Well, they did it again. We keep bracing ourselves for a Dallas Stars losing streak. When they stumble against a team like Colorado, and then get Chicago at home, it seems like they're scheduled to fail. When they play two horrible games against Carolina and Atlanta, then come home to Detroit, it seems as though they're scheduled to fail. But they keep bouncing back. They are maddeningly resilient, if there is such a thing. Dallas is now 9-0-2 in games following a regulation loss.
The Chicago Blackhawks have allowed only 81 goals this season. The Dallas Stars have scored 9 of those. In five meetings with the conference's top two teams, the Stars are 4-1. The one loss was to San Jose, and the Stars dominated them that night despite the negative result. They can't count on Huet being their best player every night, or defensemen winning shootouts for them every time they play San Jose, but if they continue to play well against top tier teams, it would bode well come playoff time (playoffs??), because it seems to me that if the Stars make the playoffs, Chicago and San Jose are by far the two likeliest matchups.
Meanwhile, the attention of the hockey fan seems to be aimed squarely at the Olympics today as Team Canada released their roster (here) . Brenden Morrow has been named to the team, but Brad Richards and Stephane Robidas will be staying home. Jere Lehtinen and Karlis Skrastins will be playing for Finland and Latvia respectively. Mike Modano will learn if he'll join team USA on New Years Day when their roster is released.
Follow the jump for reaction and player man quotes from last night's big W...
Brenden Morrow will represent his country in Vancouver in February. Dallas Morning News:
Brenden Morrow is selected over the likes of Shane Doan.
It's a huge deal for the Stars captain.
The big surprise on the team is Boston's Patrice Bergeron. They take him over several centers, including Brad Richards.
I'm not sure why.
Bergeron is leading the Bruins with 10 goals and 19 assists in 38 games and plus-2. However, he is a great faceoff man.
Steve Ott took center stage last night, and was rewarded the oh-so-prestigious Puck Daddy 2nd Star of the night...
Ott exploded past Niklas Hjalmarsson and Brent Sopel before beating relief goalie Antti Niemi on the power play for the deciding goal in Dallas' see-saw 5-4 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Each team blew two leads in this wild affair. Ott had given Dallas a 4-3 lead in the second period on a centering pass that deflected off the skate of Chicago forward Troy Brouwer and into the Blackhawks net. He also assisted on Mike Ribeiro's first-period goal and was a game-high plus-3 on the night. On the off chance celebrating Ott's Tuesday heroics is too unsettling, feel free to use the comments section to answer this question.
We take the good and the bad from Steve Ott. A lot of night's we get some pretty questionable calls thrown his way because he is who he is. Other night's you get penalties drawn from his antics. Occasionally goals. Last night I think we got a little bit of everything.
The game was an interesting mix of huge offensive plays and big swings in momentum.
Chicago was dominant in the first 10 minutes, but the score was tied 1-1. Dallas was playing in peak form in the second half of the first period, but Chicago scored twice late to take a 3-2 lead.
The Stars were the better team throughout the second, but the Blackhawks scored with 3.5 seconds left in the period to tie the score, 4-4.
Dallas went ahead on a beautiful play by Ott, on which he took a pass from Trevor Daley, burst into the offensive zone and roofed a shot on the power play at the 4:07 mark of the third period. It was huge for the Stars and huge for Ott, who has had a rough time on breakaways this season.
"We all just ran our routes, and Daley made a pretty good, solid play," Ott said. "I've missed a lot of breakaways this year, so I was thinking shoot right away, and it definitely found a lane."
Regarding that goal at the end of the second period: I feel like we've seen that too many times; Not the result so much as the effort and posture that lead to a goal like that. I call it "End-of-perioditis". If the Stars are ever going to be a "good" team, they have to finish periods strong. They looked content to just ride it out once the clock hit one minute in the second.
The first period was an ass-kicking that somehow only ended up in a 3-2 lead. The Hawks were all over the Stars, causing penalty after penalty, and simply fustigated them when they had the man advantage. The puck movement was beautiful, the player movement even better, and the effort top notch. It resulted in two power play goals, one each from Brouwer and Kane. But the Hawks gave it right back when Huet fell over on a Stars power play, leaving a whole net for Willa Ford to shoot at. Later, Huet decided to do an impression of a drowning man when Ribeiro went around the net, leaving far too much ground to cover to get back. Thankfully, Versteeg made a stupid good pass that left Fraser with a chance not even he could miss, and I think we all felt it would be pretty academic from there.
