The Dallas Stars could hardly have asked for anything more from their first multi-game homestand of the season.
That three-game set wrapped up Saturday with a 4-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets, and all three wins were over teams that experts expect to be around the eighth and final playoff spot at season's end.
While not all the victories would have won a beauty contest, the fact remains that Dallas came away with all six possible points and conceded just one in the homestand, points that could prove critical if this team finds itself in a close playoff race yet again.
And that early success has the players stealing their coach's metaphor, even if they do mess it up a little bit.
"We talked about trying to get as many points as we could early on," said Stars forward Adam Burish. "Every year you talk about that because teams are still finding themselves and trying to figure out they want to play. If you can put some hay away early, steal a few early, even though we weren’t playing our best, it feels good. We’re a confident bunch. We like the way we’re going."
After the jump, more on the Stars victory over the Blue Jackets, the rest of the Pacific Division finally starts to play some games and Don Cherry apologizes.
- After coach Glen Gulutzan came out of the first four games sounding less than pleased, it's a refreshing change to hear him sound nearly giddy after a very solid performance Saturday night. [DallasNews.com]
- Here's some other postgame quotes collected by Mark Stepneski. [ESPN Dallas]
- The Jackets, meanwhile, seem thoroughly discouraged with the result, which drops them to 0-4-1 this season. This could go one of two ways for Monday's game - either the Jackets could come out with a renewed sense of purpose or it could just completely crater on them only six games in. [Puck-Rakers Blog]
- And here's how the game looked to our friends from The Cannon. As a note for those who might be confused like I momentarily was, there were indeed two assists on the Loui Eriksson goal, which went to linemates Steve Ott and Jamie Benn. [The Cannon]
- Around the Pacific Division, the good (or bad if you're a Stars fan): It was a great night to pick up points if you were most Pacific Division teams. The Los Angeles Kings lost defenseman Drew Doughty to the dreaded "upper body injury" but defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 in overtime, and the Phoenix Coyotes had a successful home opener with a 4-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets. [Philadelphia Inquirer/The Associated Press]
- Around the Pacific Division, the bad (or good if you're a Stars fan): The San Jose Sharks outshot but couldn't outscore the St. Louis Blues as the Blues scored three goals in the third period to win 4-2 in San Jose. [San Jose Mercury News]
- And to update an injury from last night, Anaheim Ducks forward Jason Blake will be out at least three months after having wrist tendons severed by Brent Burns skate blade in Friday's game against the Sharks. [Los Angeles Times]
- Finally, Don Cherry got himself into a little bit of hot water after making some controversial comments about former NHL fighters. On Saturday, and probably at the behest of Hockey Night in Canada's lawyers, Cherry apologized both for the terms he used to describe those players and for implying they had taken a stance on fighting that most publicly had not. [Puck Daddy]