Stargazing: Dallas Defeats San Jose, 3-2 in Shootout

Stargazing is a daily assortment of Dallas Stars  and Texas Stars news, and whatever other random ramblings are bouncing around inside our heads.

Ryan Vesce and Stephane Robidas: Shootout Specialists?

Fluky goals and phantom high sticking calls couldn't top the abnormality of who the coaches sent out there in the shootout last night. Dallas, once kings of the skills competition had lost their first four shootouts of the year, scoring just one time in thirteen attempts. So Marc Crawford decided to mix things up a bit and send little Stephane Robidas out there? Maybe it was because they've been so inept at the shootout this year, and maybe it was because I was still trying to figure out just who the heck Ryan Vesce was, but I saw Robidas and like many Stars fans thought: "Eh, at this point, why not?"

He made Marc Crawford look like a very smart man. Why not, indeed.

I'm burying the lead, of course. Marty Turco was the real hero last night. As much of a confidence builder as this one could be (pending the possibility of a let-down in Phoenix) for the team as a whole, Marty must feel like he can do anything after that performance. It wasn't just his goaltending either. As Razor pointed out on the broadcast, he made almost as many plays with his stick handling as he did with his pads. That was the Marty Turco we know and love, and missed last year.

This was the 5th time already this season that the Stars have trailed after two periods of play and pulled at least a point out of the game. Last season, they managed it only five times all year. Trailing after two is not an ideal situation, but it's nice to know the Stars are seemingly never out of it. Even against the top team in the league.

After the jump, quotes and reaction to last night's big win...

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NHL.com brings you all the Robidas you need:

Defenseman Stephane Robidas, who had never taken a shootout attempt, scored in the third round to give Dallas its first shootout win in five tries this season as the Stars rallied for a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night.

Robidas admitted he was surprised to get the call.

"When you look at all the forwards we have, and all the skills, it was pretty surprising," Robidas said. "I scored in a preseason game last year and once in junior hockey but I wasn't comfortable making a move so I just shot it."

...

"I tried to keep it simple and not think too much," said Robidas, 32, who has 3 goals this season and 33 in his career.

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The Mercury News reports on Todd McLellan's state of mind after the loss:

Interestingly, McLellan was philosophical about the way things played out, too.

"You have to build that into a season and into a game," McLellan said, referring to both lost leads and bad bounces. "It’s going to happen at times. We’d prefer that it didn’t, but I’m not overly disappointed with the game."

He talked about his choices for the shootout when someone asked about Ryan Vesce. Without getting into why he chose Vesce, he did say that the coaching staff wrestled with the fact he didn’t get much ice time, especially in the third period, and might be cold, but stuck with Vesce anyway.

On Neal's goal:

The flukey nature of Dallas's first goal seemed to make the shootout defeat a little less painful.

"The guy just took a shot, and I was standing off to the side. It went right off the toe," Demers said. "You couldn't get an unluckier bounce than that."

Pucks get deflected all the time. It's funny that we, as hockey fans, belly ache about the ones that take the more dramatic paths to the net. (And we all do it.) Sure it was a funny bounce, but how many pucks get deflected off a leg and two sticks and find the net only to be called "hard working goals" after?

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Coach Crawford liked the way his team responded:

``It builds a lot of belief in the guys about not playing it safe and really getting involved,'' Stars coach Marc Crawford said ``We're trying to push our D to be a bit more dynamic, and tonight, out of necessity, they did it. When you're down 2-0, you've got to take chances and you've got to really force (the opposition) into making plays before they want to. That was our objective, and I think it worked for us tonight, and I'd like to see us do it more regularly.''

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Mike Heika recaps the drama:

...Then, in the third period, Trevor Daley kicked out what looked like a sure goal, and the Stars forced a too man men on the ice penalty, and the Stars were suddenly all over Evgeni Nabokov,. Then, just as after a power play expired, James Neal somehow banked a shot in off of Sharks defenseman Jason Demers. It wasn't so much a deflection as a rainbow gift from the hockey gods.


And, then, the Stars started to smell blood. They raced up and down the ice, giving up golden scoring opportunities, but also creating golden scoring opportunities. Marc Crawford juggled all over the place, he started getting Mike Modano out on the ice more and he moved Mike Ribeiro to a wing.

And just as Loui Eriksson and Neal forced a turnover and moved the puck off the wall in transition, Modano jumped up while trailing the play and pounded a shot between Nabokov's pads.

Boom, it was 2-2 (and Modano had his first two points of the season).

Mike Modano was good last night. He hadn't scored since the last time they played the Sharks. Please Mike, don't wait that long again.

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I liked what Brandon Bibb touched upon here last night at Defending Big D:

About that ugly 1 for 34 against San Jose's penalty kill dating back to last season. Yeah, might want to get that one sorted out at some point during the season series, Stars.

Not like they weren't getting chances. But like Razor mentioned, when they did get chances on the man advantage, those chances fizzled into nothing without Nabokov having to do much to thwart them.

At the very least, I want the Sharks' best penalty killer to actually be the best penalty killer if the Stars are to not score on the man advantage. That rarely happened last year. Or tonight for that matter.

In particular, that PP following that horrible call on Pavelski was just awful. That needs to change. Check the play by play. They lost the face-off, had a giveaway, and a Robidas blocked a shorthanded shot by Heatley. Those are the only three things recorded during a two minute power play? No shots? No missed shots? Blocked shots? Nothing? In the third period?

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And finally, something that probably requires more mention than a blurb at the end here, Fabian Brunnstrom's name was allegedly being tossed around a little bit at the GM meetings... [Morning News]

GMs around the NHL are interested in Stars winger Fabian Brunnstrom. TSN's Darren Dreger says so right here.

Dreger is very plugged in and was up in Toronto at the GM meetings, so I would say he probably has something here. It also seems to make sense that the Stars would listen to what those GMs have to say.

The reason is the Stars have some very talented skilled and scoring wingers, and Brunnstrom right now is at the bottom of the depth list of those players. He was put in a battle for the right wing spot on the Morrow-Ribeiro line in training camp, and lost the job to Jamie Benn. Benn, 20, has done nothing in the young season to show he is slipping or that he needs time in the minors, so it seems pretty clear that he is going to be in the mix in the top six forwards for some time to come. Morrow, James Neal and Loui Eriksson have the other jobs locked up.

 

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