Stargazing: Dallas Surprises Chicago. Goaltender Controversy On The Way?

Stargazing is a daily assortment of Dallas Stars  and Texas Stars news, and whatever other random ramblings are bouncing around inside our heads. Note: These posts are not intended to be in-depth analysis articles, but rather a gathering of news from around the internet on the Dallas Stars.

I have to admit that I never saw that coming. After a lackluster effort at home against the Boston Bruins you could sense a near disaster was coming, as the Stars would go on the road to face a Chicago Blackhawks team that was on a roll. Not only was Chicago undefeated at home this season, but this was a team that had dominated the Stars last season and was playing a much more complete style of hockey that the Bruins used to beat the Stars the night before. I was pessimistic about the Stars chances, and was hopeful that Alex Auld would at least give Dallas an opportunity for an upset.

I'm ecstatic to see these Stars show some bounceback early in the season. They rebounded from a sub-par effort against Boston to somehow pull off a big win against one of the top teams in the Western Conference on the road. You would have liked to have seen a more spirited approach to start the game, but Auld kept the Stars in the game and they slowly built some momentum and surprised the Blackhawks with two quick goals in the second period. Auld gave them a chance, they survived and came away with a big, confidence building win.

While we all like to think the 6-0 drubbing of Nashville was the starting point for a big roll by these Dallas Stars, you have to think that an improbable road win against a team like the Blackhawks is the real momentum builder. We shall see tomorrow night against the Kings.

Today on Stargazing we'll hear some thoughts on what might be a premature goaltender controversy, some quotes from Stephane Robidas on his crazy game-winning goal, some surprise fantasy hockey advice and the Texas Stars are getting on a roll.

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The Stars know that Alex Auld gave them a chance in the first period last night, especially with the aggression that Chicago plays with early.

"We knew the first period was going to be a difficult one for two reasons:  Chicago comes out strong and their crowd is such a big part of energizing everybody in the building," Dallas head coach Marc Crawford said.

"It wasn't good early on, and Alex kind of just covered for us," said captain Brenden Morrow, who scored the first goal of the game. "But I do think once we got our legs and once we got some confidence, we were a different team. I think we felt that way out there."

"They totally outplayed us in the first and our goalie kept us in the game," said Robidas.

"It's a good challenge," said Auld "It's kind of fun because you know you have to battle, be up for it and find the puck. It's tough, but it worked out."

More after the jump.

More thoughts from Crawford:

"Alex has played well, and I'm really confident in using him along the way,'' Crawford said. ``What we had thought all year long is he'll probably play a game a week, and from that standpoint, it's been great. Marty played outstanding a couple of nights ago and he got his shutout (against Nashville), and I don't think anybody could even question Marty's play in the game against Boston. The Boston game was one where it was a total team defeat.''

Crawford added: "We're pleased that both of our goalies are playing well, and we're not afraid to use Alex, and he'll get the right amount...And if he keeps playing well, then sure, you address it.''

"We got good contributions from our defense tonight, both defensively and offensively,'' Crawford said. "When you get them moving the puck the way they did tonight, as confidently as they did tonight...I thought our defense did a really good job of managing the puck and moving the puck, and they were a big part of the support that I'm sure Alex felt tonight.'

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Game Highlights:

 

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Stephane Robidas was a surprised as anyone on his eventual game-winning goal.

Dallas finally got the insurance goal it was looking for with 9:33 remaining in regulation when Stephane Robidas scored a goal that could only be described as bizarre. Robidas wired the puck from center ice high around the boards in the Chicago zone. The puck hit a corner of the glass and bounced slowly along the goal line and in off Huet’s glove for Dallas’ fourth goal.

"I just had the puck in the neutral zone and there was no sense for me to try to do something stupid so I just tried to rim it," Robidas said. "I didn’t do anything special."

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Toby Petersen had a big game last night as a key part of the Stars penalty killing unit, as well as notching his first goal of the season. Perhaps the most underrated player on the Stars, Petersen is definitely one of the most versatile.

"He shows a real determination and willingness to do whatever it takes to play," Stars coach Marc Crawford said. "We've put him at center, left wing, right wing, and he's gone out and been very workmanlike each day. I like that. "

On Saturday, Petersen showed the skill that helped him tally 49 goals among 132 points while playing 149 games in three seasons with the Iowa Stars. He walked into the offensive zone and blasted a slap shot from the right wing to score his second goal of the season.

"If there is one thing I think I can do better than a lot of guys in the league, it is get the puck back by putting the opposition in some bad situations where they are throwing the puck back to our defensemen. I want to hound the puck and be relentless," Petersen said.

That sounds like another Stars player who is seen as a perfect mold for Petersen to follow – Stu Barnes.

