Game Review – 10/09/09 (DAL @ CGY)

by Chelsea

Game:

The Calgary Flames came into this game as the hottest team in the league, looking to break their franchise record with another win for a 5-0 start. To do that, they’d have to get through the Stars, a team in adjustment looking for their first win of the season.

Despite the fact that Stars starting goalie has put up very good numbers in Calgary over the years, Crawford chose to sit Marty Turco and put Alex Auld in net against the Flames. It was welcome news to Stars fans, anxious to see if Dallas finally has a backup goalie that can be confidently given 20-30 games. The Flames, having played the night before, put in backup Curtis McElhinney instead of Miikka Kiprusoff.

Mike Modano (ribs), Jere Lehtinen (lower body), and Jeff Woywitka (healthy scratch) were also out, while Mark Fistric got to play in his first game of the season.

The plan for the game was to take advantage of a tired Flames team by pressuring early for a lead. Mike Ribeiro really took that concept to heart, scoring off a rebound only 62 seconds into the first. Robidas and Benn assisted. It was the first time in the 3 games that the Stars scored first.

A few minutes later, Matt Niskanen took a holding penalty, giving the Flames the PP that lead to their first real scoring chance of the game.

Keeping in mind that in the last game, the Oilers scored on the first power play, and that every time the Stars took a lead, Turco promptly gave up a goal, escaping that first PK unscathed was huge. Auld was calm and solid, making a number of saves in close to keep the Stars up by one.

In fact, Auld stopped all 11 shots he faced in the first, and Dallas left the first with a 1-0 lead.

The second period started much like the first. The Stars scored early (Sutherby from Petersen and Ribeiro) and a few minutes later were on the PK again. This time, the Flames scored thanks to a nice shot from Jay Bouwmeester.

Auld did not seem rattled, the Stars regrouped, and quickly extended their lead again thanks to a goal from one of their rookie forwards.

Surprisingly enough, the rookie that scored his first goal of the season against the Flames was not Jamie Benn but Tom Wandell, whose energetic efforts finally paid off. His linemate, Fabian Brunnstrom, and Stephane Robidas assisted.

Stars left the second period up 2-1.

Wandell’s line nearly struck again early in the third, when Steve Ott was pushed into McElhinney and Brunnstrom scored. However, the officials decided to call goalie interference on Ott, negating Brunnstrom’s tally and putting the Flames on a power play.

At 5:17 in the third, the Flames scored with the man-advantage for the last time to pull within one goal. Dallas responded to the disappointing call on Ott and the following goal with impressive determination. Auld locked it down, and the only line not to score yet stepped up to the plate.

Loui Eriksson earned his first goal of the season by beating out Bouwmeester for space in front of the crease and redirecting Richards’ shot into the net. Neal got the second assist, bringing his points streak to 3 goals and 1 assist in 3 games.

Calgary pulled their goalie late in the game in an attempt to tie it, but Richards got a shot off into the net past Dion Phaneuf to seal the deal at 5-2.

Notes:

  • The three game stars, in order: Ribeiro, Robidas, Ott
  • Ribeiro and Richards each had a goal and an assist in the win.
  • Alex Auld stopped 21 of 23 shots and was not scored on at even strength.
  • It was appropriate that Joe Nieuwendyk’s first win as the Stars GM came against the team that traded him to Dallas in 1995.
  • Nicklas Grossman and Stephane Robidas were both on the ice for every single goal scored. Because both of the Flames’ goals came on the power play, both defensemen ended the game +5.
  • The Stars PK has been very generous, unfortunately, allowing 4 power play goals in the last 2 games.
  • Conclusion: The Flames were tired, McElhinney did not always look sharp. This was a game the Stars should have won, and… they did. Auld was strong and steady in net, quietly making saves in key moments. Benn and Wandell continued to impress. A good, well-deserved win, but the real test will be on Sunday.

SHR +/-:

Nicklas Grossman: two for the awesome +5; +2
Stephane Robidas: two for each assist and two for the awesome +5; +6
Jamie Benn: two for the assist and one for routinely prancing around Calgary’s best defensemen; +3
Toby Petersen: two for the assist; +2
James Neal: two for the assist; +2
Brian Sutherby: three for the goal; +3
Loui Eriksson: three for the goal; +3
Tom Wandell: three for the goal, one for being one of the best players on the ice, but minus-one for his continuing struggles at winning faceoffs; +3
Steve Ott: two for the assist; +2
Alex Auld: two for being the solid, confident backup fans have been wanting; +2
Karlis Skrastins: two for more impressive shot blocking, especially on the PK; +2
Mike Ribeiro: three for the goal and two for the assist; +5
Brad Richards: three for the goal and two for the assist; +5
Fabian Brunnstrom: two for the assist; +2

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