Whoops. The 2nd saw the Stars tighten up their ship considerably, and a nightmare of a minute got them going. Toews lost a board battle (dogs sleeping with cats!) which let Brad Richards find Loui Eriksson (one of about seven supremely annoying forwards Dallas has) who dribbled one through Huet's legs. And we thought his problem was going down to quick. Seemingly, the next shift Steve Ott (another one) sent a cross ice pass that hit troy Brouwer's skate and popped about three feet in the air, wrong-footing Huet and heading in. Perhaps he overplayed the pass a bit, but this is more down to just rotten luck. Still, a change needed to be made. The Hawks stabilized somewhat, and Kane and Toews once again brought us back with some hard forechecking, resulting in another Kane goal. Can he miss right now?
I'm sure I wasn't the only one who thought after that late 2nd period goal, the Hawks would cruise to the two points.
Be sure to click on over for more of their...err..."whimsical" take on the game.
DALLAS -- After throwing pretty much everything they had at the Stars early on Tuesday night, the Blackhawks ran out of steam offensively as their goaltending had a rare stumble.
The Hawks hit Dallas with a 21-shot barrage in the first period to grab the lead but mustered only 16 the rest of the way and eventually fell 5-4 in front of a crowd of 18,532 at American Airlines Center. The loss snapped the Hawks' three-game winning streak and prevented them from increasing their league-tying lead of 55 points.
"It was a tough start to the second," said Fraser, who scored his first goal of the season late in the first to give the Hawks a 3-2 lead. "You have to play 60 minutes. You can't let up. We weren't ready for the start of the second and it cost us. They're a good hockey team. They've had our number twice now."
It was the Stars' second win over the Hawks in as many games this season. They also won at the United Center on Oct. 17, one of just four losses at home for the Hawks thus far.
That sell out crowd they mentioned had quite the Blackhawk representation last night at the AAC. It was almost Red-Wing like, without the sense of entitlement. I appreciate the Chicago folks coming out to spend money the Stars can use to get better, and then leaving disappointed. We'll see you all again in February.
I'm sure we'll talk about this in other posts today, but as I write this we've learned the following:
Duncan Keith, Penticton, B.C. (Chicago Blackhawks)
Brent Seabrook, Tsawwassen, B.C. (Chicago Blackhawks)
Stephane Robidas only leads all NHL defensmen in hits and goals (at least he did the other day, I'm not sure now) so... Oh well. Sorry Stephane. Rest your face in February instead.
"It’s huge. We beat one of the best clubs in the league and I thought we were full value for it," Stars coach Marc Crawford said. "We had a great battle. When you look at the statistics, they show you why we won; we outblocked shots 2-to-1 and hits, we were just so much more physical than them. I thought we had good battle all night. We scored a couple of power play goals, a big one by Steve Ott and he made no mistakes about the breakaway chance."
"They got off to such a scary start with all of their shots on the power play," Crawford said. "Answering back when they scored, I thought we did a terrific job of that tonight."
"We’ve got great leadership in the room and I think you saw the response from the key players," Crawford said. "Morrow, Ott, Lehtinen, Robidas, Ribeiro, they all played great in the third period. They played with their bodies on the line. It was their determination and desire to win. It was a great job by a lot of players, there weren’t any passengers tonight."
Brad Richards (not of Team Canada)
"That was a really good team, playing really well, especially on the road," Richards said. "We stuck with it, Marty made some big saves to keep us in the game. We scored some opportunistic goals that other teams have been doing to us lately, and we did that tonight to them."
"It was unfortunate to give up that goal late in the second, not the recipe you want to use, but we did a good job," Richards said. "Otter scored a big goal for us on the PP there. We’d like maybe to have more zone time, but it was a win."
"Daley made a pretty good, solid play, and it kind of went through the D-man," Ott said of the play. "I’ve missed a lot of breakaways this year so I was thinking shoot right away and it definitely found a lane."
"You laugh about it, but at the end of the day, they all count," Ott said. (Of his first goal)
Finally, and this might be a crazy thought, but is the Olympic roster announcement going to affect Brad Richards and Robidas' play one way or the other?
To listen to Razor this season, these players have had one eye on the Olympics since the day training camp started, and it's been a much bigger player than a lot of folks have realized thus far. Is the snub a motivator for guys like Richards, or is there a little bit of a let down in his immediate future? I consider Robidas and Richards the highest character guys on the team, and I doubt this will affect their play one way or the other, but still....This was probably a very big deal to these guys.
Conversely, a lot of Stars fans have been a little less than impressed with Brenden Morrow's play as of late. (Though I thought he was very good last night.) Is this just what Brenden needs to jump start things a little? Or is too much for a newly reconstructed knee in one season?