Stargazing is a daily assortment of Dallas Stars and NHL news, and whatever other random ramblings are bouncing around inside our heads.
On a night when there were so many positives to take from the game, something else weird and suspension worthy happens with a Dallas Star player.
The debate this morning seems to focus on the intent of the act. I am unable to take off my Dallas Stars colored glasses when analyzing the video, so take the following with a grain of salt: It didn't look intentional to me. That the helmet got caught in his motion seemed to inconvenience him more than anything else. He rectifies the situation by getting rid of it, then goes on about his business. To say that he meant to hit him with his helmet is a hard pill to swallow for those of us that have met Mark. Most will disagree.
Mark Fistric should be punished for carelessness, not intent to injure.
As for the game itself, the Stars played well. If not for the major penalty that spotted Calgary two goals in the opening period, one wonders if OT would have been necessary. The Stars out-shot the Flames 36-26, but were fortunate the Fistric sequence happened as early in the game as it did. There was plenty of time to recover and take the momentum back. Dallas dominated the third period for large stretches, holding Calgary to only 3 shots on goal.
Brenden Morrow looked like he was shot out of a cannon yesterday, not like someone who had just missed four games due to injury. In filling the hole created by Fistric's match penalty, Stephane Robidas played over 30 minutes last night and Trevor Daley played 28. I thought Krys Barch was noticeable last night in very positive ways depite only 6:19 of ice time. Fabian Brunnstrom, in 6:15, struck me as the opposite.
The Stars find themselves only two points out of a playoff spot this morning thanks to a Detroit loss last night. "There's still time."
Follow the jump for more on Mark Fistric, and quotes and reaction from last night's win....
Fistric was given five minutes for fighting and a match penalty for "attempt to injure". There is a chance that he'll receive supplemental discipline from the NHL, but let's face it, why even waste time trying to get inside Colin Campbell's head.
The more you watch the video and compare Fistric's punches, the more you realize that the one he throws with helmet in hand looks like no accident - unless he was doing his impression of an Alexander Semin punch.
- Defending Big D on the punch
- Mike Heika talks about a possible suspension
- Hockey Wilderness vilifies Fistric
Oh internet, we do love to sensationalize, don't we?
Instead of sealing the deal, the Flames fell apart -- as if they expected it to happen -- and went down in defeat.
"We played really good for two periods. We really did," said captain Jarome Iginla, who scored to snap his 11-game goal-less drought. "We played good as a team, groups of five out there -- offensively and defensively. We were moving the puck and skating the way we were earlier.
"Then we had a lapse late in the second, but we've got to respond from that. We had a lead on the road and we got tentative. We shelled it up there, weren't as assertive, but I think that's part of not playing with that confidence."
James Neal scored with 24 seconds left in the middle frame, Brad Richards tallied with the powerplay in the third period and then Loui Eriksson netted the lone shootout tally which leaves Calgary with just one victory in an 11-game stretch (1-8-2).
How bad has it gone for the Flames? They're now playing to not lose instead of playing to win.
You have to say, they have been exciting at home.
Miikka Kiprusoff took two slashing penalties in the overtime, but Dallas couldn't capitalize on a late two-man advantage.
Huge games for Auld, Robidas, Daley, Ott, Morrow, Eriksson. Really, it was just a gutty effort to come back from the Fistric match penalty eight minutes into the game.
I don't think I've ever seen a goaltender take two penalties like that so close together. I thought if I ever did see something like that, it would be Marty Turco, not Miika Kiprusoff. That was major frustration on his part, and those were pretty blatant slashing acts.
SB Nation friend Matchstick and Gasoline, even after 8 straight losses, is still keeping a pretty positive outlook on their team:
Overall, the Flames were the marginally better team at ES, although they were so overwhelmed for most of the third period, one could argue that either team deserved to win. Dallas benefited from some unlikely bounces, but what the hell is new in Flames country right now? Calgary ended up out-shot in the game 36-26 and at ES (28-22), although they did direct more shots at the net than Dallas. As per their custom this season, they simply failed to get a majority on Alex Auld (22 shots/22 shots+20 missed shots+15 blocked shots = 36%). The good news is, the team scored more than two goals, the PP looked competent and the Iginla line had one of it's better games. I know, I know, the time for moral victories is rapidly coming to a close, but there's nothing else to take away from a game like this during a run like this for Flames fans. Just have to continue to wait for the clouds to break.
Mike Modano scored his 1,349th point last night when he unleashed a shot from the right circle and beat Kiprusoff to open the scoring. This tied him for 25th on the all time NHL scoring list with Mats Sundin. Maybe I was in the bathroom, but I don't remember them making any mention of it in the building last night.
Mike Modano is most likely not going to be with us much longer. Small though it may seem, these are the kinds of milestones that I would like to see acknowledged during games, when they happen, or at the next commercial break. Our time to appreciate #9 is coming to a close and no one seems to care. I'll have more on this in the days to come.
"I felt good in the shootout. I obviously have a little bit of confidence in that right now," said Auld, who has now stopped 13 of 15 shootout attempts he’s faced this season. "That’s a key part,
feeling good, feeling confident enough to hold your ground and wait for the move you think is the one."
"That goal right at the end of the second obviously gave us a lot of momentum," Auld said. "Any time you score in the last minute, you tend to gain a little bit. We felt going into the third with a one-goal game that we had a good chance. Obviously, we got a couple of power plays and we were able to capitalize. We played really well in the third period. I think they had five or six shots even through overtime, so we did a really good job of keeping the pressure on them and limiting what they got."
"They’re ahead of us in the standings," Robidas said of the Flames. "Obviously, after last trip, we were a little disappointed after the last game. But we decided to stay positive and look ahead and it’s a big home stretch for us coming up and we wanted to start it right."
"Those things happen every now and then and you can never tell in a fight. Guys just let go when fights happen," Crawford said of the incident. "It’s unfortunate that Mark Fistric got the ejection from the game. He doesn’t have a history of anything like that. I thought it was accidental, but the referee has got to call it how he sees it."
"The adversity came when we were on the penalty kill," Crawford added. "You want to start your kill off really well and we were guilty of not clearing the puck. On that second goal, we made a really critical mistake. We just got on the wrong side of the Flames forwards and that allowed their defensemen with the big shots to have a long time and great opportunities."
"I really give our team credit because down 3-1, we very easily could have folded," Stars coach Marc Crawford said. "We had everybody battling. The Richards line got it going with the goal by James and that was huge. I think coming into the second intermission only down one gave us some confidence. We knew that we got a lot of chances in the second period, especially late, and that we were ready to make a push."
The Stars have played well at home, but now face teams that have given them enormous trouble in Colorado and Phoenix. It's another very, very important weekend in Big D for the Stars.
Thanks to everyone who commented in the game thread last night as we had another awesome turnout. Keep it up!