Posts tagged ‘Game Review’

March 19, 2009

Game Review – 3/17/09 (DAL at VAN) and 3/18/09 (DAL at CGY)

by Kristine

Games:

I’m going to try to keep this simple. We lost both these games, and there’s been a lot of talk about why that is. The blame game can be played in many ways here. You could start back at the beginning, and blame Hull for signing Avery. You could also blame Avery for being Avery and not fitting in. You could blame Turco for his world of suck earlier in the season. You could blame Tippett for not keeping lines together. You could blame Jackson for not upgrading our blue line at the trade deadline. If you really wanted to, you could put some blame on Fabian Brunnstrom for not being willing to spend a year in the minors. You could put a bit of blame on Matt Niskanen for being young and not as solid defensively as he could be. Actually if you’re going to go that far, you could probably find some blame to put on just about every single player on the ice and most of the office to boot.

Here’s the thing. It’s just not that simple. You can’t boil it down to “the season sucked because of this player or that person.” It’s been a huge combination of things. Did Avery’s signing contribute to the problems? Yes, I think that’s been made clear. Did Turco’s bad season hurt? Obviously it did. Beyond that, Tippett has done the best he can with the one thing that’s made the biggest impact: injuries.

Look at this list of players who are currently injured: Brenden Morrow, Sergei Zubov, Mike Modano, Brad Richards, Steve Begin, Brian Sutherby, Toby Petersen. Four huge names, two important grit guys, and Petersen. Going back in time, add to that list players who have spent (relatively) significant amounts of time injured: Jere Lehtinen, Steve Ott, Stephane Robidas, Fabian Brunnstrom, Landon Wilson, Joel Lundqvist, Mark Parrish. Another impressive list. In fact, it would almost be easier to name the players who have been healthy this season. Off the top of my head? Mike Ribeiro, Loui Eriksson, James Neal, Krys Barch, and our young D. Oh, and Sydor and Morrison. Chris Conner has been healthy, but he would be in the AHL if we weren’t so short on bodies. Same with Hutchinson as he’s been scratched for ages now. Is it any wonder we’ve been losing? Ribs and Loui are fantastic but as we’ve seen lately, they can’t be expected to carry the entire team for the rest of the season.

Because we’ve been battling the Injury Gods all season, the pressure has been on Tippett to keep the playoff dream alive. His solution has been to play intense, playoff-level hockey since about the end of December, and we’re starting to see the result of that. The Stars are exhausted. The past few weeks have been proof of that. Sure, we’ve won the odd game here and there and yes, players are still having great nights here and there. But overall, they look worn out and beaten down. I don’t blame them one bit. I will admit that I do somewhat blame Tippett for pushing them until they have nothing left to give, although I do understand why he did it. He was doing his best to keep his team running, and for a while it worked. The Stars went on that great run in January and early February, but within a few weeks were back to losing. Richards breaking his wrist seemed to be the metaphorical nail in the tire and they’ve been deflating ever since.

There are eleven games left in this season. If the Stars make the playoffs, that’s another at least four games. Can they continue to play at the level they’ve been playing at for that long? I don’t believe they can. Mike Ribeiro and Stephane Robidas are playing nearly 30 minutes a night, and it shows. Mike Modano is out with a lower body injury after the Vancouver game, and I’m sure his injury is made worse by the total fatigue his body must be experiencing. Same with Sutherby leaving last night’s game. How much longer until Robi, Ribs, and Loui push themselves too far and wind up on our laundry list of injured players? We can offer sacrifices and prayers to the Injury Gods all we want, but I don’t think it would surprise anyone to see them hurt.

The Stars are in 10th in the West now. At this point, take the pressure off. Stop playing the high level of hockey, let the young guys take bigger minutes and rest the top line guys, and see what happens. I would think the health of the team would more important than making the playoffs, especially if you’re making them with a roster that reads like an AHL team’s anyway.

