Posts tagged ‘Landon Wilson’

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

March 15, 2009

SHR +/- 3/14/09 (DAL vs MIN)

by Kristine

Nicklas Grossman: three for the goal, one for being so excited to score it, one for catching Robi’s flying leap into his arms, but minus-one for the PK issues that led to the Wild’s PPG; +4

Stephane Robidas: one for playing a team-high 27:26 and still ending the game +2, one for tying most SOG with four, and one for the flying leap into Grossman’s arms; +3

Trevor Daley: two for having a great defensive game; +2

Mike Modano:
one for coming out with his skates on fire and one for yet again forgetting he’s supposed to be “old”; +2

Brendan Morrison:
one for winning all four of his faceoffs since that’s what he’s supposed to be good at and one for making such an effort to fit in with the team; +2

James Neal:
one for showing that he’s still a big puck-pursuing puppy with four takeaways; +1

Brian Sutherby:
one for tying most hits with five; +1

Loui Eriksson:
two for each assist and one for being aware of where his linemates are at all times; +7

Landon Wilson:
one for hard work and a good game; +1

Chris Conner:
one for hard work and a good game; +1

Mark Fistric:
minus-one for the unneccessary penalty; -1

Steve Ott:
three for each goal and one for tying most SOG with four; +7

Marty Turco:
two for giving up nothing but the post in the third but minus one for not locking it down earlier; +1

Joel Lundqvist:
minus-one for doing basically nothing at a time when he should be trying to prove his worth to the team; -1

Steve Begin:
one for tying most hits with five; +1

Mike Ribeiro:
two for each assist, one for tying his career high with a seven-game point streak, and one for winning 61% of his faceoffs, including the one that sent Grossman his game-winner; +6

March 10, 2009

Power Rankings Round-Up

by Kristine

Welcome to the return of PRRU. I skipped last week due to the excitement of the trade deadline, and a lot has happened between the last one, on February 24, and this round. Petersen was placed on IR, we acquired Steve Begin from Montreal, Ott got mugged and suspended, we went on a five-game losing streak at home, we snagged Brendan Morrison off waivers from the Ducks, and Landon Wilson returned from his shoulder injury. Looking at that laundry list, it will be interesting to see how our rankings have changed. I’ll be noting not only where we are this week compared to last week, but where we were for my last PRRU post (pre-trade deadline).

Actual rank: 19th in league; 9th in West; 2nd in Pacific.
Record: 31-27-8. L10: 3-6-1.

Andrew’s by Mark Stepneski
Stars: 18 this week; 21 last week; 11 pre-deadline. “Stars’ come off solid 2-0-1 road trip by losing to Montreal to extend their home losing streak to six games.”
Of Note: Nashville Predators at 16 this week; 18 last week. “The Predators’ six-game winning streak ends with a 4-1 loss in Philadelphia. Nashville with a 12-5 edge in third period goals over their last eight games. “
My thoughts: See what losing six straight home games will do? Bump you down on EVERY list – including power rankings and playoff contenders and actual league rankings. What good does a solid 5-of-6-points road trip do when you can’t win a home game? If anything, the back and forth and lack of consistency is dooming the team to missing both the playoffs and a decent draft pick. In the mean time, while the Stars are busy losing, the Preds have been busy winning. They currently sit above the Stars in the 8th seed in the West and seem to be making a hard last-hour push. Are they the Stars’ biggest competition right now? I might say yes if I didn’t believe that the Stars’ biggest competition is themselves.

ESPN by Joy Russo
Stars: 21 this week; 20 last week; 11 pre-deadline. “There’s no place like the road for the Dallas Stars? They matched a franchise record with their sixth consecutive home loss in Sunday’s 3-1 decision versus the Canadiens. Last time that happened? 1970.”
Of Note: Anaheim Ducks at 20 this week; 15 last week. “Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer are still in town, Travis Moen and Kent Huskins are not, and the Ducks seem to be slowly falling further out of playoff contention.
My thoughts: It’s no secret that I hate the Ducks. Their players are dirty and they’re just mediocre enough that I can’t respect them for their talent. So to hear that people consider them to be falling further out of playoff contention makes me happy until I realize that their L10 of 3-6-1 is exactly the same as our L10. Ouch. Going by that, if they’re falling out of playoff contention, so are we. ESPN touches on the fact that our six home losses is good for worst home losing streak since the Stars moved to Dallas. It amazes me, honestly, that anyone can still consider us playoff contenders when we’ve been on the worse side of inconsistent since the end of our five game winning streak at the end of January. Take a look at the last 20 games, which starts in the middle of said winning streak: W W W L W W L W L W W L L L L L W O W L. Can you imagine if you condensed that into a seven-game playoff series? Winning every other game won’t get you very far into the playoffs in that scenario, depending on if your series went W L W L W L W or L W L W L W L. Playing all seven games of every round would exhaust even the best teams. The Stars are going to have to find a way to win more than two games in a row soon if they want to even think about beating other teams in the post-season.

