Game Review – 12/02/08 (DAL at CGY)

by Chelsea

Game:

The Stars put out a pretty clear message last night: Sean Avery is irrelevant, the topic is redundant, and we’re moving on.

Dallas headed into their game against the Calgary Flames off a home win against the Oilers on Sunday afternoon. The Flames had won their past three games and were looking to continue their streak to four.

The game kicked off with some interesting roster changes for the Stars. Gone was Sean Avery, indefinitely suspended, and added was Andrew Hutchinson, acquired in a recent trade with Tampa Bay.

The first period saw more hits than shots exchanged, with Chris Conner getting fed someone’s elbow at least once and Krys Barch providing a wall for opposing players to awkwardly bounce off of.

The Stars soon stole an early lead when Stephane Robidas’ shot from the point opened up a prime rebound attempt. For Toby Petersen. Yes, the man who went through all of last season without a single goal suddenly found himself with two goals in as many games. To his credit, he was right where he needed to be and didn’t miss a mostly open net, managing to flick the puck past a sliding Miikka Kiprusoff. The goal came at 6:14, with Nicklas Grossman getting the second assist.

Michael Cammalleri got a holding penalty at 12:59, but our power play was killed off, as the Flames apparently only try to score when shorthanded. Really. I think they got more shots on goal during our PPs than the rest of the game.

The first ended otherwise unfortunately. Landon Wilson laid out Mark Giordano, which was entertaining, but Giordano later put big hits on Brunnstrom and Petersen. Also, Robidas got yet another holding penalty as the period wound down, thus allowing the Flames to start the second on power play. Booooo.

On the positive side, Turco once again stoned the opponents through the first, ending the period with 0 goals allowed for the second game in a row.

Starting the second, the Stars successfully killed off Robidas’ penalty, but it gave the Flames the momentum they needed to finally produce. Only 1:44 into the second, David Moss cleaned up a rebound from Matthew Lombardi and Adrian Aucoin.

At 7:53, Fabian “Tiebreaker” Brunnstrom escaped through center ice as Trevor Daley fed the puck up to him from near the Stars blue line. Brunnstrom flew into Calgary’s zone chased by three Flames. He got a shot off on Kiprusoff, and when it was blocked, quickly picked up his own rebound for a goal. Matt Niskanen got the second assist. 2-1 Stars.

Moments later, Cory Sarich introduced his elbow to Conner’s face, in what Razor called an “elbow-rectomy” that led to another 2 minute Stars PP that ended without any lead extension.

Turco kept the Stars’ small lead through the rest of the second, making saves on David Moss and Jarome Iginla without a problem.

The third period began unexceptionally, with both teams fighting equally hard for the win. The fight turned bloody eight minutes in when Lombardi also assaulted Conner’s face, this time with his hockey stick. Conner was left cut and with a few loose teeth, and Lombardi got a double minor for hi sticking.

The Flames killed the entire four minutes of 5-on-3, giving them momentum for a final push to tie the game. Turco’s solid play came through big here, as he stopped every mad push to the net that Calgary delivered, with his usual level of ease. In the final 35 seconds, Kiprusoff was pulled for an extra attacker.

As the scramble for possession continued, the Flames nearly gave up an empty net goal to Brad Richards, who unfortunately shot wide from all the way across the ice.

In the end, it was Loui Eriksson who sealed the deal. The puck, up for grabs in the middle of Dallas’ defensive zone, was skillfully poked past Dion Phaneuf and into center ice. As Phaneuf turned to chase it, Eriksson sped by and followed up on his own clear.

At 19:45, Eriksson collected the puck, making sure he had it, and sunk it quite casually into the open net.

The game ended with the Flames standing behind their own net with the puck. With that, the Stars won two consecutive games for the first time since February.

Notes:

  • The three game stars, in order: Turco, Moss, Aucion
  • Hutchinson finished his debut with a team-leading 4 shots on goal.
  • No Star ended in the +/- negative.
  • Grossman and Conner led the team in hits with 3 each.
  • Mike Ribeiro led in TOI (24:13) and takeaways (4)
  • The Stars were outshot 23-37, leaving Turco with a shining .971 sv% for the game.
  • All five assists in the game were from defensemen. All three goals, from forwards.

SHR +/-:

Nicklas Grossman: two for the assist and one for leading in hits; +3
Stephane Robidas: two for each assist; +4
Matt Niskanen: two for the assist; +2
Trevor Daley: two for the assist; +2
Brenden Morrow: two for having surgery instead of playing and making us all go 😦 ; +2
Toby Petersen: three for the goal; +3
Loui Eriksson: three for the goal and one for style; +4
Chris Conner: one for leading in hits and two for all the damage he took in the game; +3
Andrew Hutchinson: two for solid debut; +2
Marty Turco: two for the impressive amount of saves; +2
Fabian Brunnstrom: three for the goal and one for persistence; +4

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