SHR +/-:

DAL at VAN (3/1709)
Stephane Robidas: two for the assist and one pity point for playing almost half the game with an exhausting 27:35; +2
Matt Niskanen: one for leading in SOG and one for a very solid game; +2
Mike Modano: two for the assist but minus one for the team-high four giveaways; +1
James Neal: three for the goal, one for the two huge takeaways in the first and one for having a very good game overall; +5
Chris Conner: two for the assist and one for being willing to hit when nobody else is; +3
Jere Lehtinen: one yay you’re back point and one for making magic with anyone and everyone; +2
Mark Fistric: one for playing a very physical game; +1
Steve Ott: three for the goal, one for leading in hits with five and one for drawing penalties left and right even if nobody could capitalize on the PP; +5
Marty Turco: one for making some huge saves at critical times; +1
Steve Begin: one for winning a team-best 40% of his faceoffs and two pity points for that huge hit he took; +3
Darryl Sydor: one for the solid game; +1
Mike Ribeiro: two for the assist, one for playing almost half the game with 27:19, and one pity point for how exhausted he must be; +3

DAL at CGY (3/18/09)
Nicklas Grossman: one for doing the most banging in corners with four hits; +1
Stephane Robidas: two for the assist and one for tying for most SOG with three; +3
Matt Niskanen: one for tying for most SOG with three and one for being strong on the PK; +2
Trevor Daley: one for leading in TOI with 24:47, one for tying for most SOG with three, and one for thinking quickly enough to give Turco his stick and take Ott’s for himself; +3
Brendan Morrison: three for the goal, but minus one for leading the team with three giveaways and minus-one for winning only 27% of his faceoffs; +1
Krys Barch: one because I’d rather have him in the lineup than certain others; +1
James Neal: minus-one for coming off a great game and doing absolutely nothing; -1
Brian Sutherby: one for winning 50% of his faceoffs when nobody else could win any and one “please don’t be hurt” point; +2
Loui Eriksson: two for the assist and one for tying for most blocked shots with four; +3
Mark Fistric: one for being the only D to end in the positive and one for upending Olli Jokinen in front of the net; +2
Steve Ott: one for the fight, one for not losing it, but minus-one for picking it to begin with; +1
Marty Turco: one for not sucking; +1
Darryl Sydor: one for tying for most blocked shots with four; +1

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December 15, 2008

Game Review – 12/13/08 (DAL at NSH)

by Chelsea

Okay, sort of.

Due to Tobias Stephan getting his first start since Halloween, and because writing about getting shut out hurts the brain, we’re going to do a goalie study instead.

The Washington Capitals are having a bit of goalie controversy, what with Jose Theodore and Brent Johnson both pushing for the top spot. Common consensus is that Johnson deserves it, and Caps blog Japer’s Rink had this nifty idea to graph out Johnson’s sv% and GAA.

Tobias Stephan hasn’t even gotten 10 NHL appearances under his belt, so there’s no chance of actual goalie controversy in Dallas, but his fine showing in a sad loss raised his stats above Turco’s. Curious about the consistency of our own netminders, I stole JR’s idea and made my own (much less fancy) graphs.

Marty Turco                                    Tobias Stephan

For someone that is supposedly improving, Turco has had horrible consistency for GA/G, especially in the last handful of games. 1 goal allowed one night and then 4 allowed in the next, twice in a row? Is it a question of the team’s inconsistency rubbing off on Turco’s stats, or the other way around?

Because Turco does have 20 more games than Stephan, I graphed out the Sv% for his first six as well, to compare it more accurately.

Given that half of Stephan’s appearances came in the middle of games, when Turco was pulled, and he was left to hold the fort for a team that always struggles when Turco is playing badly… his graphs look surprisingly consistent in comparison.

For those that maybe aren’t visual learners, some numbers:

Out of Turco’s 26 appearances, only 10 times has he posted a sv% over .900.

Stephan has 3 out of 6 times.

Out of Turco’s remaining 16 appearances, 2 were .800 and 4 were under that.

Stephan has 1 that was .800 and none under.

To rephrase:

Turco posted NHL-caliber numbers 1.66 times for every bad game he had.

Stephan did very well 3 times for every bad game he had.

Is this enough basis to say “toss Turco, start Stephan!”? Not exactly. Is it enough to suggest he’s earned a start more than once a month? Absolutely. Anyone that saw his go-go gadget glove save against the Predators is likely to agree.

Since none of the pictures from the most recent Dallas vs Nashville game are very team-flattering, how about a vintage shot instead? Comes with complimentary cow.

December 14, 2008

Game Review – 12/12/08 (DAL vs DET)

by Chelsea

Game:

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.

Notes:

  • 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

December 12, 2008

Game Review – 12/10/08 (DAL vs PHX)

by Chelsea

Game:

There was an indiscernible good feeling going into this game. The Avery situation was being dealt with, we had a new center and an actual fourth line in Swedish import Tom Wandell, and were coming off a slight but much-needed win against Colorado.

Of course, assuming you know how the game ended, that good feeling did not bring us the start of a winning streak. Instead, it was quickly converted into a grimace-inducing loss.