The Hockey News by Ryan Dixon
Stars: 22 this week;  25 last week; 13 pre-deadline. “Just seem to be sucking fumes these days.
Of Note: St Louis Blues at 19 this week; 14 last week. “Not dealing Keith Tkachuk shows St. Louis believes it can make the playoffs now.
My thoughts: I think THN sums it up well. It’s not the most insightful comment that could be made, but it’s true. The Stars seem to be running on empty lately. They’ll pull out a game or two here and there that will give everyone hope, and then it’s back to sloppy hockey (see: Anaheim, Montreal games). Sometimes they only manage a period or two of good hockey before sputtering out. Is it the result of playing with a playoff mindset for the entire last half of the season? Is the injury situation finally hitting home and wearing them out? Speculate all day if you want to, but I agree with the person who said we should change our motto to “Our Team, Next Time.” Obviously something just isn’t clicking this season, but the parts are all there and ready to work together next season. In the meantime, the Blues are hanging out at the bottom of the playoff race with 66 points. They’re 6-3-1 in their L10 and their next game? A home game against the Stars tonight. We lost to them 3-1 two weeks ago as part of our dismal homestand, and with them pushing for that 8th seed, it’s going to be a tough match-up.

TSN
Stars: 22 this week;  22 last week; 19 pre-deadline. “Grabbing Brendan Morrison off the waiver wire isn’t exactly making a big push for the postseason, but he’s a serviceable stopgap on the Stars’ decimated forward ranks. Key Injuries: C Brad Richards (wrist), RW Jere Lehtinen (upper body).
Of Note: Phoenix Coyotes at 28 this week; 28 last week. “In the grand scheme of things, the Coyotes aren’t necessarily much worse off without Olli Jokinen, Daniel Carcillo, Derek Morris and Mikael Tellqvist, but they’re on a streak of six straight games in which they haven’t scored more than two goals, so it’s hard to say they’re better. Key Injuries: None.
My thoughts: You can add “Fabulous Fabian” Brunnstrom to that list of key injuries, as I consider him to be an important cog in the duct-taped machine that is the Stars this season. I’m disappointed in the lack of impact Morrison has had so far; the only thing he’s really done has been to center Neal and Brunnstrom, which was not nearly as fiery as when Sutherby centered it. However, like TSN points out, he’s a body, and we’re short on those right now. It’s also important to note that no matter how bad we are, we still aren’t the Yotes! Our franchise is firmly planted here in Dallas, and we’re in the 9th seed and not the Coyotes’ 14th. As far as division rivals go, the Coyotes may have our number this season, but we seem to be the only team they can beat right now.

As always, what do you agree or disagree with? I’d love this series to be an open forum for you guys to share your thoughts on where the Stars are at and how they’ve been playing, so please feel free to comment.

March 6, 2009

Wilson Activated

by Kristine

The Stars announced this afternoon that Landon Wilson has been activated from injured reserve. No news yet on if he’s still day to day or if he’s ready to get back into the line-up.

The official release is here.

January 29, 2009

Game Review – 1/27/09 (DAL vs ATL)

by Chelsea

Game:

The Atlanta Thrashers came to town in for the first time in a number of years, and were greeted by a very sparse crowd. Thanks to some especially icy weather, most Stars fans were confined to their couches and TVs. 

With both teams fully rested after the All-Star break, it seemed like both would give a good show, despite what the standings implied. 

Stephane Robidas returned from his weekend stint in Montreal sans face cage, mentioning that the probably-permanent metal plate in his jaw made it stronger than it had been before. 

Besides Brenden Morrow and Sergei Zubov, the only still-injured Stars are Fabian Brunnstrom, Landon Wilson, and Steve Ott. Brunnstrom was recently assigned to the Manitoba Moose for a few days, after which he’ll be returning to the Stars’ lineup finally. Wilson’s still nursing a rib injury and there’s been no timetable set for his return. Ott, of course, has been playing, but as far as we’ve heard as not been cleared to fight with his still-healing hand. 

Mark Parrish was scratched for Chris Conner, apparently because he’s coming down with the flu. Get well soon, Parrish!

A couple of nice streaks coming into this game that are worth noting: Marty Turco entered the contest with a career record of 5-0-0 against Atlanta, and Thrasher superstar Ilya Kovalchuk had never scored a goal against Dallas in the 7 times he’d faced them. 

The first period started, the teams meeting each other’s shots, hits, and puck battle wins. However, it became clear which team wanted it more when Jere Lehtinen displayed some unexpected creativity in putting the puck behind fellow-Finn and Thrashers netminder Kari Lehtonen. 

