Stephane Robidas and the Stars took advantage of nearly every opportunity the Devils afforded them Saturday night. They cashed in on the power play, got some timely saves, and got scoring from both marquee names like Ribeiro, and the more obscure like Tom Wandell in their 5-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils.
Brandon said it last night, but it's worth repeating: The best part of this one was scoring five goals at home, goals have been very, very hard to come by so far this season. The victory was only their fourth at home this year in 10 tries.
There was much reason to dwell on the past last night at the AAC. With the Devils in town, I know I always think back to their Stanley Cup clinching victory in Dallas in 2000. The man who clinched that cup, Jason Arnott, was later traded to Dallas for the Stars current general manager, Joe Nieuwendyk. Nieuwy was up in the General Managers box last night, watching the man who was traded with him, Jamie Langenbrunner still going strong for New Jersey. A few feet away in the press box sat Eddie Belfour, chatting up Mike Heika. Belfour of course was also there that night in 2000, and played with all of the aforementioned. Belfour received a nice welcome from the Dallas crowd last night.
There's a little bit of reminiscing for you. It's one way of avoiding posting the exact same discussion after a nice win like this that followed a real clunker. We're all thinking the same thing. The players and coaches too. This was a real nice win; One that shows what they are capable of doing. But what will happen Monday? The Hurricanes carry a 3-0-2 streak with them into Dallas, but have not won a game on the road? Not a single one? That can't be right. We'll talk more about that on Monday.
For now, let's celebrate Robi's big night and get some quotes from both teams following a very entertaining game:
Follow the jump for more...
Robidas had two goals and two assists, rookie Tom Wandell scored the tiebreaking goal midway through the third period and the Stars beat the New Jersey Devils 5-3 on Saturday night.
"Sometimes everything you touch seems to go in," Robidas said after his second career two-goal game. "It's pretty simple."
Robidas had his first career four-point game, adding eight hits and two blocked shots.
"He's a warrior," said Brad Richards, who had four assists. "He does things game in and game out that only teammates see. We know how valuable he is. His heart is always in the right place."
...To be fair, two of his assists were on shots from the point and one of his goals was on a big shot when he was safely moving in from the point, so it's not like he threw caution to the wind.
But, he was more active all game, and that did help set a tone where the Stars were able to control the pace at times and draw penalties from the usually stingy Devils. He was joined in that thinking by Matt Niskanen, and it is clear that when the Stars do take some chances, they provide problems even for a good defensive team like the Devils.
Getting offense from the blue line. This must be what most other teams feel like. It's nights like this when one is reminded of Sergei Zubov's absence. He's no Zubov, but it's great to see him rewarded for the constant punishment he takes night in and night out.
Where does one start with a game like this? The Devils scored first, and not only went on to not build on that Brian Rolston beauty of a goal, but they went on to concede three goals. Yann Danis had no real chance on either of them, the first coming off a deflection (Warren Peters by way of Stephane Robidas) and the latter two coming from the power play. If anything, the power play goals were more of a result of the PK units looking lost and, really, the root cause of those power plays were two really stupid penalties by David Clarkson and Tyler Eckford. Still, the Devils struck first, struck quickly, and Dallas made sure that meant little by the first intermission. Needless to say, the Stars were the better team in the first twenty minutes.
The Star Ledger recaps backup netminder Yann Danis' night. He had a 1.00 GAA and .964 save percentage before the Stars hung three on him in twenty minutes:
Getting pulled after one period won't hurt Devils backup goalie Yann Danis' confidence.
It was, Danis understands, a move to try to shake the Devils up and his confidence wasn't shattered.
"Not at all," Danis said Saturday night. "I still feel good. I'm still confident. Monday morning it's going to be back to business. Life goes on."
It was something of a surprise start for Danis, who allowed three goals in the first period on nine shots. Two of them came on power plays.
"He has to do something to change the momentum," Danis said of coach Jacques Lemaire. "It worked."
"We tried to change things," Lemaire explained. "Danis, I think, had no chance on rebounds. They went right on their sticks. He made the first save, which is what we wanted. We were not sharp enough around him."
The Stars didn't seem to care who was in net. There's no denying the greatness of Brodeur, but the Stars nearly had three on him as well, as Matt Niskanen rang one off the post in the second period.
"You never want to lose," Brodeur said, "but we have to be realistic. We’ve done really well without some key players. It’s been a tough go. We played the last three games on the road. Even though we’ve had some success (this season), they’re not easy games to play.
"Now we’re going to go back home to another tough stretch. It’ll be another tough challenge for us. We have to regroup and keep our heads up.
It seems lately that no matter who scores for Dallas and in what situation, Brad Richards had a hand in it:
Brad Richards is showing every game how much he means to the Dallas Stars. Never mind that he has a team-leading 26 points in 20 games after a four-assist night in Saturday's 5-3 win over New Jersey. The real testament to his value is that everybody playing on his line seems to find a way to score. With James Neal suspended two games for a boarding incident against Columbus, coach Marc Crawford decided to move Tom Wandell to the left wing on Richards' line. Wandell, who entered with two goals in 21 games, scored the game-winning goal in the third period off a no-look, between the legs pass that Richards somehow squeezed through a crowded slot. Also, Richards did a lot of the heavy lifting on a shift in which Loui Eriksson found Stephane Robidas for the insurance fifth goal
Brad Richards is showing every game how much he means to the Dallas Stars.
Never mind that he has a team-leading 26 points in 20 games after a four-assist night in Saturday's 5-3 win over New Jersey. The real testament to his value is that everybody playing on his line seems to find a way to score.
With James Neal suspended two games for a boarding incident against Columbus, coach Marc Crawford decided to move Tom Wandell to the left wing on Richards' line. Wandell, who entered with two goals in 21 games, scored the game-winning goal in the third period off a no-look, between the legs pass that Richards somehow squeezed through a crowded slot.
Also, Richards did a lot of the heavy lifting on a shift in which Loui Eriksson found Stephane Robidas for the insurance fifth goal
After Brian Rolston(notes) opened the scoring for the New Jersey Devils, it became the Robidas Show for the rest of the first period: Primary assists on goals by Warren Peters(notes) and Mike Ribeiro, and then a power-play goal of this own. Tom Wandell's(notes) goal in the third gave the Stars the lead again after a Devils' rally, and it was Robidas that finished off the scoring with his fifth of the season for a 5-3 Dallas victory. It was the defenseman's second career two-goal game and first four-point night.
"We did the things we had to do to be successful against these guys," Stars coach Marc Crawford said. "Protecting the puck, not turning it over, making sure we're solid going into the offensive zone, getting pucks, trying to create rebounds and really winning the battles after the initial shot."
With the exception of the first 55 seconds of the game, I would agree.
Let's take a look at some ex-Stars in the NHL last night:
- Martin Skoula scored two goals for the Penguins in their win over Atlanta.
- Johan Hedberg took the loss.
- Jussi Jokinen scored for Carolina, and will be here on Monday at the AAC, with Mike Smith taking the loss.