And yet they win the game tonight 4-1? Of course, why the heck not right? If only Razor Reaugh had kept his yapper closed about shutouts and "clean sheets" we'd be enjoying a shutout that Kari Lehtonen had throughly earned! 39 Wing shots against and 38 saved makes for a very impressive night.
Not that Kari was the only impressive one on the ice as a number of Stars stepped up their game tonight.
Mike Ribeiro and Loui Eriksson - two guys we had singled out over the last few days - had terrific games and staked the Stars out to a 2-0 lead by the end of the first period. Ribs' goal came off a beautiful cross ice pass from Brenden Morrow while Loui's came a few minutes later in the last minute of the period while shorthanded scoring on a breakaway.
Krys Barch - one of two 'regulars' who returned to the lineup tonight for Dallas - skated well and was rewarded with a goal in the second period to make it 3-0 for the Stars as he followed up on a Jason Williams chance on goal.
It was after that third goal that the Red Wings did come to life and the Stars were maybe a little guilty of holding back their previously seen aggression, but Kari Lehtonen was nearly lights out for the Stars the rest of the way through with only a Tomas Holmstrom power play goal the lone blemish on his magnificent work.
Jamie Langenbrunner iced the game with an empty net goal and for the first time in the last thirteen tries, the Dallas Stars end the night with a win in regulation time.
Feels good don't it?
More thoughts and observations after the jump...
- Also returning to the lineup tonight was Adam Burish and I don't think his impact can be understated. He came in with energy, got into the faces of opposing Red Wings even with a face cage and was a true spark out there. Is he at this point the 'emotional leader' of the Dallas Stars? I don't know if I'd go that far yet, but a game like tonight makes a strong case for it being so.
- Barch only took eight shifts in the game for a total of a little under five minutes of ice time, but he made the most of them with a shot, a goal and a couple of hits.
- The previous game in Dallas I pointed out that the combination of Morrow, Eriksson and Ribeiro had only one shot between the three of them. Tonight they racked up thirteen. Much better number to end the night with! Loui had five shots, Ribs tallied six (which I am very certain is a season high for him) and Morrow with two.
- After the game coach Marc Crawford was quick to praise the returns of Barch and Burish as well as Benn as a boost both energy wise but also as a bit of a kick in the butt to players like say a Bryan Sutherby (who was a healthy scratch tonight) to play harder or risk losing a lineup spot to a returning player. Hard to argue with that logic.
- It wasn't all sunshine and lollipops tonight for Dallas. The Stars did ease off the gas some late in the second and into the third periods - although give credit to Detroit who of course has the talent and depth to come back in a game. The Stars power play is still a huge concern going 0 for 3 again tonight. How bad was it? Well Barch - even though he earned a little bit of time with his hard play - took a shift with the man advantage. When Crawford is throwing Barch onto the ice for a spin on the PP, you have to believe that is a clear message to everyone else that they need to shape up.
- On the bright side of special teams, the Stars penalty kill was good for 5 of 6 kills attempted. Not great that they took that many penalties against such a great offensive team (although - and maybe we're biased here - some of those calls against the Stars were pretty weak) but overall the Stars PK played very well.
- Also gaining points for the Stars tonight: Morrow, Jamie Benn, Mark Fistric, Williams, Steve Ott and Alex Goligoski.
1 - Kari Lehtonen (DAL)
2 - Mike Ribeiro (DAL)
3 - Loui Eriksson (DAL)