Right off the bat, the Ott-Ribeiro-Lehtinen line had the same energy that made them such a force in the Panthers game (Ribeiro with a hat trick, Ott and Lehtinen each with an assist) and it once again paid off. Only 3:48 into the first, Ott stole the puck from a Thrasher and fed it up to Ribeiro, who threw it haphazardly towards Lehtonen. Lehtonen made the save, but the puck bounced up into the chest of Jere Lehtinen and he bumped it down into the net. 

The call on the ice was a goal, and the call stood despite further review. 

There had been some question from us about why the Thrashers have had such a rough season. It seemed to us that they had more than enough talent and an experienced if unproven coach. However, when instead of rallying after the Dallas goal, they followed it with a string of giveaways and penalties, the picture was a little clearer.

When two Thrashers took penalties within 30 seconds of each other, they all but gift-wrapped another goal for the Stars. However, the power play only managed a few shots on goal, and soon it was at even strength again. 

Marty Turco positively robbed Kovalchuk of the game-tying goal at 13:14 after he was left unattended in front of the net, making a sharp and much-appreciated save to hold Dallas’ lead.

Atlanta got their first power play when Krys Barch took a penalty at 15:07 for holding, but nearly surrendered a short-handed goal to Loui Eriksson. 

The first period ended 1-0 Dallas. 

Second period began.

In the first few seconds, the official raised his arm to signify a delayed penalty against the Thrashers. However, the Stars maintained possession as Ribeiro’s line struck yet again.

Ribeiro displayed some stickhandling wizardry to keep the puck away from the Thrashers, helped by Lehtinen, long enough to complete a pass down low to Trevor Daley. As Ott moved in front of the crease and shook off Rich Peverley, Daley slid the puck out in front. Ott buried it in the net at 00:28, negating the penalty before it was ever enforced. 


With the game set at 2-0, it became a good old-fashioned goalie showdown. Lehtonen on one end, fighting to keep the game within reach for his struggling team and Turco on the other, fighting to seal his team’s second consecutive win.

Lehtonen finished the second period by backing his team through two penalty kills, holding them within reach of the Stars two-goal lead. His team didn’t produce much offense, though, testing Turco with only 6 shots.

Second period ended, third period started.

The final period of the game would prove to be a test for both teams. For the Thrashers, the third is typically when they stepped up their game. For the Stars, a game with two strong periods to start usually ended in disappointment. 

Each team took a penalty in the third, but Atlanta finally managed to turn the momentum in their favor. Turco was peppered with more shots (13) in the third period than he’d faced in the entire first and second (12). This was mainly thanks to the heroic netminding of Kari Lehtonen, who blanked the Stars continually. Meanwhile, the rest of the Thrashers looked a little lazy with the puck.

Plenty of Stars fans will remember the game against the Avalanche in which it seemed Turco might get his first shut out of the season in a 1-0 game, only to let in a goal with less than a minute on the clock and put the game all the way to a shootout.

The Thrashers looked to create a similar situation when they pulled their goalie and put the pressure on the Stars. Turco responded by shutting it down and making a number of big in-close saves to claim his first shut out win of the season.

Notes:

  • Three stars of the game, in order: Turco, Ott, Lehtonen
  • Turco made 25 saves on 25 shots. Ott ended with a goal and an assist. Lehtonen made 31 saves on 33 shots.
  • The Stars outshot the Thrashers 33-25. 
  • Ribeiro’s two assists give him seven points in his last four games.
  • Conclusion: After a run that saw every game ended in overtime or a shootout, the Stars have now won their last two in regulation. Turco’s shutout and the team’s ability to stand up consistently in front of him were also a nice change. Can they reach that illusive 3-game win streak against Detroit?

SHR +/-: 

Nicklas Grossman: one for embracing his physical side; +1
Stephane Robidas: one for tying for the team lead in +/- with +2; +1
Trevor Daley: two for the assist and one for tying for the team lead in +/-; +3
Mike Modano: one for leading in takeaways; +1
Toby Petersen: minus-one for returning to his low-impact ways; -1
Jere Lehtinen: three for the goal and one for tying for the team lead in +/-;  +4
Steve Ott: three for the goal, two for the assist, one for leading the team in hits, and one for tying for the team lead in +/-; +7
Marty Turco: three for the shut out and one for winning it; +4
Mike Ribeiro: two for each assist and one for tying for the team lead in +/-; +5

January 21, 2009

News Roundup: Robidas Replaces Lidstrom

by Kristine

The NHL and the Stars announced this morning that Stephane Robidas will be replacing Detroit defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom, who is injured. Patrick Marleau has replaced Pavel Datsyuk, which means the Wings have nobody on the ASG roster but that the Sharks have three players. The rest of the West breaks down into three Ducks, three Hawks, two Stars, a King, a Coyote, an Avalanche, a Flame, a Blue Jacket, a Blue(s?), an Oiler, a Predator, a Wild, and a Canuck. Nice to see the Stars represented more than most of the other teams. 🙂

In other Stars-related ASG news, Mike Modano is scheduled to participate in the accuracy competition, against Jonathan Toews, Ilya Kovalchuk, Jarome Iginla, Dany Heatley, Marc Savard, Evgeni Malkin, and current champion Thomas Kaberle. That’s some stiff competition, so hopefully Mo remembers to pack his A-game.