The first period started with a bit of hope. Rookie James Neal spent some time exchanging hits with Todd Fedoruk, a big hitter with nearly 40 pounds on Neal. Fedoruk, who did not register points, but made an effort to be a giant physical pain all night.

Shortly after, the first of many unnecessary penalties was taken, by Coyote Zbynek Michalek, at 2:04 for sending the puck over the glass. Whoops.

The two minutes passed with the Stars only getting 1 shot on goal, from RW Mark Parrish. How many times do they have to be told to shoot the puck on the man advantage?

The PP did give Dallas strong momentum, though, and it turned into points shortly after Phoenix returned to full strength.

The production came from a fast, well-orchestrated play from Chris Conner to  Toby Petersen, and then from Petersen to Trevor Daley.  Daley took a shot off from the faceoff circle left of Bryzgalov that rang off the post and into the net, giving Dallas a 1-0 lead 4:34 into the first. I believe, though I’m not entirely positive, that it was the first goal from a Dallas defenseman since Matt Niskanen scored on October 29th against the Minnesota Wild.

Darryl Sydor joined in the fun at 4:50, flipping the puck off the ice and getting 2 minutes for it.

Phoenix captain Shane Doan pretty much dominated that PP, nearly scoring on Turco and doing his best to squash Mike Ribeiro. No PPG for them, though. Towards the end of the PK, Loui Erikkson got a scoring opportunity against Bryzgalov, unfortunately stopped.

Not even three minutes after taking an early lead, the Stars saw it slip away. At 7:19, Martin Hanzal wreaked some emotional havoc for the first of two times in the game. With half of the Stars on the ice getting tricked and confused behind the net, and Turco unable to slid across his crease fast enough, Hanzal slid the puck barely between Turco and the post to tie the game. Unlucky Breaks Tally (things that, had they not happened, would have kept Dallas from being a crumbly mess): 1.

Viktor Tikhonov and Zbynek Michalek with assists.

Brad Richards got all flustered or something? Got his second regular season penalty as a Star for holding the stick at 8:10. D’oh! Richards. Do I directly blame him for the following goal? No, but only because penalties are so rare from him. Otherwise, well, you can’t get scored on during the PK if you don’t have guys in the box to begin with.

At 9:49, Olli Jokinen, returning to the lineup for the first time since his shoulder injury, tipped a puck in past Turco from a blue line shot by Ed Jovanovski. Second assist went to Derek Morris.

However, not even a minute later (10:26), Mikkel Boedker got a holding penalty on Chris Conner and put the Stars on a critical power play.

The game was re-tied shortly after, during the consequential power play, when James Neal found himself with a puck and a partially open net. Stephane Robidas faked a shot, drawing Bryzgalov out of position, only to pass the puck to Neal, who steadied it and put it in the net.

The goal came at 10:58, with Mike Modano getting the second assist.

There were four more penalties in the first. Tikhonov got a hooking minor for the Coyotes. Andrew Hutchinson got the third delay of game penalty for the Stars. Then, Enver Lisin and Derek Morris took back-to-back cross checking penalties. Despite all the man advantages and a 5-on-3 in favor of the Stars, the score remained tied exiting the first.

Somewhere in here, Stephane Robidas took a puck/stick (I believe it is the latter, but have heard it was the former) in the mouth, leaving plenty of blood on the ice and would not return until midway through the second period. Anyone know for sure how it happened?

Second period.

Started on a power play. Then, at 3:13, got another one when Lisin got two minutes for hooking Sydor. Shockingly, the Stars did not score on their power play.

In typical Stars fashion, as two minutes is not enough time for them to convert momentum into scoring, the goal came a little bit later.

It was off another fast play from a lower line (Brunnstrom-Petersen-Conner, I believe?) that led to Conner setting up Fabian “Tiebreaker Bunny” Brunnstrom out in front of the net. And so the tie was broken. 3-2 Stars at 8:35 in the second, Conner and Sydor with the assists.

Things went pretty well for awhile after that, despite a couple untimely penalties and pathetic power plays. Trevor Daley, who saved a goal somewhere in the first by backing up Turco and clearing the puck from his crease, would eat any points he would have earned by taking a stupid penalty that changed the momentum of the game.

Basically, Daniel Carcillo, who had been in the box for knocking over Turco who totally sold it as goalie interference by being really easy to knock over, managed to sneak out of the sin bin with remarkable timing. Daley, who let Carcillo sneak up and grab the puck between him and Turco without even realizing, suddenly found himself chasing a possibly problematic breakaway. So, what did he do? He tried to chop Carcillo down like a tree by slashing him in the legs. Thus, setting up the Coyotes for a power play of their own.

