DALLAS, TX - DECEMBER 01: The Dallas Stars celebrate a goal by Steve Ott #10 in front of Zack Smith #15 of the Ottawa Senators at American Airlines Center on December 1, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
A few weeks ago Steve Ott hopped onto the Twitter bandwagon and promptly introduced the world to the hashtag #PeskyStars.
It's turning out to be a very fitting description for this Dallas Stars team as they keep finding ways to win games and tonight was no exception as two goals in the third period pushed Dallas past the Ottawa Senators for a 3-2 win.
The Stars had fallen behind 1-0 after an Erik Condra goal midway through the first period only to have Steve Ott notch a rare Stars power play goal a couple of minutes later. After a grind-it-out second period that saw both teams only manage a grand total of eight shots, the third period saw much more action as the Sens again took a one goal lead thanks to a Milan Michalek goal that looked like it might have been the difference given how Ottawa starting goalie Craig Anderson (who always has seemed to have the Stars number in net) made a string of saves on some fine Stars scoring chances.
But the Stars true to their pesky nature didn't stop playing and after Radek Dvorak tied the game up at 2-2, Eric Nystrom potted the game winner by - as he has for pretty much all his goals so far this season - being in the right place at the right time.
Cap the night with a beautiful glove save by Andrew Raycroft off of a Daniel Alfredsson one-timer shot from about three feet away which is likely redemption for that second goal against which was equal parts bad play by Raycroft for directing a rebound right to Michalek and lucky / athletic play by Milan for leaping up and pulling the puck out of the air like he did. Overall Raycroft had a steady night stopping 33 of 35 shots against and now suddely he's won back-to-back games after not having won a game since seemingly the ice age.
Also suddenly the Stars themselves are on a bit of a tear again as they've collected 9 out of a possible 12 points over the last six games coming off that long losing streak.
How pesky of them.
Turning the tables - Ottawa excelled tonight in two categories the Stars have typically found themselves leading in most nights, that being hits and blocked shots as the Sens out-hit the Stars 32-25 and out-blocked the Stars as well by a 19 to 16 count. The Stars players can be excused if they didn't feel as if they were playing mirror images of themselves as the Senators can play a very stringy defensive game and aren't afraid to play physical. This was no more apparent than in the second period where it felt like both teams agreed to save all the good scoring chances for the last period to make that one at least a little more interesting.
More dinged up Stars - Vernon Fiddler left the game in the first period but returned shortly after, although he did look to be favoring his arm a couple of different times through the game. Thomas Vincour (who was finally rewarded for his scrappy play with an assist) was the recipient of a Steve Ott skate to the face- couldn't tell if it was boot or actual blade - as he was prone on the ice in the third period. He too did quickly return to the game as well.
The turning point... was on Twitter? - Is it any coincidence that the Stars effort and rally really started to pick up in the third period right about the time Anne-Marie Morrow announced her husband was now on Twitter? I think not.
Spreading out the shots - Every Dallas Star except for one player (sorry Krys Barch) registered a shot on goal tonight with 10 players having two more more but only 2 Stars had more than 3 (Jamie Benn had 5 and Toby Petersen fired off 4)
This isn't goodbye, just 'see ya around' - Finally on a personal note, this recap marks my last post as a writer for Defending Big D. I don't like to make a big deal out of departures and I'm still going to be around a fair amount to offer up comments of how great Alex Goligoski is (when he comes back) and images of Gerorge Bush and Phillip J. Fry doing awkward dances after Stars goals. (Not to mention you can always follow me on Twitter..)
But I do want to take a moment to thank Brandon Worley and Brad Gardner for being two terrific editors-in-chief as I doubt there are any better or easier to work with in the entire blog-dom, for their efforts in making this the best hockey blog on SB Nation if not the entire net (granted that's a biased opinion) and allowing me to share my voice on such a large stage.
To my fellow writers here - Brandon B, Pat, Taylor and Erin - for being constant sources of inspiration as well as laughter and friendship.
To all of you, the readers and members of this great online hockey community who take time out of your lives to read and respond to what we have to say because none of what we do matters one bit and is equal to shouting into the wind if we don't have an amazing group of people who interact with us the way you guys and gals do.
And a last thank you to the Dallas Stars for being so awesome and always giving me plenty - both good and bad - to write about. Nuff said.
Defending Big D Three Stars
1 - Eric Nystrom (DAL)
2 - Radek Dvorak (DAL)
3 - Steve Ott (DAL)
7:07 - OTT EV - E. Condra (3) Assist: J. Cowen (1)
9:38 - DAL PP - S. Ott (5) Assists:T. Petersen (1) & S. Robidas (6)
11:42 - OTT EV - M. Michalek (15) Assists: D. Alfredsson (6) & N. Foligno (8)
14:26 - DAL EV - R. Dvorak (3) Assists: M. Ribeiro (14) & T. Vincour (1)
17:40 - DAL EV - E. Nystrom (9) Assists: V. Fiddler (7) & R. Dvorak (9)