Game Review – 12/12/08 (DAL vs DET)

by Chelsea


Ahh, the Red Wings. Hadn’t seen them since they ceremoniously booted our Stars from the playoffs last year. It’d be nice if we’d had key players from that run (Morrow, Robidas, Zubov, Lehtinen, Ott, Lundqvist…) in the lineup for the rematch, but the injuries did give our Swedish talent (Brunnstrom, Eriksson, Wandell, Grossman) a chance to log some ice time against some Swedish idols (Franzen, Holmstrom, Zetterberg, Lidstrom…)

The puck dropped at 7:30 PM CT.

Our starting line was Conner-Richards-Eriksson, with Grossman-Daley on defense. Detroit won the first faceoff, and the puck made its way to Turco before a giveaway led to movement in the other direction.

The Wings had Ty Conklin in net, which was a little disappointing because we like watching Ribeiro destroy Osgood. In a purely goal-scoring sense, of course.

The second line was Neal-Ribeiro-Brunnstrom, a combination heavily approved of here. After Ribeiro lost the next faceoff, Neal stole the puck in their offensive zone, leading to scoring opportunity for Brunnstrom.

Play continued until 3:45, when Trevor Daley got 2 minutes for hooking Pavel Datsyuk. Dallas killed off the penalty, but Detroit had them chasing the puck, and managed to capitalize not too long after.

Scoring opened at 6:05 when Daniel Cleary and Jiri Hudler set up Brett Lebda near the net. Lebda beat Turco’s glove to put the game at 1-0.

The first period had the most penalties in the game, the last three coming against the Red Wings. The first was at 7:29, when Marian Hossa hooked Neal. Then, at 18:16, Lebda also got a minor for hooking. Finally, at 18:29, Cleary got called for cross checking Neal (who absolutely sold it).

Despite all of these advantages, including nearly a full two minutes of 5-on-3, the Stars did not manage to tie the game, and we went to first intermission.

Second period.

Though it seemed the tables would turn in Detroit’s favor as they killed off what little remained of the 5-on-3, the Stars held on and began keeping pace with the somewhat flat-footed Wings.

When Nicklas Grossman was caught hooking at 2:12, forcing the Stars to kill off their second penalty, their success led to an offensive push.

Coming through to tie the game with a big goal was rookie Tom Wandell, scoring his first career NHL goal in his third career game. The Swedish center worked hard for his goal, tricking out two defensemen with his fast hands after receiving the puck from Landon Wilson, backhanding it nicely past Conklin. Afterwards, Wilson retrieved the puck from the crease and took it to Wandell, congratulating him on his goal. There was no second assist.

Perhaps our Swedish rookies were showing off?

Not to be redundant, but it was Fabian “Tiebreaker Bunny” Brunnstrom who stepped up yet again. After doing a little research, I found that out of his 9 goals, 5 have broken a tie of some sort, and 3 of them have been game winners. So, appropriate nickname? Possibly.

Anyway, it was only a few minutes later (at 7:27) that Brunnstrom broke the tie, in what would become the game winning goal. He’d entered the offensive zone straight up the middle, where he received a pass from Ribeiro. After shaking off Lidstrom, he blast a wrist shot from the middle of the Detroit zone, ripping it past Conklin. Darryl Sydor, who had shuffled the puck up the boards to Ribeiro, got the second assist.

Detroit took their timeout immediately after, but it really didn’t do them much good, because Marty Turco was busy building himself into a solid wall that’d not be cracked by any of their best-laid plans.

The Red Wings continued to win faceoffs and began to open fire on the Dallas net. A few minutes later, and Dallas used their timeout as well.

After that, the Stars continued to limit any actual scoring opportunities, only allowing five shots on goal for the remainder of the period. This included a Detroit power play at 18:31, when Nicklas Grossman sat for cross checking.

The second period ended 2-1, Stars.

Third period belong to Marty Turco.

He made 14 saves to keep the game from being tied, at least a good third of those being highlight worthy. He tracked the puck through traffic, covered his rebounds well, and refused every Wing who broke away to challenge him.

Mikael Samuelsson, possibly frustrated by all the attempts that were turned away, got into it a bit with Landon Wilson at 12:15. The officials stepped in before a real fight developed, and both got minor penalties. Samuelsson’s was for roughing and Wilson’s for holding.

As Detroit was still chasing the Stars’ one-point lead with a little over a minute to play, they pulled their goalie for an extra attacker. When a team has had 3 power plays against a team and couldn’t hold on to the puck long enough to score, that never seems to be a good time to pull your goalie. But, they took that risk, and they paid for it.

