The Dallas Stars used yet another third period comeback to beat the St. Louis Blues as they start 2011 on the road with a much needed 4-2 win rattling three straight third period goals from the sticks of Brenden Morrow, Brad Richards and James Neal to overcome a 2-1 deficit that had stuck with both teams since the end of the first period.
The Stars overall had a much better effort in the game compared to the previous two games at home, possibly forced into playing a much more sharper game as the Blues appeared to wake up from a awfully slow start to the game themselves.
The first period you could say mostly belonged to Dallas as they had an edge in shots and scoring chances, but it was the Blues who skated away with a lead after 20, mainly due to two underwhelming plays from Jeff Woywitka who failed to even barely contain a hard net-crashing David Backes on the first Blues goal to open the game's scoring. Morrow had notched his first goal of the night off a beautiful breakout pass from Richards to tie the game a minute later, but again the Blues reclaimed the lead near the end of the first as Alex Steen slashed a stick out of the hands of Woywitka and then proceeded to skate circles around him to pot the Blues second goal of the night as Woywitka - and admittedly most of the Stars on the ice - appeared to be more concerned with why no call was made.
It was the kind of play that can leave a bad taste in the mouths of fans, not just for the horrible officiating display, but the way the Stars had abandoned their responsibility to the play in order to verbalize their displeasure to the referee. To the team's credit, they refocused and while they did give up a few more scoring chances and shots that one would like in the second period, Kari Lehtonen seemed to get his groove back and made a handful of key stops that would have given the Blues a two goal lead.
In the third came the Stars comeback which against St. Louis is getting to be about as reliable as death and taxes and looked forward to by Blues fans just as much.
The win marks a 4-0 season sweep for the Stars over the Blues which is the first time that's happened in franchise history be it in Dallas or Minnesota. Given the fact that Neal - who has always been so very popular in St. Louis - was the last one to score to put the final result as is, you can be sure our Blues-lovin' friends are happy to see the Stars go away for the rest of the year... Or at least until the playoffs perhaps?
Which Stars fans can now start talking about again as we have a win to feel good about ourselves and the team. At least until the next loss anyway when all hope will then seem fleeting. Such as life in the wild NHL west.
A few more thoughts and three stars after the jump.
- Special teams for the Stars got back on track a little in this game as the penalty kill was a perfect 2 for 2 and the power play did pick up a marker on two tries.
- Stars were also quite good in the face-off dot as they won 60% of them in the game. Steve Ott and Mike Ribeiro were your top faceoff guys going 15-7 and 6-3 respectively. Rough night for Richards on the dot however going 7-9 which is.. well rough in Brad Richards standards.
- Other Stars picking up points on the night: Richards had two assists to go along with his goal. Loui Eriksson, Jamie Benn, Ribeiro, Trevor Daley and Toby Petersen all had solo assists.