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Mark Stepneski gives his thoughts on the big win:

It was a good bounce back effort by the Stars following Friday’s dismal showing against the Bruins. They didn’t get off to a good start Saturday. Chicago dictated a lot of the play, but Alex Auld was very good in the first period and kept them in the game. Things turned around early in the second, they got a couple goals and the Blackhawks could never recover, in part, because Cristobal Huet couldn’t stop a puck when he needed to. The big difference in this game was goaltending. The Stars got it and the Blackhawks didn’t.

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Speaking of goaltending, it's become a suddenly issue after last night's game for both teams, although it's much hotter in Chicago at this point. After allowing a befuddling goal by Stephane Robidas in the third period, many are questioning the validity of playing Cristobal Huet any more than absolutely necessary.

Per Red Light District:

Soft goals demoralize teams.  They kill momentum, and completely change the face of a game.  Instead of a tie game, or a one goal game, the team has to come back from two down just to tie.

It's too much to overcome night after night.  The Hawks have as much firepower as anyone in hockey, but a team of NHL All Stars couldn't consistently overcome some of the crap goals Huet has let in.

Chicago Tribune:

Huet allowed two soft goals, including the winner in the third period on Stephane Robidas's dump-in that took a funny carom off the boards and bounced past the netminder, and the Stars defeated the Hawks 4-3 at the United Center.

The loss snapped the Hawks' four-game winning streak as they fell for the first time on home ice this season.

"It's really frustrating," Huet said. "I feel bad about myself. I feel like I let the team down.

"I know I can play way better than that. It's just a bump in the road (but) I really looked bad. I didn't have it."

Even Razor Reaugh weighs in:

I'm on the flight back home trying to figure out how a $5M goalie can let a puck shot from center, that was aimed 40 feet wide of the net, and hit a glass support, bounced twice, was then headed in front of the goal to the other corner, get past him. Seriously dude?! Huet acted like he thought the puck might bite him or something. What a stunningly pathetic moment in Hawks goaltending history. Glenn Hall and Tony O must have thrown up in their mouths a little. Come to think of it Hall threw up before every game he played so...bad analogy by me, but you get my drift. Hey, maybe Huet should think about sticking his finger down his throat prior to puck drop - that's if he can wrestle Hawks fans hands off of his larnyx. 22,000 of them were saying "Cristobal friggin Huet!" on their way out of the UC last night. (For the record the Stars were chanting "Hip-Hip-Huet!")

The tattered target is proving LA, MTL and WSH right for shipping his passive, puck-allergy arse out of town and the Windy City seems destined to be the next former home of his. (I hope they sell Toberlone bars in Rockford).

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On the Dallas side, Mike Heika gives his thoughts on the Stars goaltending after Alex Auld had yet another great game in net.

After Alex Auld was clearly the best player in the game with 29 saves in a 4-3 win over Chicago (even the Chicago media voted him first star), Crawford said that the plan remains the same with Auld and Marty Turco. The plan is to play Auld about three of every 10 games, and to put Turco back in net Monday against Los Angeles.

I don't to get too caught up in this, because I know it's an emotional debate and it is early in the season. I still think the best plan is to get Turco playing his best, and this system seems to be helping in that regard.

That said, Alex Auld in his three full games in a Stars uniform, in my opinion, has been the No., 1 star every night. In that 3-2 preseason win over Colorado (which has turned out to be a pretty good team), Auld saw nine shots on goal before the Stars took even one. He stopped all of them, and he gave the Stars the confidence to go onto a win.

More to come on this later on Defending Big D.

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Kuklas's Korner gives some fantasy hockey advice, mentioning some Dallas Stars players:

James Neal (LW) - Dallas is just pulling out young talent left and right.  Playing on the first line for Dallas, Neal has 3 goals, 4 assists, 2 on the power play with a +5 in just 6 games.  If he’s still on your wire, he shouldn’t be.

Jamie Benn (LW) - Another rookie who’s blasting out of the gate on a successful 2nd Dallas Stars line alongside Brendan Morrow, he’s got 5 points in 6 games.  Keep an eye on this one.

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After an opening night loss, the Texas Stars are off to big start in their inaugural season after trouncing Houston 5-1.

Colton Sceviour and Perttu Lindgren both had a goal and an assist and Brent Krahn stopped 21 of 22 shots as the Texas Stars ran their points streak to five games (4-0-1) with a 5-1 victory in Houston Saturday night.

The Stars (4-1-1) on the season, scored four times in the second period following a scoreless first to take control of the game. Tyler Shelast got things started, tipping home a Brad Lukowich shot the 5:45 mark. Just under five minutes later Lindgren scored off a rebound to make it 2-0. Garret Stafford scored three minutes later and then Sceviour scored his first goal as a pro less than two minutes later.

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