The Stars announced yesterday that they signed prospect Colton Scevoiur to a three year entry-level contract. The right shot RW (something the Stars are crazy short on) will finish the season with his WHL team and is expected to participate in the 2009 training camp, according to the official release.

Today is backup goalie Tobias Stephan’s 25th birthday. Too bad he’ll have to spend it on the bench, watching his NHL career stall at every goal Marty Turco lets in. Don’t worry, Tobi – the fans believe in you even if Tippett doesn’t.

Finally, Andrews reports that Landon Wilson has started light workouts. No date has been set for his return, but baby steps are still steps. We miss Wilson far more than we could have predicted and hope he is able to return at full strength this season.

January 17, 2009

SHR +/- Midseason Report

by Kristine

Now that the half-way mark of the season (the Monday game vs Detroit) has passed, and the SHR +/- has been updated to it, I thought it might be interesting to take a look back at some trends and numbers.

Let’s start by looking at where everyone is at the 41 game mark.

Skater +/- Skater +/- Skater +/-
Grossman +37 Eriksson +98 Parrish +27
Robidas +76 Wilson +25 Lundqvist +16
Niskanen +42 Wandell +6 Boucher +31
Daley +52 Conner +14 Janik +8
Modano +76 Lehtinen +21 Crombeen +26
Morrow +57 Hutchinson +6 Sydor +7
Barch +52 Fistric 0 Zubov +18
Avery -42 Ott +49 Ribeiro +94
Petersen +24 Stephan +23 Richards +67
Neal +85 Janik +8 Brunnstrom +53
Sutherby +3 Turco +46

Obviously, some players have been way outshining others. Some big names – Mike Ribeiro, Stephane Robidas, Mike Modano, and Brad Richards – sit at or near the top, like you would expect. The top also holds a few surprises, with Loui Eriksson holding down the top spot and James Neal breaking into the top 5 early and staying there.

While the top ten or so spots in our plus/minus seem to be pretty accurate, the bottom is a little bit harder to judge. It’s kind of cluttered by people who were call-ups or are no longer Stars, like Tom Wandell or BJ Crombeen. It also doesn’t take into account injured players like Jere Lehtinen, Sergei Zubov, and Joel Lunqvist. If you take away those people, and only count players who are currently playing or have played more than ten games with us, the picture becomes a bit more clear. Darryl Sydor has only earned 7 points with us, Doug Janik is at + 8, and Andrew Hutchinson is +6. Toby Peteresen, at +24, has the lowest +/- to games played ratio. These numbers are fairly on par with our actual feelings about the players.

If you divide number of games with a negative +/- update by total games with updates (since not every player earns or loses points in every game), three players come out with 0%: Brenden Morrow, Fabian Brunnstrom, and Crombeen. Morrow and Brunnstrom each had 17 updates, and Crombeen had 10, and none of them earned negative marks in any of them. It should come as no surprise to anyone that Eriksson comes out on top after that, with only 1 of 26 updates in the negative (a -1 on Dec 12 for “struggling offensively and defensively), for 3.8%. The other players to wind up with less than 10% of their updates as negatives are Krys Barch (5%), Robidas (7%), Neal (8%), and Landon Wilson (10%). On the other end of the spectrum, and again no surprise, 56% of Sean Avery’s updates were negative. After him is Marty Turco, with 28% of his 32 updates being negatives. The only other players to end up with 25% or more of their updates being in the negative are Nicklas Grossman (25%) and Sydor (27%).

Loui Eriksson had a hot streak from October 22 to December 2, earning at least one point in sixteen straight games. The only person to come close to that is Ribeiro, with positive points in twelve games from October 18 to November 15. Eriksson has earned more than five points in seven of his 26 updates, and joins Neal, Mark Parrish, Richards, and Brunnstrom as the only players to earn more than 10 points in one game, with each of them earning 11 points once.

However, the record for most points earned in one game goes to Mike Ribeiro, who earned 15 points October 23 against the Islanders. It’s worth noting that while most of the players with 11 points earned them via hat tricks, Ribbons earned his 15 via one goal, a few assists, style, and being awesome with Morrow. The record for most points taken away in one game goes to Avery, who lost 50 points on December 2. Actually, he technically lost them last night, when we decided that his current -12 did not match up with our feelings about him. He had previously and initially lost 20 for the comment and the following stupidity, and yesterday we assigned him -15 for treating the Stars badly before the comment and -15 for ruining the Stars while he was here. Both are retroactive to the day of the comment, making him -50 for that day. Hey, it’s our plus/minus – we can adjust as we see fit. 😉 Aside from that debacle, the most points we’ve taken away in one game was 6, also from – shocking! – Sean Avery. If you pretend he was never a Star, which we like to do anyway, the most we’ve ever taken away in one game was four. That has happened to multiple players, multiple times. Obviously we’re much more generous for people who do good things than we are anxious to take points away from people.