Jokinen, on PP fire, made sure to punish Daley thoroughly. At 19:56 in the third, during a frantic PK that was barely holding on to their team’s lead, Marty Turco was thrown horribly out of position and left a gaping net for Jokinen, who took full advantage. Jovanovski and Mueller got the assists.

Second period ended with a major blow, and a loss of momentum not to be regained.

Third period. Mm. That fuse that the ‘Yotes lit in the second? It’d set off a big time explosion not too long after.

Only five minutes in, Turco left his crease to retrieve the puck, hitting it around the boards behind his net. As he slowwllly wannddered back to his crease, the puck bounced oddly and unfortunately off Daley’s stick. Unlucky Breaks Tally: 2. The puck hopped out eagerly in front of the net, where Martin Hanzal just so happened to be. While Matt Niskanen dived out in front of the still-empty net, Hanzal had no trouble getting it past him, and it suddenly became a chasing game again.

I timed it. Is there any reason it takes Turco 6 seconds to get from the board to his net? We saw Tobias Stephan move from the crease to the bench in about 2 seconds. Come on, Turco, would a little hustle kill you? Ergggg. Even Niskanen saw it coming and thought fast enough to try and stop it.

The goal came at 5:21 and was unassisted (and giftwrapped. Merry Christmas!).

The Stars tried to fight back unsuccessfully. Neal got a little violent and took his anger out on Carcillo, much to our delight. Carcillo, meet Neal; Carcillo, meet ice.

As the clock wound down, the Stars (very stupidly – do they watch their own PPs?) went empty net. The puck bounced through center ice soooon after, Steven Reinprecht picked it up, Robidas was the nearest Star and still all the way across the ice. He couldn’t catch up, Reinprecht has enough skill to score in an empty net, and it was 5-3 Coyotes.

Goal was at 19:36, with assists to Shane Doan and Ilya Bryzgalov.

Notes:

  • Three game stars, in order: Jokinen, Neal, Hanzal
  • Despite missing a large chunk of the game getting stitched up, and spending the rest occassionally dripping blood onto the ice, Stephane Robidas led the team in TOI with 25:14.
  • Speaking of Robidas, he also tied with Toby Petersen for most SOG (4), tallied an assist, and ended the game even in +/-.
  • James Neal led the team in takeaways (3) and Grossman and Daley tied for most blocked shots with 4 each.
  • Brad Richards had the worst +/- at -3, tallied no points, and only got 1 SOG in over twenty minutes of ice time.
  • Turco stopped 29 of 33 shots for a .879 sv%.
  • Tom Wandell made his debut, but only got six minutes and did not register any points.

SHR +/-:

Nicklas Grossman: two for tying for the lead in hits and blocked shots; +2
Stephane Robidas: two for the assist and two for a good game despite playing with a bloody mouth; +4
Trevor Daley: three for the goal, one for the goal he prevented, minus-two for the stupid penalty, and minus-two for the goal he giftwrapped; +0
Mike Modano: two for the assist; +2
Krys Barch: two for tying for the lead in most hits; +2
Toby Petersen: two for the assist and one for an otherwise good game; +3
James Neal: three for the goal; +3
Tom Wandell: one for his debut; +1
Chris Conner: two for each assist; +4
Marty Turco: minus-two for icky savelessness; -2
Darryl Sydor: two for the assist; +2
Brad Richards: minus-one for the team worst +/- and minus-one for the rare stupid penalty; -2
Fabian Brunnstrom: three for the goal; +3

December 6, 2008

Game Review – 12/05/08 (DAL vs COL)

by Chelsea

Game:

The Stars returned home to face the Avalanche at the AAC. Both teams played without their captains, both looking to climb their way up closer to a playoff spot.

Having just been dealt a painful loss to the Edmonton Oilers, the Stars brought their game faces to the night’s contest. Eriksson-Richards-Wilson acted as the starting lineup, with Robidas-Grossman on defense.

One end of the ice housed Marty Turco, who was tested not even a minute into the first period by Milan Hejduk. He made the save easily and with a limited amount of scrambling, setting a precedence for the rest of the game.

Doug Janik played as a fourth line forward, but during his first shift he exchanged hits with Chris Stewart. Though there’s no proof that Janik exited the ice worse for the wear, he did not get another shift for the entire game.

The first penalty of the game came at 7:09 when Ruslan Salei got a minor for tripping. It was followed by a lackluster Stars powerplay without any shots on goal.

