I don't expect that it will soothe all that hurts Dallas / Fort Worth sports fans right now, but this should help as the Dallas Stars grind out a 3-1 win over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night. It was a game and overall team effort Joe Nieuwendyk should be proud of on a night where the Stars honored him and his Hall of Fame nod just before opening puck drop.
Loui Eriksson opened scoring, Vernon Fiddler picked up the game winning goal and Sheldon Souray added an empty net goal with a laser shot from about 400 feet away (I could be a bit off on that length) and with that the Stars record goes to 8-3-0 this season. Kari Lehtonen was sharp yet again stopping 31 of 32 shots against.
The Stars now enter a bit of a break on a high note to mend some bumps and bruises - after all even though it's the Stars dishing them out, the hits they've been handing out still can cause some aches and pains. Dallas is back in action on Friday against the Colorado Avalanche.
Pucks On Net = Net Gains : Yesterday the Stars took part in 'battle drills' to put emphasis the idea that players need to fight their way to the front of an opposing goal and battle to stay there. Of course against a very sound defensive team like the Devils that's easier said than done, but the Stars did at least spend the first and third periods getting shots on the New Jersey goal which is a start. Fiddler's game winning goal actually came while he was behind the Devils net as he banked a shot off the skate of a New Jersey defenseman and past Johan Hedberg.
The Importance Of Faceoffs : It may seem like I harp on it all the time in these recaps, but Peter Sykora's goal in the second which came directly after a Devils face off win in the Stars zone is proof why winning faceoffs - especially in the defensive zone - are so important. The Stars actually struggled badly in the first two periods before rallying a bit and at least getting the win to loss ratio somewhat close (in the end they won 21 and lost 27) but it's still a sore spot for the club right now.
Going Deep : Simply great work by the Stars third and fourth lines tonight. Nystrom / Fiddler / Dvorak on the third line were very sharp - you have to love the hustle that Eric Nystrom has brought and it appears to be benefiting his linemates. The Barch / Wandell / Burish line was very physical - 11 hits between the three of them with Barch having 6 of those himself. The Stars and us fans will gladly take that level of effort and results from those six players every night.
Special Teams Report : The power play went 0 for 2 but did look ok in their two attempts. Credit the Devils PK with some good work in keeping the Stars shooters to the outside and limiting chances. That is also what the Stars penalty kill did though too as they went 3 for 3. The Stars actually managed one more shot than the Devils (3-2) despite having one less man advantage opportunity.
From The "It Worked Out In The End, But..." File : What was Michael Ryder thinking pushing a broken stick towards a Devils puck carrier that resulted in a last minute power play chance for New Jersey?! Thankfully his teammates got him off the hook on that one and we can now laugh about it for the next few days.
Love For Lokomotiv : Just a reminder as bracelets were being sold at the game tonight, but if you missed your chance to get one, you can go to www.loveforlokomotiv.com and purchace a memory bracelet in honor of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team.
Scoring & DBD Three Stars:
10:51 - DAL ES Goal: Eriksson (6) Assists: Ott (6) & Benn (8)
12:00 - NJ ES Goal: Sykora (1) Assists: Elias (4)
11:34 - DAL ES Goal: Fiddler (2) Assists: Dvorak (3) & Souray (5)
19:57 - DAL EN Goal: Souray (3) Assists: Goligoski (3)
The Three Stars
1 - Sheldon Souray (DAL)
2 - Kari Lehtonen (DAL)
3 - Loui Eriksson (DAL)