A Western Canadian team, with a backup net minder comes to the American Airlines Center. Dallas carries the vast majority of the play, pummeling the aforementioned goaltender with 40 or more shots, but only manages two pucks behind him. Late in the game, a penalty for delay of game is called and the visitors go on the power play. Stop me if you've heard this one before. The Stars have. Only this time, the end was more to their liking.
This time, the defense stood tall on the penalty kill. This time, the Stars struck first, and were able to push it to a two goal lead. This time, Marty Turco was even better than he was on Wednesday, and we get to enjoy a win, rather than try to find the elusive answers to questions we just finished asking the other day.
Cory Schneider stopped 45 of 47 pucks in a valiant effort. His only other appearance this season was a third period last week against Anaheim, where he allowed three goals on twelve shots. There were some reservations from Canucks faithful and media, but the young man frustrated Dallas for much of the night. Give him a ton of credit.
That the Stars managed only two goals again at home does not strike me as a huge concern right now. The club was tenacious, energetic, and focused. The scoring chances were abundant. It's frustrating to run into hot goaltending in consecutive games when you pummel the net with so many shots, but after talk early in the season of slow starts at home, these last two contests are an encouraging sign.
Let's take a look at quotes, and reaction to the 2-1 victory.
Minor-league Canuck callup Cory Schneider, a surprise starter instead of sizzling Andrew Raycroft, conjured a 45-save performance so brilliant the Canucks had a chance to beat the Dallas Stars when they could have lost by a touchdown.
Outshot 42-18 and outrun for 45 minutes by a fresher, faster Dallas team, Vancouver lost 2-1 when its power play failed on two late chances during a third-period surge.
Nearly all Canuck players said the game wasn’t as lopsided as it seemed, that they survived all the Stars’ pressure and played an inspired third. But really, Vancouver got what it deserved and only Schneider kept it from being worse.
Follow the jump for more news and notes on the Stars win at home on Friday night...
Good points included Turco (who had to be big right out of the gate and then very late), Brad Richards, who is looking more like the leader of this team every game, and really the whole roster. Karlis Skrastins had four blocked shots and was huge on the late penalty kill. Mike Modano won some key faceoffs, including going 4-for-5 in the third period. Brenden Morrow had a career-high eight shots on goal, and the game-winning goal. Loui Eriksson had three takeaways, set up Richards' goal and drew the penalty for the game-winning goal. Brian Sutherby, Tom Wandell and Fabian Brunnstrom continue to improve.
I couldn't agree more about Brad Richards. (Who didn't even have an "A" on his chest last night, I don't think). I know they've got a lot of "A's" in that locker room, but Brad Richards is really playing the part this week. He was vocal after the game on Wednesday, and came up with yet another huge play last night to open the scoring.
Dallas won, despite of the loss of their top goal scorer, James Neal. Says ESPN Dallas...
Dallas Stars coach Marc Crawford said forward James Neal will not make the trip to Minnesota for Saturday's game. Neal missed Friday's game with a pulled groin and the club wants to give him another game to rest things. Forward Krys Barch is also not going to Minnesota. He hurt his back while reaching for a puck in Thursday's practice. He was a healthy scratch on Friday.
Dallas has four days off after Saturday's game, so Neal could skate next week and possibly play Thursday in San Jose.
Vancouver was the more injured of the two parties last night, missing Sedin and Demitra. Schneider made sure they didn't exactly miss the injured Luongo.
"They were the quicker and more effective team in the first two periods," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "We had one player fresh and that was our goaltender. He had a great outing and gave us a chance to stay in it."
Dallas enjoyed a 40-16 advantage in shots after two periods, but instead of cruising to a blowout win, the Stars led by a single goal.
They finally got the insurance they needed when Mikael Samuelsson took a tripping penalty early in the third and Morrow struck from close-in at 3:50 for a power-play goal.
Brenden Morrow's game high 8 shots on goal resulted in the game winner, but he and Jamie Benn could have 3 or 4 more between the two of them if not for the brilliance of Schneider. By the way, every single Dallas Star registered at least one shot on goal.
Both teams had apparent goals disallowed, including this one in the third period that confused many when it got a lengthy review:
Once again, the Canucks came storming back right away and nearly cut the deficit in half just 29 seconds later. On a similar play to the disallowed Stars goal in the second period, Alex Burrows stepped out from behind the net at the right post and jammed the puck under a diving Turco. The whistle appeared to blow just as the puck emerged from under Turco’s pads at the left post and Sedin quickly popped it in. A video review upheld the call.
"I’m confused but I didn’t really get an explanation," Turco said. "They blew the whistle, but to my understanding, if the intent to blow the whistle is there, it’s not even reviewable. It was underneath me, squirted all the way through my pads and their guy pushing my leg in the net forced the puck to go in and that’s where the whistle comes in. The right call was certainly made."
The Stars broadcast crew seemed to agree with Marty on that one. There are many who would like to see more explanation from the league on some of these calls, either by the referee immediately following the review, or something released by the league after the game; But the NHL, as with the punishments for hip checks last month, sometimes prefers to keep its reasoning to itself. Oh well.
"It was nice for a power play goal to go in," Stars coach Marc Crawford said. "We looked more comfortable on the power play. Still, I think there's another level of execution we've got to get too. When the pinpoint, cross-ice passes connect for goals, it will get even better."
The penalty kill wasn't even needed until midway through the third period. The Stars took their only two penalties of the game back-to-back. In fact, there was a slight overlap as the Canucks got 18 seconds of two-man advantage time. Still, the Stars did a nice job, starting with the goalie.
"The most important penalty killer was our best guy tonight -- Marty Turco," Crawford said.
Dallas is 3 for their last 18 power play opportunities. The man advantage, and the faceoffs (41% against Vancouver) are still...areas of interest, we'll say. As is the "prevent defense" the Stars have employed to milk home their one goal leads. What happened to "safe is death"?
No time to rest. Minnesota tonight at 7:00pm.