The next power play (at 10:58, when Brent Clark got 2 for holding the stick) looked no better, also resulting in no shots on goal.

The final Avalanche penalty of the first game came at 16:48 when Daniel Tjarnqvist tripped Toby Petersen. Though the man advantage failed to produce once more, it did look better, with James Neal nearly cramming the puck past Budaj.

Turco made an excellent save on Paul Stastny at the end of the first, but an attempt to stop him from even getting a shot off, Stephane Robidas earned himself a hooking minor.

The first period ended 0-0, with the Stars outshooting the Avalanche 8-7.

Despite starting the second period on PK thanks to Robidas’ slip-up in the first, Dallas managed to build a bit of moment by successfully holding back the Avalanche.

Trevor Daley ate some of the momentum as he sat in the sin bin, having gotten called for interference at 3:38 – only two minutes after Robidas’ penalty expired. However, the Stars refused Colorado once again, leaving the PK unscathed.

A minute after returning to full strength, the Stars were on the assault again. As the puck cycled around the Avalanche’s zone, Matt Niskanen kept it from being cleared with a catch on the blue line and a pass to Mike Modano. Modano shot the puck, and Toby Petersen swept in to catch the feed and tip it in past Budaj.

Stars went up 1-0 at 7:57 with what would come to be their sole regulation goal.

Nicklas Grossman took the last penalty of the game at 11:25 in the second. Avalanche didn’t score, putting both teams at 0-for-3 for the night’s PPs.

The period ended 1-0 Stars, probably the first time all season that they held the opposition off the scoreboard for the first two periods.

Third period.

Both teams got ample scoring opportunities, but the game held at 1-0 for the majority of the period. Turco made some big saves, doing his best to steal a win for his apparently offensively-challenged teammates.

Turco came within 56 seconds of a shut out. Unfortunately, the Avalanche were not to be denied, and set up a killer play that resulted in a ridiculous amount of crease traffic and the puck flying over Turco’s shoulder. The goal was scored by Marek Svatos with assists from Stastny and Ryan Smyth.

As regulation ended and overtime loomed, we reflected on the records so far this season. The Stars had gone into 4 overtimes and lost all of them, including two shootout losses. Colorado had yet to lose in overtime and were on a shootout winning streak, having won all four of theirs this season and the last four from the season before.

Overtime passed with neither teams scoring, pushing the game into a fairly dreaded shootout.

First up for the Stars was Brad Richards, who went with a simple wrist shot that Budaj stopped.

First for the Avalanche was Wojtek Wolski, who also went with a wrister. His made it past Turco, putting shootout at 1-0 in their favor.

Next for Dallas was Fabian Brunnstrom, presumably awarded with his first shootout attempt for having a strong game that night. He tried a slow backhand that was also stopped.

With the game on the line and Svatos up next, Turco came up with a big save and kept the shootout at 1-0.

With the game still on the line, Tippett sent out Mike Ribeiro. He stood 1-2 on the shootout so far this season, having tried a creative between-the-legs move both times. This time, he threw off Budaj’s timing and popped the puck into the net with a simple but highly-effective wrist shot.

With the shootout now at 1-1 and Colorado sending out their last shooter, it was again in Turco’s hands. Hejduk did his best, but was also stopped by Turco, sending the SO into a fourth round.

Mike Modano was the fourth shooter for the Stars, and he also used a smart, simple move to beat Budaj. He eased up to the goaltender, flicking the puck past him with a smooth wrist shot that was oddly familiar. The puck went up, popped off Budaj’s glove, and went behind him into the net.

Turco, again with all the “game’s up to you” pressure, was left facing a determined Smyth, who had to score to push a fifth round. Smyth didn’t do so hot, Turco made a solid save, and the Stars won their first shootout of the season.

Notes:

  • The three game stars, in order: Petersen, Svatos, Turco
  • My three game stars, in order: Turco, Svatos, Modano
  • The Stars are now at 10-12-4 and, with 24 points, no longer sit in the league’s cellar. That right belongs to the Atlanta Thrashers (8-14-3, 19 points).
  • Marty Turco stopped 26 of 27 shots for a sparkling .962 sv%
  • Mike Ribeiro is now 2/3 in this season’s shootouts, and Modano is 1/2.
  • James Neal led the team in SOG (5), followed closely by Toby Petersen (4).
  • Out of the 3 games in which Sean Avery has been suspended, the Stars have now won 2, backing up the best stretch of 10 games they’ve had this season (5-4-1)
  • Matt Niskanen now has 3 points in the last four games. Toby Petersen is on a four-game four-point streak.
  • Conclusion: It was a good win, coming despite all the injuries, drama, and barely-plugged roster holes. Still, the power play is a sore spot, having only produced twice in the last 37 chances. Toby Petersen is stepping up his game, but with Joel Lundqvist’s impending return, he could be seeing a lot more time on the wing. If Turco can continue to play well and the special teams righted, the Stars could very well claim their playoff spot before the year’s end.

