Before the season started, there was some worry that perhaps Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson wouldn't find the chemistry needed to really become the dynamic duo we all know they have the potential to be. After a good five weeks of hockey, I think it's safe to say those concerns should be deemed as unfounded.
The Dallas Stars, with a bit of some trouble in the third period, took care of business on Sunday afternoon by dispatching the Carolina Hurricanes with an emphatic 5-2 victory. Stephane Robidas and Eric Nystrom also scored, as the Stars have suddenly found a scoring touch that had been missing for most of the season.
Things weren't completely rosy in the third period, as the Stars continue to take bad penalties and the Canes tried to pull the Stars into a pushing match in the final minutes. The Stars didn't play their most disciplined games of the season and something that is going to hurt them moving forward if it continues.
More thoughts after the jump...
What to do with Steve Ott?
Glen Gulutzan is going to have a tough decision on his plate when Steve Ott eventually returns from his hip injury. With Michael Ryder moving to the right wing next to Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson, that trio has 16 points combined in just two games.
Benn and Eriksson have found a chemistry above and beyond what we could have ever hoped for, as the two continue to put up big numbers game in and game out. With Ryder playing so well on that line, and this trio now becoming the de-facto "top line" for the team, it's going to be very interesting to see what happens with Ott when he returns.
Let's keep it disciplined, boys...
The Dallas Stars continue to have issues with taking penalties. The Stars took 11 more penalties this game and gave the Hurricanes nine opportunities on the power play. With the penalty kill unit struggling as of late -- or at least cooling down -- the Stars are going to be up against a wall if they can't find a way to stay out of the penalty box.
Many of the penalties being taken are coming from aggressive play by the Stars, something that has become a staple of this team in the first month of the season. The Stars need to find a way to strike a balance between being an aggressive, "hard to play against", team while still maintaining overall discipline.
Nicklas Grossman needing a few days off?
Grossman has had a rough past couple of games, once again taking some needless penalties (3 vs. Canes) while making some questionable decisions with the puck. He's somehow finished a plus-2 over the past few games, but it's apparent to anyone watching he's just not himself right now.
Grossman has long been a stalwart defensively, never flashy with the puck but good enough on defense to balance any shortcomings on offense. Right now he's reacting too late to speed around the edge and not doing a good job maintaining his gap to the puck carrier.
Kari Lehtonen shakes off the rust.
After the meltdown against Colorado, there some worry that perhaps Lehtonen was going to come down to earth after such a great start to the season. Stopping 30-of-32 against the Hurricanes, Lehtonen helped the Stars wade through a murky third period on their way to a resounding win. Lehtonen looked just as he has all season, confident and aggressive in his crease.
Stars turn their attention to the Capitals
The Stars played a good-but-not-great game against Carolina, letting bad discipline taint an overall dominated performance. That sort of game won't fly in Washington, as the Capitals continue to be one of the more explosive teams in the NHL. If the Kings and Avalanche have been good tests for Glen Gulutzan Defensive Scheme, then the Capitals will be the Ultimate Challenge.
The Stars are finally showing some offensive chemistry and aggression, scoring 12 goals in the past two games. The Stars will need to continue to build and pick up momentum, especially with such a tough three-game stretch facing them the rest of the week.
DBD' Three Stars Of The GameLoui Eriksson, Dallas
Jamie Benn, Dallas
Michael Ryder, Dallas