While I raise a glass to the Texas Rangers and their division championship, I want to share a few thoughts on tonight's Stars/Blues game. The Stars scored 4 times in the first period (we think) on route to a 5-2 victory over a Blues club that had scored 11 goals coming in and allowed only 4. Brenden Morrow found the net twice and Trevor Daley even got in on the action.
The second Stars goal, seemingly scored by the surging Vincour, rattled off a pipe or two. The ref nearest the play initially signaled no goal, but changed it a second later. The replay show in the building was inconclusive, and the goal was awarded to Vincour (though not announced in the building for some time). What most of us failed to realize at the time is that Travis Morin tapped the puck in for good measure after the apparent goal. He was eventually awarded the goal a period later.
The Blues made a push in the second period with power play opportunities, scoring two with the extra man. Dallas penalty kill situations included a host of prospects. One penalty kill unit was Trevor Ludwig, Matt Niskanen, Adam Burish and Jamie Benn.
Observations from a fun night at the AAC....
- The backup position: Krahn's save percentage and only two goals against speak of a decent night in net, but I think the results are a little mixed. He was not called upon to be great in the 1st period (5 shots against) or in the third. He came under some fire in the second during the penalty kill and surrendered two, though the first looked deflected. Krahn needed to really distinguish himself tonight and I'm not sure he was able to do that. If Raycroft has a similar outing next week, his experience will win him the job.
- Aaron Gagnon: I tried to start a "Get Aaron on the NHL roster now" petition during the second intermission tonight, but I only got 5 signatures because most of the 8 year olds there with their family didn't know who he was. We need to change this. He was great again, and his level of compete is as high as anyone's in camp. While his performance is not quite Benn like, from a year ago, it's getting harder and harder to ignore.
- Trevor Ludwig. Some fabulous first period hits and an overall solid game from the youngster must have made Daddy-Ludwig very happy. We haven't see much of him (certainly not at this level) but what we saw tonight was certainly very positive.
- Adam Burish: The great "Who will play on Ribeiro's right wing?" sweepstakes is not over. Burish's first game in a Stars uniform was an odd one, as he was put in a scoring role, and also thrust into the penalty kill, usually with Jamie Benn. (Also weird, because Jamie Benn did not kill penalties on this team last season.) Judging these things one game at a time is hard, and yet that's what coach Crawford has to do...Burish? Segal? Cheechoo? Convince Jere to come back? I honestly don't know who will be on that line come opening night.
- Ribeiro/Morrow: Again, they look ready to go. Morrow looks speedy and motivated. Both of them stood by the bench door when the game was over and saw every player off the ice with a stick tap and a word of encouragement. It was great to see them make that extra gesture of leadership.
- Barch and Janssen had one of the best fights you might never see, depending on what the Stars post at their site. It appeared over early as Janssen took Barch down, but he popped back up so quickly the officials let them go on, and what ensued was a spirited, LENGTHY sparring match. Or, if you like, two grown men just taking shots at each others faces. We were highly entertained.