It’s interesting to note that nobody has hit 100 points yet, although Eriksson is only two points away and Ribeiro is only four away. It’s also worth noting that Morrow hit 52 points in only 15 games. Had he continued at that rate, he would have hit 100 points ten games ago.

Let’s take a look at averages. Once again, we have Louibot at the top with an average of +4 points per game. Under him, averaging +3, are a ton of people. In no particular order: Neal, Parrish, Morrow, Crombeen, Modano, Brunnstrom, Philippe Boucher, Steve Ott, Tobias Stephan, Ribeiro, Lundqvist, and Wilson. The only person with a negative average is Avery with -2. Another real shocker in that one, hmm? Mark Fistric averaged evenly in his short time here, and Turco, Petersen, Matt Niskanen, Janik, Grossman, Hutch, and Brian Sutherby all averaged +1. The rest of the players averaged a middle-of-the-road but still good +2.

If you divide a player’s total number of games with SHR +/- updates by the number of games he’s played as a Star in the first half of the season, you can see who we consider a difference-maker and who is mostly invisible to us. At the top of that chart is Tobias Stephan, who has earned points in eight games despite only actually playing in seven. 😛 More accurate are the numbers for Mike Ribeiro, who has registered an update in 35 of 41 games, or 85%. Turco also makes a difference – although often a negative one – with points assigned to or taken away from him in 84% of his 32 games played. Morrow, when he was around, got positive numbers in 83% of the games he played in (and 0% negatives, as we mentioned before). Also registering highly was Zubov, who received an update in 8 of the 10 games he played in this season. At the bottom we have the people who don’t make much of a difference either way. The worst is Hutchinson, who has shown up in the plus/minus only five times in the 17 games he’s played in as a Star, which comes out to 29%. Barely above him is Parrish with an update in only 30% of the games he’s played with us. Brian Sutherby has only made waves three times in his 10 games, but we’ll cut him some slack and say he’s still getting comfortable here.

Finally, let’s narrow our view to the L10 games played. That takes us back to December 20. I think it can be agreed that the Stars showed vast improvement in the 2nd quarter, so how do things shape up in the plus/minus when you look only at the most recent games? A few players have really bought their A-game, notably Niskanen, Neal, and Otter. All three of them have registered positive updates in at least five games and a negative update only once each. On the other side of things, Robidas has received his only two negative updates in the L10 for a string of games in which he played frustrated and took unnecessary penalties. In the meantime, Hutchinson has updates in only three of the L10, despite playing in all of them, and two of Sydor’s five updates were negatives. Mike Modano has also had a rough, slightly quieter L10, earning negative updates in three games, nothing in four games, and positive updates in three games. On the whole, however, the number show that the team continues to step up and improve.

Overall, it’s pretty obvious that it’s King Loui tearing up the SHR +/- charts this season. If he continues to have a breakout season, his final report for the 08-09 season will look pretty damn good. Same goes for Ribeiro, Neal, Modano, and Lehtinen. It’s also interesting to note that while our top five all register at least 75 points, and the bottom five only register 10 or fewer points, the overall average is only 35 points. There’s actually a 71-point difference between Eriksson’s team-leading 98 points and Parrish, who is the team median with 27 points. I can appreciate that we have some people stepping it up in a big way, but I’d like to see more support from the rest of the roster in the second half of the season. We’re a few games into it as I post this and it’s looking like we might see some more shake-ups as the season continues. Good luck on the second half, Stars!

The SHR +/- page is updated after every game and includes a full roster, as well as the current top and bottom five players. Check it out by clicking here, or find it in the header links any time.

January 9, 2009

Game Review – 1/04/09 (DAL at VAN)

by Chelsea

Game:

Despite some travel issues the night before, the Stars managed to make it to Vancouver for the first of their four match-ups this season.

The Canucks were playing without goaltenders Roberto Luongo or Curtis Sanford and newly-signed Mats Sundin, while the Stars were without Joel Lundqvist, Fabian Brunnstrom, Brenden Morrow, Sergei Zubov, and recently-injured Landon Wilson. 

Dallas head coach Dave Tippett had Marty Turco in net again, saying that he intended to put the players out that he would were it a playoff game. Which, really, doesn’t explain why newcomer Brian Sutherby was on the top line. 

Because of Wilson’s injury, Chris Conner was moved up from healthy scratch to the second line with Ott and Ribeiro, while Parrish was moved to the fourth line with Barch and Petersen. 

