Posts tagged ‘Miikka Kiprusoff’

October 10, 2009

Game Review – 10/09/09 (DAL @ CGY)

by Chelsea

Game:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stars left the second period up 2-1.

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

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

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

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

Notes:

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

SHR +/-:

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

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February 8, 2009

Game Review – 2/03/09 (DAL vs CGY)

by Chelsea

Mr. Clever Clown Holds A Meeting: 

 It was a typical morning in Calgary, and Mr. Clever Clown and his teammates were preparing for their hockey game that night. Some sort of inspiration struck Mr. Clever Clown and he called over cameras and reporters and media and press until their attention was all his. 

His teammates and coach didn’t know what to expected as they gathered around, only that Mr. Clever Clown had previously displayed a penchant for troublesome behavior. As all tuned in for his impromptu press conference, he shocked his audience with a most vulgar phrase. 

While viewers quickly deciphered “sloppy seconds”, Commissioner Gary Bettman scrambled to shield his daughter from the statement as he mashed his “Insta-Suspension” panic button. The footage was promptly distributed across the internet, where his choice of words gained immediate infamy. Instead of playing in that evening’s game, Mr. Clever Clown was issued hockey’s version of a restraining order. Without his detrimental presence, his suddenly  ex-team thrived and persevered to a 3-1 win, signaling the start of their climb out of the league basement.

The Sans-Sean Era:

Though it was only a matter of days until word began to leak out about Sean Avery’s unwillingness to cooperate and be sociable with the team, his absence had a much more immediate effect. The Stars won their game in Calgary looking visibly relieved, the most notable play being that of goaltender Marty Turco. He made a season-high 36 saves to keep the Flames at only one goal, demonstrating a focus that we hadn’t seen since the spring playoff run.

The win marked the beginning of what we like to call the Sans-Sean Era. It bookmarked the beginning of their much-improved December month in which Dallas climbed out of the basement and back into playoff contention. More importantly, though, the Stars seemed to enjoy playing again. 

Though they started that game against the Flames on December 2nd in the lead, they reached a point early in the third in which the October or November Stars would have conceded momentum when the other team scored to tie the game. Instead, they dug in their heels and came out with the resolve needed to net another two goals and win the game 3-1. 

Now we see the end of the Sans-Sean Era as it closes with a mirror-image game against the Flames. The score again ended 3-1 in the Stars’ favor, and they again showed the resolve necessary to overcome what could have been a deflating goal and lock it down before they could score another. The win came at the end of a five-game win streak this time, almost exactly two months after the first one.

This time, instead of reading about Sean Avery’s suspension in the following days, Stars fans were reading about Avery’s release from his therapy program when it was announced that he’d be cleared to play and put on waivers. Instead of wondering whether his removal from the team would lead to improvement, they can look back on the results and know that it did. 

During the two months after the Avery incident, the Stars continued to improve, rising all the way out of the worst spot in the league into the top half. The constant line-shuffling has since stopped, and the current match-ups have built an impressive chemistry. Also impressive is the improved play of Turco, whose only goal against during the January 3rd Calgary game was during the Flames’ first power play. 

While it’s debatable whether or not it was actually Avery being a cancer removed or just the team bonding in the face of adversity, the fact is that he isn’t even being allowed to return and skate or work out with the team. That alone speaks volumes.

Notes:

  • The three game stars, in order: Turco, Kiprusoff, Richards
  • The Stars outshot the Flames 32-25. 
  • Jere Lehtinen, James Neal, and Brad Richards each scored. Richards and Neal each also had an assist. Loui Eriksson, Steve Ott, Matt Niskanen, and Mike Ribeiro all also had an assist.
  • Ribeiro, Ott, and Lehtinen all continued five-game point streaks.
  • The power play scored twice, going 2-for-5. The PK was 2-for-3.
  • Conclusion: No matter the reason or cause, the Stars are playing like Stars again. Jere Lehtinen is back to being healthy Lehtinen again. Steve Ott continued doing his best Brenden Morrow impression, filling in for him on the line that was so lethal in the spring. Turco has stopped impersonating Vesa Toskala and started acting like Turco again. Now the key is all in the consistency. 

SHR +/-:

Stephane Robidas: one for delivering a second-best five hits; +1
Matt Niskanen: two for the assist; +2
Mike Modano: one for winning 75% of his faceoffs; +1
James Neal: three for the goal, two for the assist, and one for leading in SOG; +6
Loui Eriksson: two for the assist and one for leading in blocked shots; +3 
Jere Lehtinen: three for the goal; +3
Steve Ott: two for the assist and one for leading in hits; +3
Marty Turco: three for the good game; +3
Mike Ribeiro: two for the assist; +2
Brad Richards: three for the goal, two for the assist, but minus-one for leading in GV; +4

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