Game Review – 12/31/08 (DAL vs NJD)

by Chelsea

Game:

While the highlight of the night may have been Craig Ludwig grabbing Renner by the face and force-feeding him silly string, we’re still very proud of our Dallas Stars.

They faced the New Jersey Devils, who looked to spoil the Stars’ New Year’s Eve with a repeat of that awful 5-0 domination earlier in the season. This time, however, the team had a sold-out American Airlines Center backing them up, and were looking to end 2008 with a big win.

The game started at 7:30, and initially, it looked like we were the ones who’d just played the night before. The Stars came out a bit flat-footed, struggling to keep up with some surprisingly energetic Devils. 

Zach Parise, the team-leader for New Jersey in goals, assists, points, +/-, PPGs, and SOGs, registered the game’s first shot on goal, testing Turco early.

He was then hit multiple times by Stephane Robidas. A warning, perhaps? 

From there, the both teams shot and hit at each other to no avail. 

At 4:03, Mike Modano was called for tripping, and went to serve his two minutes in the box. The Devils power play, headed by ex-Star and New Jersey captain Jamie Langenbrunner, did more hitting than shooting, and Dallas escaped unscathed. 

Turco had a bit of an accident around seven minutes in, when he went to play the puck but had it poked away by John Madden, who then tried to sweep it in behind him. Fortunately, he hit the side of the net.

Landon Wilson bumped into Bobby Holik at 9:18, and Holik spun around and fell to the ice. While we understand that Wilson is pretty big and can easily knock people over, Holik happens to be an inch taller and ten pounds heavier. It’s possible that he has the worst balance of any hockey player ever, but we’re still not buying what he’s selling.

This incident gave the Devils another power play, as Wilson was called for interference. Langenbrunner got a shot off this time, and was promptly flattened by Robidas.

This and an untimely shift change led to Trevor Daley and Loui Eriksson streaking down the ice towards Jersey goalie Scott Clemmensen. Daley passed the puck between the only two Devils defenders to Eriksson, who fired a wicked wrist shot from the faceoff circle to Clemmensen’s left. The puck was in the net before he could even get his glove up. 

Eriksson’s 19th goal (also known as the team’s first shorthanded tally of the season) came at 10:09 and was assisted by Daley and Brad Richards.

The Devils pushed back, going on the attack at every opportunity, and finally managed to produce some offense as the first period clock wound down.

As the New Jersey announcer was busy wrongly calling Matt Niskanen “Nishkanen”, Brian Gionta moved to screen Turco, keeping him from stopping Mike Mottau’s wrist shot from the top of the slot. The goal, at 17:30, was assisted by Patrik Elias and Brian Gionta.

Soon after the Devils managed to tie the game, they were given a good chance to take the lead by the whistle-happy officials.

This time it was Stephane Robidas, who apparently was tripped/forced to the ice/fell and managed to hook Langenbrunner right before/on the way down/as he sat on the ice looking confused. He was escorted to the box at 18:10.

The Stars were not able to contain the power play this time, as David Clarkson redirected a centering shot past Turco and into the net. 

So we see that while lines have many uses (like organizing crowds and certain types of dances), they don’t work very well for defending in hockey.

The tie was broken at 19:36, and the assists went to Dainius Zubrus and Brian Gionta.

First period ended 2-1 Devils.

Second period started.

A minute in, and the Devils looked like they were coming in from the first with dangerous momentum. Gionta got a shot in on goal and Zubrus picked up the rebound, but Turco made a tremendous save to freeze the puck and hold the game within reach. 

Those would be the only two SOG that the Devils would have for the second period. To emphasize and rephrase, they got two shots on goal in the first minute, and none for the following 19 minutes. The Stars, meanwhile, would produce a hearty 19 for the period.

Barch, Petersen, and Grossman spent the next minute ruthlessly pounding the life out of the Devils, getting five solid hits between them in the 60-second span. 

Then it was Mike Ribeiro’s turn. He started his shift at 4:01, set the pace for it with a hit on Paul Martin, outskated every Devil who came near him, and stayed out when his line changed to center Barch and Wilson on their shift. His unstoppable energy and stick handling set up the Stars to tie the game.

Ribeiro claimed the puck behind the net by shaking off Madden, played a quick passing game with Barch, and then sent a pass between the legs of Bryce Salvador out in front of the net to Wilson. Topping the play off at 5:39, Wilson shoveled the puck past Clemmensen to make it a 2-2 game.

He just about mauled Ribeiro in celebration. Ribeiro responded by mauling Barch. 

It’s a good thing that people don’t celebrate this way outside of hockey, or there’d probably be a lot of violent misunderstandings.

Steve Ott, meanwhile, was spending his shifts skating around running his mouth and squashing people. This started to really get on the Devils’ nerves, which may have something to do with the penalty Holik got at 8:26 for hooking him.

This put the Stars on their first man advantage of the evening.