The defensive pairings remained the same (Daley-Robidas, Sydor-Niskanen, Grossman-Hutchinson), with Janik and Vishnevskiy as healthy scratches again. 

The puck dropped at 9:00 PM CT, which is also known as “way too late, can we please go back to playing in a reasonable time zone?” 

It only took 2:11 to find out that the Canucks have this really annoying spotlight that they put on the goal-scorer when their team scores, just in case you were looking at the wrong end of the ice for some reason.

In a play that started in Vancouver’s defensive zone and got directed up ice by Conner (on accident), the Canucks crashed the net by ripping right through the Stars defense. Hutchinson did his best to get in the passing lane between Steve Bernier and Kyle Wellwood, but Bernier still managed to get the puck across. Turco, focused on who had the puck, was unable to get over in time to stop Wellwood’s redirection into the net.

We went “oh god, not this again please” as play resumed. 

Dallas displayed some excellent puck control for a few minutes, getting a string of six shots on goal that went uninterrupted for about four minutes until the direction changed back towards their defensive zone again.

It seemed like our concern was well-founded when, at 15:40, we watched the Stars climb into a 2-0 hole for the second night in a row.

Darcy Hordichuk snuck out in front of the net and was left open to redirect a pass from Jason Jaffray in behind Turco, despite the efforts from Dallas defense. Alexandre Bolduc got the second assist.

It began to look like the Stars would leave the first deflated, having played a fairly clean, penalty-less period and with only  a two-goal deficit to show for it. 

Mike Modano stepped up much in the way he hadn’t the night before, redefining “big goal” with a huge momentum-changer only ten seconds before heading to first intermission. 

The goal came after James Neal picked the puck up right inside the offensive zone and sent a sweet pass between two Canucks to Modano. Modano responded by reminding all of us of his skill by seemingly effortlessly scoring on LaBarbera. Loui Eriksson got the second assist.

The period ended at 2-1 Canucks, but with a huge momentum shift in the Stars’ favor.

Second period started.

The next ten minutes were solid hockey. Neither team took any penalties until exactly 10:00 in the second, meaning the entire first half of the game went without special teams.

Too bad it was the Stars’ Chris Conner to take the game’s first penalty, getting two minutes for hooking.

Dallas did its stuff to kill the penalty, and soon it was their turn to get the man-advantage.

First Wellwood was sent to the box for his team when they took a minor for too many men on the ice at 11:49. Then, at 13:14, Ryan Kesler got two minutes of his own for roughing. 

Though the Stars managed to squander their time spent on 5-on-3, they converted the rest of their power play opportunity only two seconds after Wellwood returned to the ice.

At 13:51, Lehtinen patiently held onto the puck until a passing lane opened, at which he set Ribeiro up beautifully for a one-timer. Ribeiro then released a lethal shot straight in past LaBarbera, tying the game 2-2. 

Second period (and the rest of regulation) finished with nothing but puck battles and penalties. Both teams had a power play in the third (Kevin Bieska at 6:55 for delay of game and Conner again at 10:09 for hooking), but neither managed to break the tie that would eventually put them into OT.

Then, in overtime, Stephane Robidas and Trevor Daley probably kept the Stars from losing the extra point, both blocking shots and intercepting passes to keep the Canucks from getting any real chances on Turco.

So, that left a shootout to decide the game.

First up were Pavol Demitra for the Canucks and Brad Richards for the Stars. Neither scored. 

Second came Kyle Wellwood and Loui Eriksson (the league’s #1 and #2 in shooting accuracy), and both scored. It was actually Eriksson’s first career shootout goal, coming on his fourth attempt, and showcased some creativity we hadn’t seen too much of. 

Alexander Edler and Mike Ribeiro were up next. Neither scored. Ribeiro pretty much ran himself out of space in trying to be too creative. Whoops.

Tied at 1-3/1-3, the shootout went into it’s fourth round.

Ryan Kesler went for the Canucks and scored, putting quite the challenge on Mike Modano to score for Dallas. Even though everyone knew what he was going to do (high glove side), including LaBarbera, he still managed to hold the team in the game by going a little under the glove instead of over. 

When Alex Burrows, up next for Vancouver, was stopped by Turco, Tippett sent out James Neal to wrap up the game with his first career shootout attempt.

Neal responded to the pressure with a confident, no-frills shot to the blocker side that beat LaBarbera and won the game for the Stars.

Notes:

  • The three stars of the game, in order: LaBarbera, Modano, Neal
  • Turco, coming off a loss in Edmonton that saw him sporting a .789 sv% for the game, stopped 33 of 35 shots for a sv% of .943.
  • Chris Conner did not have a particularly good game; he was -2 for the night and took the Stars’ only two penalties.
  • Dallas outshot Vancouver 36-35.
  • The Stars were 1-for-3 on the PP, while the Canucks went 0-for-2.
  • Conclusion: It was good to see the team rally from behind, led by their big players, without using Marty Turco’s play as a measuring stick for how much effort they should bring. Possibly the first time that the team improved and Turco improved consequentially, rather than the other way around?

