NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 16: Scott Niedermayer takes part in his jersey retirement ceremony by the New Jersey Devils prior to the game against the Dallas Stars at the Prudential Center on December 16, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
On the second night of a back to back, at the end of a long and trying road trip, the New Jersey Devils were simply too much for the Dallas Stars tonight, who fell 6-3. Son of Minnesota North Stars great J.P. Parise (and pretty good hockey player in his own right), Zach Parise, led the Devils with 4 points (1-3-4), and former Dallas Stars netminder Johan Hedberg stopped 30 of 32 shots to secure the victory.
At times, the Stars looked to be right in the game with every intention of leaving with two points, but by the end of the night the fatigue was apparent and the New Jersey Devils were obviously the better team. Richard Bachman's winning streak came to an abrupt end, as he surrendered all 6 goals, including a couple very stoppable offerings.
With the road trip now neatly wrapped up and complete, the Dallas Stars will return back home to the friendly confines of the American Airlines Center for a date with the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night. More thoughts and notes on tonight's massacre after the jump.
What better team to retire Scott Niedermayer's #27 against than the Dallas Stars? After hanging up the skates after the 2010 season as a member of the Anaheim Ducks, the New Jersey Devils chose tonight against the Dallas Stars as the perfect game to retire his number. Niedermayer was honored in a pre-game ceremony that highlighted his tenure with New Jersey that lasted from 1991-2004. Niedermayer, of course, was part of that 2000 Stanley Cup Championship team that skated Lord Stanley's Cup around the Reunion Arena ice.
On any other night, the story of the evening would have been the return of Travis Zajac to the Devils roster. The 26 year old center had missed the first 30 games of the season recovering from an operation on his torn Achilles tendon that had kept him out of action since early May, when he suited up for Team Canada at the Wold Championships in Slovakia.
In a game with many defensive lapses that hung the rookie netminder out to dry, Richard Bachman stopped 25 out of 31 shots for the first loss of his career. A stoppable shot from a severe angle in the second period really gave New Jersey life as they proceeded to get a strangle hold on the game that they wouldn't surrender.
Successful Road Trip
Despite the loss, and the embarrassing display in San Jose, this can be be considered a very successful stretch of road games. The Stars secured 6 out of a possible 10 points against some stiff competition on both coasts. The kind of travel that would make an Atlantic Division team petition Gary Bettman in protest.
Philip Larsen left the game early on with what was described only as a lower body injury. It's unclear exactly what is hurt or how severe it is, but it was enough to force the Stars to finish the game with 5 defensemen. If it forces him to miss any significant time, it should put a temporary moratorium on the "who sits, who plays?" debate.
Give Them Credit
While the score was ugly and the outcome rarely in doubt for most of the contest, the Dallas Stars never stopped fighting or believing they had a shot in this game. The Ribeiro/Morrow line lead the charge with tenacious and creative play when they just as easily could have packed it in and gotten ready for the flight home.
08:40 DAL Michael Ryder (10) Wrist Shot - Assists: L. Eriksson (14) & J. Benn (19)
15:43 NJD David Clarkson (10) Wrist Shot - Assists: P. Elias (16) & Z. Parise (14)
01:38 DAL Brenden Morrow (6) Slap Shot - Assists: M. Ribeiro (19) & S. Ott (9)
03:35 NJD SHG - Adam Henrique (8) Snap Shot - Assists: Z. Parise (15)
12:12 NJD Ilya Kovalchuk (10) Slap Shot - Assists: Z. Parise (16) & A. Larsson (9)
18:33 NJD Petr Sykora (7) Backhand - Assists: C. Janssen (1) & R. Carter (2)
09:19 NJD Zach Parise (11) Tip-In - Assists: A. Larsson (10) & I. Kovalchuk (13)
14:10 DAL Toby Petersen (2) Tip-In - Assists: S. Souray (10) & J. Dowell (2)
14:30 NJD Patrik Elias (11) Wrist Shot - Assists: D. Zubrus (7) & P. Sykora (9)
Defending Big D 3 Stars
1 - Zach Parise
2 - Petr Sykora
3 - Ilya Kovalchuk