly turned disastrous when Ethan Moreau escaped with Shawn Horcoff for a 2-on-1 SH rush against Stephane Robidas. Robidas pulled off his signature desperation dive poke check, giving Modano time to catch up and prevent any real scoring opportunity.

With that PP wasted, Nicklas Grossman gave the Stars PK a chance to shine with his holding penalty on Liam Reddox. Shine it did not, as the Oilers scored half-way through their power play.

The goal came off a shot from Hemsky at 12:11, a quick wrist shot that beat Turco above his right shoulder. The assists went to Horcoff and Sheldon Souray.

Despite another power play (Jason Strudwick’s delay of game) and a persistent attempt by Richards, the period still ended 2-1 in favor of the Stars.

The Oilers picked up the pace in the beginning of the third, managing to tie the game only 4:21 into it. The goal came from Kyle Brodziak who picked up the rebound when Turco failed to control a shot from the point by Souray. Moreau got the second assist.

With both teams looking to take the lead, an interference call on Edmonton’s Lubomir Visnovsky offered the Stars a chance to build another lead. The power play did not produce, however, and the game continued at a stalemate.

They would eventually be the ones to break the tie, when Sean Avery’s determined crease camping paid off late in the third. At 14:51, with all five Oilers descending on Neal, Avery slipped unnoticed in front of Drouin-Deslauriers. Neal managed to find a passing lane amongst all the Edmonton bodies, setting up Avery for a quick and accurate wrist shot into the net. Trevor Daley got the second assist.

As the clock wound down, the game turned into a momentum roller coaster. Despite the immense relief at having broken the tie with only five minutes on the clock, the Stars soon found themselves even more pressured than before.

At 16:38, Kyle Brodziak got his second goal of the game by mirroring his first; a distance shot by Souray and an uncontrolled rebound that left the net wide open for Brodziak to tie the game.

Knowing that the game was tied with only 3:22 to go, and that the Stars were 0-4 when pushed into OT, the intensity level spiked. When Souray got 2 minutes for hooking at 17:11, it offered one of two things: a morale-ruining failed PP at a critical time, or a perfect opportunity to take a finalizing lead.

The answer came less than thirty seconds later in what could possibly be called the best moment for the Stars this season. Loui Eriksson (looking to continue a four-game point streak) passed the puck along the perimeter to Richards. Richards found a very small passing lane to Mike Modano, who found a very small opening on Drouin-Deslauriers’ glove side, and the tie was broken.

Modano, a known “Oilers killer” (71 points in 61 games in his career against Edmonton), already had a point in the game with an assist on Ribeiro’s goal. His tiebreaking power play goal signified 1,300 career points, making him one of only 31 players ever to reach that mark.

Even after pulling their goaltender for an extra attacker with :35 left to play, the Oilers were unable to force the puck past Marty Turco and the game ended in regulation as a Dallas win.

Notes:

  • The three game stars, in order: Ribeiro, Brodziak, Modano.
  • My three game stars, in order: Modano, Souray, Avery.
  • Mike Modano earned point #1,299 in an assist on Ribeiro’s power play goal, and point #1,300 in a PPG of his own.
  • Sean Avery led the team with 9 shots on goal, proving that his goal was a well-earned one.
  • Mike Ribeiro’s goal puts him at 98 for his career, but only the third this season. Might be a few weeks before he hits 100.
  • Loui Eriksson, Brad Richards, and James Neal all continued point streaks: 7 points in 5 games, 6 points in 4 games, and 4 points in 3 games, respectively.
  • The Stars are now 22-4-3 at home against the Oilers since the move to Dallas.
  • Conclusion: While we’re still waiting to see if this will lead to consecutive wins, the 2 points were earned by improvement over areas that have been weak spots so far: goaltending, special teams, maintaining momentum, and scoring in the third… just to name a few. If they beat the Flames tomorrow, then we’ll see about celebrating success.

SHR +/-:

Matt Niskanen: two for the assist and one for renewed confidence; +3
Trevor Daley: two for assist; +2
Mike Modano: three for the goal, two for the assist, three for reaching 1,300, and one for looking so darn happy; +9
Krys Barch: one for the fight and one for not losing it; +2
Sean Avery: three for the goal, one for the persistence, and one for giving an Oiler a face massage; +5
Toby Petersen: three for the goal; +3
James Neal: two for the assist; +2
Loui Eriksson: two for the assist; +2
Chris Conner: two for the assist; +2
Marty Turco: one for outplaying Dinosaur; +1
Darryl Sydor: minus-two for poor defense and minus-one for a stupid penalty; -3
Mike Ribiero: three for the goal and one for style; +4
Brad Richards: two for each assist; +4

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2 Comments to “Game Review – 11/30/08 (DAL vs EDM)”

  1. …it seems that even a cow could outskate Sydor.

    Hee!

    Very impressive visual aid, showing where the Oilers went wrong on the Avery goal.

  2. One of you needs to nurse Zubov back to health. I have him on two fantasy teams.

    Also, I think next year I’m going to refrain from drafting any Stars players. Zubov can’t stay healthy, Turco plays like he’s unhealthy, and everyone else is WAY too streaky for my liking.

    Although I must say, it’s incredibly gratifying to be able to make fun of my friend in Dallas for having a terrible hockey team and, for once, not have him come back with “as if the Hawks are any better?”

    Because yes. Yes they are. 😀

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