SHR +/-:

Nicklas Grossman: minus-one for leading the team in giveaways; -1
Stephane Robidas: two for tying the lead in blocked shots with three; +2
Trevor Daley: two for tying the lead in blocked shots with three; +2 
Mike Modano: three for the goal, two for the assist, one for the shootout goal, and one for leading the team to their comeback; +7
James Neal: two for the assist, one for the shootout goal, and one for confidence; +4
Brian Sutherby: one for leading the team in hits; +1
Loui Eriksson: two for the assist and one for the shootout goal; +3
Chris Conner: minus-one for not playing all that well; -1
Jere Lehtinen: two for the assist and one for special teams awesomeness; +3
Marty Turco: two for the good game; +2
Mike Ribeiro: three for the goal but minus-one for tanking at faceoffs; +2

January 5, 2009

Game Review – 1/03/09 (DAL at EDM)

by Chelsea

Game:

So, this being an important two points against a struggling team, Kristine and I went and filled up on junk food so we’d be properly excited for what promised to be a good ol’ fashioned buttwhooping.

I mean, they’ve got some of the worst PK problems in the league. What better way to get a boost on our struggling power play, right?

Sutherby accompanied Richards and Eriksson on the starting line, with Daley and Robidas paired up again as the starting defense. 

The rest of the lines were the same (29-63-37, 18-9-26, 13-17-22), as were the defensive pairings (5-55, 2-27) with Janik and Vishnevskiy both scratched again.

While it made perfect sense for Tobias Stephan to be in net (it was the first game of a back-to-back pair, Turco absolutely fails at playing back-to-back, Turco plays well against the Canucks, and Turco had let in 7 goals to the Oilers the two times he’d faced them already this season), Tippett is determined to ride Turco through his 35-game slump. At what point does it stop being a rideoutable slump, again? 

Seriously. It’s been 35 games almost, and he still has the barely-worse stats than his backup goalie, who is 1-2-0 and has been thrown in three games that were already lost. If you’d like to play the “well, Stephan’s only been in six games!” card, that’s fine, just give me time to find my “Turco’s had over thirty to fix his stats and hasn’t” card. 

Point made? Stephan should have started.

While it was pretty clear that the Stars were not playing to the same caliber that they had during the game against New Jersey, it was also clear that the heart was there. 

The puck dropped, and three minutes later, so did the gloves. 

It was Krys Barch, of course, about to take on two guys (Stortini and Strudwick apparently didn’t want to share, both lining up for a go at him.) Strudwick got his gloves off first, so the two of them had a go. Barch apparently scrapped his “fists up, chin in, hit with the hand holding the jersey” style for something more like “grab with the left, Barch smash! with the right” and it worked out alright. The guys traded solid punches for about a minute before the officials broke it up.

Play had barely continued when Shawn Horcoff got two minutes for hooking at 5:24. It was the first of many power plays spent circling around neutral ice. 

At 8:07, Dustin Penner* challanged Landon Wilson to a fight by smacking him in the face with his glove still on. Wilson attempted to oblige, but before he could, Penner grabbed him by the collar of his jersey and forced him very awkwardly to the ice.

*Penner joins the Club of the Hated now, so he can take a seat between Tootoo and Alfredsson if he can get Sidney Crosby to scoot over.

Wilson looked visible shaken by the “fight” and did not play in the rest of the game, having possibly suffered a head injury in the fall.

 Maybe it was concern for their teammate distracting the Stars or the sudden energy shift in favor of the Oilers, but they managed to crack Turco on only their second shot of the game at 8:41.

All they basically had to do was speed through center ice and fire a fast snap shot. Fast being the only excuse Turco had for not catching it, because he wasn’t exactly screened. The goal was scored by Erik Cole and assisted by Sam Gagner and Lubomir Visnovsky. 

If that wasn’t disheartening enough, the Oilers got one more shot off, and then scored on their next. Yeah, that’s every other shot going in.

This time it was Sheldon Souray, who split the defensemen going into the slot and elevated the puck over Turco when he dropped to block the bottom of the net. It really just seemed like bad judgement all over the ice that created that one.

The goal was at 9:37 and assists went to Horcoff and Liam Reddox. 

Dallas tried to rally back, getting some timely power plays at 10:07, 12:22, and 18:55 when Ladislav Smid went off for roughing, goaltender Dwayne Roloson (served by Smid) got a minor for slashing, and Gilbert Brule got called for interference.

They spent the first two dancing around in the neutral zone and the third was negated by Jere Lehtinen getting two minutes for goalkeeper interference at 19:21.

