"It would have been a huge momentum boost if we had beaten St. Mary’s School for the Blessed Blind Deaf and Dumb, but we beat the Detroit Red Wings tonight..." -Marc Crawford
My Mother had a funny line after the game yesterday: "They took six shots, we took six shots. We got closer than they did."
I don't think that's how the NHL wants to decide things, but it's going to have to be good enough because that game is over. Was it a goal? I don't know. No one knows. Detroit fans don't know. All we do know is that there was a call of a "good goal' on the ice, and that the replays were inconclusive. Personally I thought it was a bad call, but Dallas played a nice game and Detroit surrendered a two goal lead, so...it is what it is. Regardless, the Stars took 3 of 4 from Detroit this year.
During the first intermission, Ralph Strangis interviewed Joe Nieuwendyk. He asked him about the things he's liked this season, and more importantly, asked him where things have gone wrong. I don't have a transcript, but things went more less as follows: Nieuwy said that this "young team" gets deflated when they see all those goals going in behind them, and that proper support from the goaltending position has "not been there." We're not here to put words in Joe's mouth, but many felt like it was a direct calling out of Marty Turco.
As if sensing the opportunity to step up in light of Nieuwy's comments, tall-bald-Auld got the stops they absolutely needed to have and led the team to a win. Marc Crawford has since named Auld the starter for Monday's game against Minnesota. Interesting, no?
I wonder if we're in for some of the Anaheim/Columbus/Nashville goaltending trend: "Win and you're in". Marty Turco could find himself competing in practice to get his starting job back. Or not. Crawford has surprised us with starting netminder decisions several times already this year.
The Stars earned themselves a nice victory on Saturday, but lost Brenden Morrow and Lehtinen in the process. Can they carry momentum from this game and make a push, or are they delaying the inevitable?
Follow the jump for quotes and reaction to yesterday afternoon's big win...
As for the game, nice work by the Stars.
Steve Ott had 10 hits in addition to the game-winning shootout goal.
Stephane Robidas played 27:47, had five hits and two blocked shots. Matt Niskanen was moved onto the top pair in place of Mark Fistric, logged 24:08 and looked good. Jamie Benn was all over the map. I lost track after a while if he was a center or a winger. Mike Modano played a lot of wing and looked good. Toby Petersen was very good again.
It was a really good team effort.
Alex Auld was great in net, and definitely earned the start against Minnesota on Monday. Whether this run gives Marty Turco a rest or creates competition, it has to be seen as a good thing for the team.
Alex Auld has not shown consistency this year either, so it will be interesting on Monday to see if he can keep this starting job away from Turco for a few games. This competition to push Marty was exactly what everyone wanted at the start of the season. It's just one game out of 48 so far, but Crawford is sending a message and I have a feeling that many of you approve.
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock was fuming afterward, visiting the officials’ locker room to register his displeasure.
"The video replay showed the puck didn’t go in the net," Babcock said. "I thought that’s why we had video replay. The referee on the goal line called it (no good), but then they determined I guess that he was blocked out (by Howard) and the (second) referee (trailing the play) decided it went in the net."
The video replay showed nothing, actually, on my HDTV. Maybe they had access to a different angle or something. If he thinks that, they were clearly shown different angles than the 4 or 5 Stars fans got to see on the TV broadcast. Again, I think it was a bad call, but the video was definitely inconclusive.
Then, with Mike Modano sitting on a slashing penalty, Brian Rafalski took advantage of a Zetterberg shot that bounced off Bertuzzi (handcuffing Auld) and put the puck in a nearly open net for his third goal of the year. Again, Lidstrom picked up the second assist.
But the Stars came back in the second period. Brad Richards took advantage of a too many men penalty for the Red Wings by skating down the right-side boards along and taking a great shot that Howard couldn't handle for his 14th goal of the season.
In the third, the Stars took advantage of a questionable non-call. Krystofer Barch was in the crease, his rear end in contact with him, which stopped Howard from moving to his right, where Loui Eriksson was set up by Tom Wandell and put it in for his team-leading 19th goal. Howard lept up and immediately started arguing that he was interfered with, but the words were for naught.