SHR +/-:

Matt Niskanen: two for the assist and one for the redeeming game; +3
Mike Modano: two for the assist, two for the shootout goal, and one for outplaying people half his age; +5
Toby Petersen: three for the goal and one for an otherwise solid game; +4
James Neal: one for clocking an impressive 24:29 (second only to Ribeiro), one for leading in SOG, and one for checking someone so hard in the corner that he made the Ice Girls who were standing in the tunnel shriek; +3
Landon Wilson: one for leaving the bench to celebrate the win with his helmet on backwards; +1
Doug Janik: one concern point for being the only Star to deliver a hit in the first period and possibly getting hurt for it; +1
Marty Turco: three for being himself again through the entire game and one for the solid shootout; +4
Darryl Sydor: one for leading in blocked shots; +1
Mike Ribeiro: two for the shootout goal; +2
Fabian Brunnstrom: one for a solid game and one for leading in takeaways; +2

Off Ice +/-:

Mike Modano: one for stating he’d not be discussing Avery after 11:15am and two for sticking to it; +3

December 6, 2008

Game Review – 12/03/08 (DAL at EDM)

by Chelsea

Game:

Puck dropped in Edmonton at 8:30PM CT. Oilers looking for a revenge win, Stars looking for a win streak.

Scoring opened 1:11 into the first with a Shawn Horcoff shot from 40 feet back that Matt Niskanen accidentally deflected in trying to help block it. Assists went to Dustin Penner and Ales Hemsky.

Loui Eriksson got a tripping penalty at 11:35, but the Oilers did not score.

They didn’t score on Mark Parrish’s hooking penalty at 14:32 either.

Instead, they waited until the Landon Wilson hooking at 18:59.

At 19:48, Lubomir Visnovsky shot from the line, getting another soft goal in on Turco. Andrew Cogliano and Dustin Penner got assists.

First period ended 2-0 in favor of Edmonton.

Second period started poorly as well.

3:41 and Stars were in a 3-0 hole when Marc Pouliot got the puck under Turco as he attempted to stack the pads. Fruity Pebbles and Visnovsky got the assists.

Liam Reddox (8:51, interference on goalkeeper), Mike Modano (13:06, hi sticking), and Schremp (18:41, hooking) all got penalties, but neither team capitalized on the consequential power plays.

Second period ended 3-0 Oilers.

Third started with improvement.

An opportunity opened up 1:07 in the third when Fabian Brunnstrom provided Mike Modano with a rebound that he quickly made the best of. 3-1, Chris Conner getting the second assist.

Wilson (6:11, interference on goalkeeper), Schremp (8:35, too many men/ice), and Kyle Brodziak (12:59, tripping) all offered up wasted PP chances.

Modano scored again at 18:20, tipping in a shot from Toby Petersen. Darryl Sydor got the second assists.

One goal down, Turco headed to the bench. Unfortunately, Niskanen had a very unfortunate turnover on the Stars blue line that Trevor Daley stared at rather than helping out with, leading to a big empty net goal by Ales Hemsky.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Turco returned to his crease with a minute to play and managed to let in a fifth goal. This one came at 19:47 from Cogliano, with assists by Sam Gagner and Sheldon Souray.

5-2 Oilers final.

Notes:

  • Three game stars, in order: Visnovsky, Horcoff, Modano
  • Turco sported a paltry .809 sv% and let in 4 goals.
  • James Neal and Mike Ribeiro each ended the game -3.
  • Modano led the team in SOG with 7.
  • Matt Niskanen had a pretty bad game, with 4 turnovers.
  • Stars outshot the Oilers (25-22), but were outhit (9-6) and beat in the faceoff circle (57%-43%).
  • Conclusion: The Stars were mentally and physically exhausted, having had their fair share of player controversy in the past few days and playing in their second contest in as many nights. On top of it all, a good number of key players were still out of the lineup. While it would have been a much-needed win, it was also a fairly forgivable loss.