It only took eight seconds of empty net time for Dallas to get a very lucky bounce, the puck going from Wilson to Mike Ribeiro, who was heading towards center ice against two Red Wings. Kronwall moved to head off Ribeiro or block his shot, but wasn’t able to move fast enough. Ribeiro sent it flying from the Detroit blue line and into the net, sealing the deal with a 3-1 lead and a minute to play.

No SOG were registered in the final minute, all of the Wings’ attempts getting blocked or missing the net entirely. The game ended 3-1 Stars.


  • The three stars of the game, in order: Brunnstrom, Modano, Turco
  • Turco ended the game with 37 saves on 38 shots, for a sv% of .974.
  • Neither team scored on the PP.
  • James Neal led in both takeaways (4) and hits (9) and ended the game +1.
  • Matt Niskanen and Darryl Sydor, while not the starting defense, logged the most ice time and ended the game +3 and +2 respectively. Each also had an assist.
  • Sydor also led the team in blocked shots, with 7.
  • Nicklas Grossman struggled, ending the game +/- 0 and led the team in giveaways (3).
  • Mike Ribeiro, who had been pointless in his last ten games, led the team in SOG (4) and registered a goal and an assist.
  • Brunnstrom’s goal bumped him to second in rookies for goal scoring, with 9.
  • Brad Richards, the center of the night’s starting line, left the game with -1 in +/-, a team-worst 38% in the faceoff circle among anyone that took at least 4, and was credited with 2 giveaways.
  • Conclusion: While the game was riddled with high points and showed an overall ability to play as a team, the power play continued to outright fail. Sure, hard work might beat out talent, but you can only win so many games without some help from your special teams.

SHR +/-:

Nicklas Grossman: minus-one for subpar play and one for getting “alpha male” in puck battles; +0
Matt Niskanen: two for the assist and two for exceptional play; +4
James Neal: two for leading in hits with a whopping nine and one for leading in takeaways; +3
Loui Eriksson: minus-one for struggling offensively and defensively; -1
Landon Wilson: two for each assist and one for getting Wandell’s puck for him; +5
Tom Wandell: three for the goal and one for style; +4
Marty Turco: three for exceptional goaltending, one for style, and one for giving his stick away after the game; +5
Darryl Sydor: two for the assist and one for exceptional play; +4
Mike Ribeiro: three for the goal, two for the assist, and one for style; +6
Brad Richards: minus-one for his issues as a first line center, minus-two for his issues on the power play, and minus-one for stinking at faceoffs all night;  -4
Fabian Brunnstrom: three for the goal and one for style; +4


6 Comments to “Game Review – 12/12/08 (DAL vs DET)”

  1. Wow! I am blown away by this blog! I found it on google while searching stars stuff, and I’m gonna be an avid reader now for sure, right after my three times a day check of hieka’s blog on dmn! I blog sometimes about stars games on facebook and was looking to start my own on here but I don’t know if I can keep up with y’all, and I’m even a journalism student! I love the +/- system too!

    Keep up the GREAT work!

  2. Travis,
    Thanks so much! We love hearing from new readers. 🙂 Also please feel free to comment as frequently as you want. The feedback we get is one of the best parts of this whole blogging thing. 😉 Please don’t let us stop you from starting your own blog – we’re just major over-achievers! The Star blogosphere could always use a new voice.


    P.S. We agree with you – Heika is our sports news hero and we check his blog constantly.

  3. Heika does a great job! And it’s the most up to date Stars info anywhere! I’m glad I can get his blog on my phone so I can be reading it while at the games! However, I go to TCU and everything out here is Star-Telegram, and honestly Tracy Myers is… eh…. not so great, lol. I honestly think y’all know more about hockey than she does! It’s refreshing to find girls who know something about hockey. Usually when I go to a game with girls or they come to one of my games, I sepnd the whole time trying to tell them what offsides is!

  4. Travis-

    Thanks for the (very complimentary) comments! Not to repeat Kristine, but getting to hear from readers is probably the best thing about having a blog!

    I actually heard a rumor that the Star-Telegram may start running Heika’s Star coverage, in return for the News running the stories from the Star-T’s Texas Rangers beat writer. Could this mean no more Tracey? One can hope… 😉

    Too many people in Texas don’t understand hockey! At least you don’t have to explain why players fight, or what a Zamboni is.. hopefully.

  5. I just tell ’em the two Zamboni’s are racing each other, purely for entertainment. And the Fan Zam is the ref. Makes things more exciting… lol

  6. Hey shoot me an email at and let me know if your going to any games the next few weeks, maybe we could meet up and sit together! I’d love to meet y’all!

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