Do you like your Dallas Stars wins with a ton of grit and heart? Do you prefer to watch the Stars ride out clutch goaltending? Maybe you're all about the special teams stepping up and coming up large. You got all three of those tonight as the Dallas Stars extend their road rin streak to six and knocked off the defending Stanley Cup champ Chicago Blackhawks to the tune of a 4-2 win.
Was it the most ideal way to win on the road? Of course not, but then ugly wins are getting to be sort of par for the course for the Stars who don't ever overpower an opposing team. Nor do they catch them by surprise because at this point everyone and their dog knows that there is no such thing as two easy points in the NHL wild west be it Detroit or Edmonton that you're playing.
What the Stars do - and maybe as well if not better than any other team in the NHL I'd argue at this point - is play just well enough to always be in a game no matter what the situation is and in the end find ways to win.
And the ways in which they've won are getting to be so varied. A week ago in Nashville the Stars won it by riding their backup goaltending and getting goals from players who waited nearly 100 games between scoring. Sunday they did it with good ol' fashioned top players being their top players. Some nights they've started slow only to finish games strong, tonight was rather about them starting very strong int he first period, falling asleep in the second and rebounding just enough in the third period to get the win.
Tonight was all about special teams going 3 for 3 on the powerplay thanks to a goal from Brenden Morrow and two Mike Ribeiro (though Ribs' second goal came off a Morrow pass we're pretty sure was meant to be a pass back across the ice) and then going a perfect 4 for 4 on the penalty kill topped off by a Steve Ott short handed, empty net goal.
Kari Lehtonen was good for most of the night but he too seemed to mirror exactly how the Stars played on the night by playing strong in the first and third periods, but looking average in the second - and as was the case of Fernando Pisani's long-shot floating goal to get the Hawks on the board, downright sleepy.
Still, for all the flaws the Stars show on a nightly basis they find ways to overcome them with grit and flat out hard work.
I know may of us have said it time and again the last couple of months when it comes to explaining this Dallas Stars team. They confuse us, we don't know how exactly they pull out these wins night after night but we're so thankful they do in fact find ways to get these wins.
A couple of more thoughts on the game and three stars after the jump...
- What made this win even more amazing is that both Matt Niskanen and Karlis Skrastins both left the game in the third period with injuries and left the Stars skating for a good part of the third period with only four defensemen. Kudos have to go out to Daley, Robidas, Woywitka and Grossman for turning in a fine performance in the third when by all rights no one would have faulted them for collapsing.
- Other Stars picking up points in the game: Loui Eriksson and Brad Richards had two assists. Morrow, Niskanen and Trevor Daley all had single assists.
- Hard to say what was a bigger contributor to the Stars win tonight: The fact they shut down the NHL's best power play four times in a row or that the Stars limited the giveaways to only 5 and kept the Hawks takeway totals to only 7. By contract, the Hawks coughed up the puck 12 times in the game and the Stars were credited with 13 takeways. The Stars also committed to helping their goaltending out more with 20 blocked shots. Little things like this win ya hockey games.
- How strange was it to see Viktor Stalberg f the Hawks take that penalty shot and manage to rip the puck off three different parts of the net? Suddenly James Neal shouldn't feel bad about all those time he hits just a single post on his shots.
Defending Big D Three Stars
1 - Brenden Morrow (DAL)
2 - Mike Ribeiro (DAL)
3 - Steve Ott (DAL)