SHR +/-:

Nicklas Grossman: one for leading in blocked shots; +1
Matt Niskanen: minus-one for leading in giveaways and minus-two for the goals he was partially responsible for; -3
Mike Modano: three for each goal and one for leading the attempted comeback; +7
Toby Petersen: two for the assist; +2
James Neal: minus-one for the -3; -1
Landon Wilson: minus-one for more stupid penalties; -1
Chris Conner: two for the assist; +2
Andrew Hutchinson: one for being the only D to end in the +/- positive with +1; +1
Marty Turco: minus-two for being so easy to score on; -2
Darryl Sydor: two for the assist; +2
Mike Ribiero: minus-one for the -3, minus-one for the giveaways, but one for the takeaways; -1
Brad Richards: minus-one for stinking at faceoffs; -1
Fabian Brunnstrom: two for the assist; +2

December 3, 2008

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

December 1, 2008

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

November 29, 2008

Game Review – 11/28/08 (DAL vs SJS)

by Chelsea

The Good:

  • James Neal: The 21-year-old winger scored his fourth goal in the five games since he returned from playing with the Manitoba Moose. After outperforming some key veterans, he ought to have sealed his spot on the Stars roster.
  • Loui Eriksson: Netting his 11th of the season, Eriksson is now on a four-game points streak, giving him 6 points in the last five games. He now challenges Mike Ribeiro (19) and Brad Richards (19) for leading the team in points (18) as well as goals.
  • Neal + Eriksson: The five of the team’s last six goals have come from either in this pair. Combined, they have 17 of the team’s 56 goals this season.
  • Tobias Stephan: He came out onto the ice cheered on by the crowd. He stopped 10 of the 11 shots he faced during his short time in the third period, for a .909 sv% – not bad for having to clean up that mess against a team like the Sharks. You’d think he’d have earned a full game’s start with that kind of play, but Tippett’s determined to hang his hat on Turco. Nonetheless, we’re still proud of Stephan and his quick glove saves.
  • Stars Promotional Yearbook: Free things and goofy baby pictures are a nice way to avoid thinking about the 6-2 loss you were just handed.

The Bad:

  • Half of our defense: Niskanen with a sloppy turnover. Niskanen and Grossman ending the game with team-worst -2. Zubov possibly injured. Someone needs to step up or this situation will just continue getting worse.
  • Special teams: The PP is 0-21 in the last four games. 1/3 of the Sharks goals were PPG. If the defense and goaltending is going to continue rolling downhill, then someone needs to learn to score on the power play. One of these being bad is hard enough to recover from, but both PK and PP? They can’t count on blind luck every night.
  • Marty Turco: He’s comfy. He’s unmotivated. He’s unfocused. He’s letting in 5 goals on 19 shots. We could probably score on him at this point, blindfolded, one-handed, while eating pie. Why doesn’t he get bench time? It’s worked before, and it will work again. Since when did the Stars become The Marty Turco Project? He’s had every chance to play through this slump and he’s wasted them all. No team can be motivated to win if they can’t count on their goaltender giving them any sort of chance.
  • 6 Sharks Goals: Few things sting like providing your rival with a night of fun stat-boosting.

The Ugly:


SHR +/-:

Nicklas Grossman: minus-one for subpar defense; -1
Stephane Robidas: one for logging the most TOI and still having the best +/- on the team; +1
Matt Niskanen: minus-one for subpar defense; -1
James Neal: three for the goal and one pity point for how sad he looked right after; +4
Loui Eriksson: three for the goal; +3
Landon Wilson: minus-one for getting yet another stupid penalty; -1
Tobias Stephan: two for trying to clean up Turco’s mess, one for doing such a good job of it, and one for being shockingly fast on that delayed penalty; +4
Marty Turco: minus-three for hitting rock bottom in a 20+ game slump; -3
Mark Parrish: two for the assist; +2
Mike Ribeiro: two for the assist; +2
Brad Richards: two for the assist; +2

November 25, 2008

Game Review – 11/24/08 (DAL vs PHI)

by Chelsea

Game:

Philadelphia Flyers vs Dallas Stars.

At 3:17, scoring opened in favor of the Flyers, whose first SOG of the night went zooming past Turco. After Nicklas Grossman got plastered in the corner, Scottie Upshall was left perfectly open in front of the net for a pass from Joffrey Lupul. Turco was in the wrong side of his crease and didn’t manage to make the save.

At 11:33, Landon Wilson tied the game at 1-1. The only assist went to Darryl Sydor, who retrieved the puck from the boards and sent it towards Flyers netminder Martin Biron. Wilson picked it up from there to throw it in the net for his first NHL goal in four years.