The refs really let the guys play yesterday. I thought Modano was clearly held in the OT period, no call. It's a bit ironic that Detroit fans should complain about someone's "rear" in contact with a goaltender right? What about this guy? Or this guy?
How does Bertuzzi decide when he's going to play hockey and when he's going to, err....behave like Todd Bertuzzi? He has really come to play against the Stars this year.
What slim hopes the Stars still have this season might have taken a huge hit when they lost both Jere Lehtinen and Brenden Morrow. The Stars played nearly half of the game short two forwards and still made their comeback:
Morrow and Lehtinen both have upper body injuries, and both are day to day. They seemed fine afterward and Morrow issued the quote that it's ``not that bad.''
We're still holding our breath waiting for further news on Brenden Morrow, but "not that bad" is encouraging.
But what I take out this game is the way the Stars played and that was extremely well. They overcame an early 2-0 deficit and injuries to two key forwards in Brenden Morrow and Jere Lehtinen. They could have crumbled, but they didn’t. Even when they were down 2-0 after one period i liked the way they were playing. They stuck with it, continued to play well and got back in the game. The Brad Richards power play goal early in the second period was big. Richards had a big game, especially after Morrow and Lehtinen went out. A lot of guys stepped up, but he really stepped up.
Alex Auld was excellent. He made some big saves, especially when the Red Wings got a couple of chances where they could have extended their lead two goals again. After the Stars tied it in the third on Loui Eriksson’s goal, Auld came up with more big stops to keep it a tie game. He was a rock in the shootout.
Why can they give that effort at home, and not on the road? When they got down 2-0, wasn't everyone thinking that it was just more of the same? That the shoulders would slump and that the route was on? I don't get this dichotomy of home and road. They're the same group of guys.
"I thought I saw it cross the goal line," Ott said. "It was close, but it looked like it was … over the line."
"I made a fake, kind of threw it in (between his legs), and I thought he saved it, but then at the last second, you could tell by my reaction, I thought I saw it cross the goal line as well," said Ott, who took his first shootout attempt of the season. "It was tough, his glove was kind of there, too. On the JumboTron, they showed the one angle, I forget which one, it was kind of far away, you could see at least, I don’t know what you want to call it, 15/16ths of the puck over the line and the continued motion, I thought it was in."
"This can be a turning point," Ott said. "A little over halfway through the season, you see yourselves dropping down in the standings after a tough road trip like that. The only way you get confidence is winning, especially when you beat a powerhouse like Detroit and rally the guys around. It’s not going to get any easier, but I know this team has got a lot of compete in here, and we want to make that push."
"It’s a huge momentum boost for us," Stars coach Marc Crawford said. "It would have been a huge momentum boost if we had beaten St. Mary’s School for the Blessed Blind Deaf and Dumb, but we beat the Detroit Red Wings tonight, we came back from a two-goal deficit, we won in a shootout. There are so many positives that we can build on."
"I like Alex’s game, his performance was great, I thought just being big in the net and he was exceptional in the shootout," Crawford said. "I think he sensed today that this was an opportunity and he’s one of those guys that, given the opportunity, really enjoys the challenge."
"I thought Brad Richards was especially good tonight," Crawford said. "I think he showed a lot of leadership when he saw the other two guys go down. He was very good on the bench, very good on the ice, very good on the face-off circle, he had terrific puck possession all night. When you possess the puck that long, the old adage, possession is 90 percent of the law. It’s true, when you’ve got the puck, good things happen. He was making lots of good things happen tonight."
"I think it shows a lot of the resolve in the room and after the first, we came in here and we really believed in the way we were playing," Auld said of the team’s comeback. "Really, they scored on probably their only two chances of that period and when that happens, I think you can take some confidence out of that and believe in what you’re doing and believe it’s going to come. That being said, it is a challenge when you haven’t been winning and you haven’t had those results, so I feel like we did a great job sticking with it, and that’s a great sign for us."
"We didn’t feel like it was a 2-0 hockey game," Richards said. "We’ve been through some rougher times here of late, and we knew with that crowd out there and the way we finished the first, that with one goal we would be back in it. We put our minds to it as much as we could defensively to help Auld out and keep everything on the outside. Obviously, they’re a good team, they’re going to get chances. Auldie took care of that, and we got back in the game and found a way to win."