The period ended 2-0 Oilers, despite the sloppy play that led to a good handful of Edmonton penalties.

The second period started, and it looked for a few minutes like the Stars might rally for a big comeback. 

Unfortunately, at 3:19, Grossman took a penalty for holding that put the Oilers on a power play. Then, a few minutes after his penalty expired, Robidas took his own two minutes for holding (6:50), effectively killing any momentum the team was trying to produce.

At 7:23, Penner picked up the rebound of Souray’s shot from the point and put it in the net behind a sprawling Turco. Horcoff got the second assist.

Now down 3-0, with their goaltender struggling, the Stars pretty much crumbled. Gone were the effective players we’d seen on NYE, replaced with a messy bunch that could barely hold onto the puck when they managed to gain possession. 

James Neal seemed determined to shoulder the team, being the only Star to get any shots on goal in the five minutes following the third Edmonton goal. 

When Penner got a minor for holding the stick, and the Stars only managed to get two shots off in the entire power play, the supposed comeback pulled further out of reach. Finally, as the period wound down, the team picked up the pace.

Neal was rewarded for his determination (as he usually is, because few things can successfully come between James Neal and whatever it is he’s determined to do) with barely two minutes left in the second period.

When Jere Lehtinen fired a shot from the point that found its way through traffic and off Roloson, the loose rebound was quickly retrieved by Neal, who then lobbed it into the net. Andrew Hutchinson was originally credited with the only assist, but it’s since been changed to Lehtinen. 

Just when it looked like all the fun in the second was over, Barch belatedly took Stortini’s offer to have a go with only 16 seconds left in the period.

They threw the gloves off right off the faceoff, with Barch getting a big hit in early that knocked Stortini’s helmet off. The fight continued for a good minute until the officials stepped in, neither player getting an actual win.

Both got five minutes for fighting, plus ten minute misconducts. Still don’t know why they got the extra 10, so if anyone knows, please feel free to explain.

The second ended 3-1 Oilers, with the Stars looking to hold off Edmonton while scoring 2 more goals in the last period of play.

Third period started.

Smid and Sutherby got simultaneous roughings at 2:05.

About five minutes in, Ethan Moreau escaped past Robidas for a breakaway that was pokechecked by a diving Turco. The rebound probably would have gotten pushed into the open net as Turco scrambled to recover, but Trevor Daley was there to clear to safety.  

When the third reached the halfway mark without any proper scoring chances generated by Dallas, and given the tone of the first two periods, it was pretty clear that the game would not be won without a little luck.

Luck was, unfortunately, not on our side.

When Daley took a penalty for holding at 12:38, the Oilers turned up their offense, pressuring Turco with traffic but only getting one clear shot on net. Only six seconds after the penalty expired, Sam Gagner and Robert Nilsson set up Andrew Cogliano, who was left completely unattended in front of the net. At 14:44, the game slipped to 4-1, which proved to be too much for the faltering Stars. 

The final five minutes passed uneventfully, and it ended in a pretty painful loss of a valuable two points for the Stars.

Notes:

  • The three game stars, in order: Cole, Roloson, Souray
  • Neal’s goal was his 13th of the season, tying him for first among rookies with Boston’s Blake Wheeler.
  • Turco let in 4 goals on 19 shots for a sv% of .789, his worst since the 6-2 loss to San Jose on November 28th.
  • The loss was Richards’ 600th game, which turned out to be a bit of a disappointment; he played 21:15, had no points, and finished -1. 
  • Dallas outshot its opponent for the fifth game in a row, this time by a margin of 39-19.
  • Conclusion: Someone apparently forgot to tell the Stars that they were playing in the first of their two back-to-back games, not the second. They looked lethargic and apathetic for the most part, despite the efforts to build momentum from players like Neal and Barch. 

SHR +/-:

Nicklas Grossman: one for tying for the lead in hits but minus-two for the dumb penalty; -1
Stephane Robidas: minus-two for the dumb penalty; -2
Trevor Daley: minus-two for the dumb penalty; -2
Mike Modano: minus-one for not stepping up when the team needed a leader; -1
Krys Barch: one for each fight and one for not losing either; +3
James Neal: three for the goal, one for determination, and one for playing like the rest of the team should have been; +5
Brian Sutherby: one for tying for the lead in hits; +1
Loui Eriksson: one for leading the team in SOG; +1
Landon Wilson: one for the fight and three alarm-points for making us realize how badly we want him to be uninjured; +4
Jere Lehtinen: two for the assist; +2
Mike Ribeiro: minus-one for not stepping up when the team needed a leader; -1
Brad Richards: minus-one for not stepping up and minus-one for leading in giveaways; -2
Fabian Brunnstrom: one for being surprisingly sorely missed on that Ott-Ribeiro line; +1

January 1, 2009

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