Now, we were alerted before the game about Mark Parrish and how much he enjoyed scoring against the Devils. In fact, he actually had more career points than any other Star against New Jersey, with 15 goals and 9 assists for 24 points in 37 games. Coupled with the reminder that three of his four goals came on the power play, it seemed almost inevitable that he would score.

He did not disappoint. A hectic assault on the net lead to Richards getting his stick on a shot from Robidas and a scramble for the following rebound. Parrish got there first, sliding the puck between the goalie and the defenseman who was helping play goalie to break the tie at 9:58.

Not really sure why Clemmensen was out of his crease or why Jay Leach was in it, but their mistake worked very nicely for the Stars. Not to mention for Parrish, whose relief at having scored his first goal since November was almost tangible. 

Andy Greene got two minutes for hooking at 10:40, but they killed off that penalty.

At 18:47, the Devils crashed the net again, but more literally this time. Clarkson went flying into Turco, wiping himself, our netminder, and our net out in one clumsy move. Someone scored during the mayhem, but the goal was obviously and immediately disallowed, due to the fact that Clarkson was still laying on Turco and the net was dislodged. 

The consequential goalie interference penalty and the penalty Martin got at 19:37 for blatantly cross checking Neal across the numbers gave the Stars a 5-on-3 to end the second period.

Second period ended. Ric Renner sprayed Ludwig with silly string during intermission, and we all thought Ludy was about to properly strangle him.

Third period started.

Naturally, the entire power play passed with a bunch of swirling the puck around the offensive zone but nobody managing to score. 

Clemmensen came out with some big saves for his team, stopping a string of shots from players like Mike Modano, Brad Richards, and Jere Lehtinen. It was very annoying.

Andrew Hutchinson got a minor for holding at 8:01, but the Stars held on to their small lead, limiting the Devils to only one shot on goal for the entire two minutes.

The third period consisted of 26 shots on goal and 23 hits between the two teams, including a nearly-disastrous breakaway. 

About 17 minutes into the third, a pass through the neutral zone sprung Elias with a perfect opportunity to tie the game. Entering the Dallas zone ahead of lone defenseman Stephane Robidas, he charged in against Turco and tried to score five-hole. The puck slipped between Turco’s knees, but he “squeezed the pads”, hoped for the best, and managed to stop what would have been a morale- and lead-ruining goal.

New Jersey went empty net with 00:53 in a last-ditch attempt to force overtime.

Turco’s save in the following onslaught left the puck loose in the corner, where Richards picked it up and carried it down into center ice. He shot it from there towards the empty net, where it went wide and around to the side. Eriksson showed up ahead of the Devils to grab the puck and toss it into the unguarded net at 19:19.

The goal was his 2nd of the game and 20th of the season, and was assisted by Richards.

The players basically skated in circles for the next forty seconds, and the game ended 4-2 Stars!

Ludwig repayed Renner the favor from earlier by grabbing him with one hand and holding him still while he covered him in silly string. A round of applause for Ludwig and whoever armed him with his own can of silly string. 

(photos by Matt Slocum)

Notes:

  • The three stars of the game, in order: Richards, Clemmensen, Eriksson
  • The game was Trevor Daley’s 300th career game.
  • It was the first time the Stars won their annual NYE game since 2002.
  • Marty Turco made 25 saves on 27 shots for a sv% of .926
  • Both teams scored on 1 of 4 power plays.
  • Conclusion: The big names (Richards, Turco, Ribeiro) acted like the big names, the young stars (Eriksson, Niskanen, Grossman, Neal) played like the young stars, and the hard workers (Parrish, Wilson, Barch, Ott) were rewarded for their hard work. It was the kind of win that a team can build a run on.

SHR +/-: 

Nicklas Grossman: one for being a physical powerhouse; +1
Stephane Robidas: two for the assist, one for leading in SOG, but minus-one for the penalty that the Devils scored on; +2
Matt Niskanen: one for a pretty solid defensive game; +1
Trevor Daley: two for the assist and one for utilizing his speed; +3
Krys Barch: two for the assist; +2
James Neal: one for a solid game; +1
Loui Eriksson: three for each goal, one for style, and one for reaching 20 goals; +8
Landon Wilson: three for the goal and one for the following celebration; +4
Jere Lehtinen: one for leading in takeaways; +1
Steve Ott: one for leading in hits again and two for being an awesome agitator; +3
Marty Turco: two for the big saves and one for the game-saving breakaway save; +3
Mark Parrish: three for the goal and one for determination; +4
Darryl Sydor: one for leading in blocked shots; +1
Mike Ribeiro: two for the assist and one for the otherwise good game; +3
Brad Richards: two for each assist and one for setting up Loui for his 20th goal; +7 

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2 Comments to “Game Review – 12/31/08 (DAL vs NJD)”

  1. I was so hoping Luddy would finish Renner off for us. 🙂

    I was so happy for Parrish and He did look sooo relieved.

    Great write up, Chels!

  2. I think he gets a little closer to decking Ric with every game they have to work together.

    It’s definitely nice to see him scoring, since he seems to really want to do well here in Dallas.

    Thanks! 😀

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