Last night's contest between Dallas and L.A. was the perfect example of the Stars season to show to national television audiences in the U.S. (Versus) and Canada (TSN2). It was the epitome of their season in that after it was done you were: thoroughly entertained, you weren't really sure why they won or how they came from behind yet again, but two points were added to their total when it was all said and done and..."Huh? the Stars have 61 points?"
The local media has been saying for weeks that the Stars have the target painted on their backs now. They're no longer under the radar. People are gunning for them. If that was true before January began it's even more so now with the team going 6-0-1 and gaining a bit of separation from the pack fighting for the #'s 4 through 8 seeds in the West.
The national media was forced to take notice last night and they have responded in kind with various notes of praise this Tuesday, even if the Versus post game show used the word "overachieving," I hear. Let's have a look...
- Sports Illustrated praises Joe Nieuwendyk and Kari Lehtonen for the Stars surprising rise [SI.com]
- Puck Daddy (Sean Leahy in this case), site of so many "How long until Kari Lehtonen is hurt?" jokes (deserved, true), weighs in on the Stars and singles out the big Finn and his success. [Puck Daddy]
- Mike Ribeiro is getting some love from Bristol. [ESPN]
- Lehtonen's save on the penalty shot and the one on Dustin Brown to end the first period are Pro Hockey Talk's save of the night. [PHT]
- Jeff Woywitka's teammates praised him for saving that puck sitting on the goal line last night. Lehtonen was thankful the ice was sticky so late in the game. [DMN]
- Brian Sutherby will have another chance to fight Ben Eager this year because he's been traded to division rival San Jose, who is in desperate need of NHL capable bodies right now on their third and fourth lines. [Mercury News]
- Lost in the Jamie Langenbrunner's 1000th game ceremony was that Karlis Skrastins played his 800th NHL game. So congrats to the grizzly shot blocker.
- And because it was so awesome, the Woywitka play and the Lehtonen save after the jump...