It seemed like the period would end in a tie, but at 16:00 in the first Simon Gagne broke away from Sean Avery and Stephane Robidas and managed to pass the puck ahead to Mike Knuble, who flipped it easily past Turco.

First ended 2-1, which was plenty cause for worry, because so far out of the 11 times we’d left the first trailing, we’d only managed to win once.

At 00:28 in the second, Upshall tripped Sergei Zubov in a race to reach an iced puck, sending Zubov against the boards. Despite being slow to rise, Zubov skated himself off the ice and returned to the game uninjured. Upshall got a 2 minute tripping minor.

Unfortunately, the Stars would not convert their first PP opportunity of the game.

Instead, the goal would come two seconds afterwards. “Robidas… shot, save, Modano… the rebound! He scores!” At 2:30, Mike Modano did what James Neal did a few games earlier against the Blackhawks – swooping in behind the rebound scramble to collect the lose puck and put it in the net. The assists officially went to Loui Eriksson and Mark Parrish, but I’m also going to give Robidas SHR points for the initial cheesy rebound shot.

At 4:38, Josh Gratton got two minutes for roughing Sean Avery. No PP goal here, either.

8:33, Toby Petersen trips a Flyer. Stars PK did its job. Game continues at 2-2.

At 14:12, Jeff Carter scores for the Flyers, with the assist from Scott Hartnell.

At 17:26, Trevor Daley stole a dropped pass from a Flyer, whisking it ahead to Brad Richards. Richards’ shot was saved and the puck wound up behind the net with Trevor Daley. Daley passed to Modano, who scored again to tie the game.

2nd period ended 2-2.

Third period.

8:01 in and Braydon Coburn trips up Mike Ribeiro in the Dallas defensive zone, who flies to the ice looking determined and angry and still manages to swat the puck towards center ice. PP Stars, still no goal.

At 9:57, Mike Knuble grabbed Petersen and held on long enough for a holding penalty. Again, no PPG for the Stars.

At 14:52, defenseman Doug Janik had a mental lapse and turned the puck over to the Flyers. Then, he failed entirely at retrieving it or stopping it from going in Turco’s net. Another goal for Mike Knuble, assists for Mike Richards and Simon Gagne, and the tie breaks 4-3 Flyers.

Despite a Coburn hooking minor with a minute left in the game, the Stars played ‘hot potato’ with the puck and spent the entire time passing the puck from player to player. The only SOG registered was one by Mike Modano, when he chased the dumped puck into the Stars zone with three seconds on the clock and smacked it across the ice to Biron’s net. Nice try, Mo.

Notes:

  • Three stars of the game, in order: Knuble, Modano, Carter
  • Matt Niskanen was again scratched for Janik, who ended up having a less-than-stellar game.
  • Mike Modano is now only 2 points away from having 1,300 career total.
  • Steve Ott was scratched, due to having broken his hand in a fight during the last game.
  • Brad Richards led in SOG (5), followed by James Neal (4)
  • Stephane Robidas and Mark Parrish tied for the most hits (3), while everyone but Trevor Daley, Sergei Zubov, Brad Richards, and Fabian Brunnstrom had at least one hit.
  • The Stars won in faceoffs overall with 55%, led by Mike Modano’s 68%.
  • Conclusion: Plain to see, the many many turnovers led to the Stars downfall this time. However, people do make mistakes, and that’s what we have defense for. And when defense makes mistakes, that’s what the goalies for. I find it hard to say we should excuse Turco for his 5-goal 5-hole, because I refuse to accept that we’ve become a team with such a poor netminder that we’ve now begun nitpicking the other players for letting it get to him in the first place. On the other end, people like Zubov, Ribeiro, Avery, and Richards need to take a page from Modano’s book- shoot the puck at the net (it doesn’t have to be pretty) and eventually it goes in… as long as you don’t completely miss the net.

SHR +/-:

Nicklass Grossman: minus-one for unimpressive play; -1
Stephane Robidas: two for the assist, one for intelligent play, minus-one for a nasty turnover, but one for doing what it took to get it back; +3
Trevor Daley: two for the assist; +2
Mike Modano: three for each goal and one for effort; +7
Sean Avery: minus-one for irritating Stars fans more than players on opposing teams; -1
Toby Petersen: one for his defensive work but minus-one for his offensive work; +0
Loui Eriksson: two for the assist; +2
Landon Wilson: three for the goal; +3
Doug Janik: minus-two for all that sloppy; -2
Mark Parrish: two for the assist; +2
Darryl Sydor: two for the assist; +2
Brad Richards: two for the assist but minus-two for squandering many wonderful opportunities; +0