Ok, so I am gonna let my cooler head prevail on this one tonight.
The Stars needed to get two points tonight. Chicago lost, Nashville lost and both did so in regulation so getting two points felt even more critical to at least the fans who knew those results as the Stars skated in Phoenix. Not sure if the players themselves knew what took place elsewhere - maybe some did, we know for sure thanks to Ralph Strangis that Kari Lehtonen
(who as always I'll give the obligatory mention that he was as good as could be expected) didn't.
So the Stars losing in a shootout and thus only gaining one point in the standings stings. But it still keeps them in the race and it is better than nothing as the saying goes.
And as far as the game itself goes, you can't say the Stars didn't give it a very solid try to get the full two points tonight. Was it their best effort of the season? Probably not, but they still carried the play for most of the game but were - and stop me if you've heard this before - foiled by a very good performance by Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov
who made 44 saves on 45 shots.
They made sure to shoot early and often, and most of those shots were on target. Granted the target was mostly Ilya's chest at times, but still shooting the puck is never a bad idea right? They generated scoring chances. Alex Goligoski
and Mike Ribeiro
were at their play-making best tonight without being rewarded with any points. What more can we say about Jamie Benn
- the night's lone scorer for the Stars with his power play goal int he second period - without sounding like giddy star-struck teenagers? (Hell, we may be well past that point) Benn's line-mates of the night Jamie Langenbrunner
and Thomas Vincour were also quite good although Vincour does need to start putting more pucks on net himself and stop trying to make the perfect play.
The Stars defense was also quite good and limited the Coyotes to nothing more than a handful of average scoring chances. Even Jeff Woywitka
who I know is the whipping boy right now wasn't that bad with 2 hits and 2 blocked shots. Again is he as good as a Grossman or Skrastins would be out there? No, but Grossman and Skrastins wern't available so Jeff did well in a fill-in role... And I say fill-in role because after tonight's game and his NHL11-like 7 hits in the game, I don't see how anyone can move Mark Fistric
back into the press box.
I felt crushed as a Stars fan after the loss in Nashville. I don't as much tonight. The Stars played a very good road game overall and while maybe wen't as aggressive going after the win as I think they should have been, they did show me that they aren't rolling over.
And they got a point in the standings. So they are still in the race and yes... There's still time.
- As I write I see a lot of comments on here and Twitter about Marc Crawford going with Jason Williams in the shootout. I had no problem with it and he would have vindicated Crow's faith in him had it not been for an amazing stick save by Bryzgalov. Overall the only issue I had with the shootout and the players who took it were with Brad Richards and Loui Eriksson who I do feel need to have better and more dangerous chances.
- Speaking of Brad and Loui, I think we can all agree they don't look 100% and are playing as such. Loui only had two shots and missed two more while he had three more blocked. He felt invisible to me tonight. Richards did get plenty of shots, but whiffed big time when he had a golden chance in the third period when he was all alone in the slot and shot it high and wide. Richards also was horrible on the faceoff dot going 2 and 7.
- One more player who I'd like to see do just a little more on the ice: Steve Ott. He was good on the dot and did play physical, but zero shots on a night where every other forward that had over 15 minutes of ice time had at least 2 (or 3 if you take Loui out of that statement) is not good.
- I can not wait for a full season of Alex Goligoski. Yeah, yeah I know he had a horrible giveaway late in the first that nearly cost the Stars a goal against, but if the flip-side to that is having a puck moving defenseman that can generate scoring chances and will lead the team in shots in a game with nine... They I'll take the bad with the very good.
- Can't say enough about Ribs and his game... And as an added bonus he was good with faceoffs tonight and won 58% (11-8) so yay!
The DBD Post game question: Who is your Stars MVP? - I know many right now would say Benn and I wouldn't really argue that point, but I still personally think the Stars aren't even in this playoff race if not for Kari.
- Stephane Robidas and Langenbrunner had the assists tonight. The goal came on the power play and the Stars finished 1 for 2 with the extra man. The Stars technically killed off the one time they were short handed, but the Coyotes did score mere seconds after the penalty ended, so...
- SportClubStats.com has the Stars playoff chances going up by .47% ... Hey, at least it's not a negative right? Dallas is now three points behind Chicago with a game in hand and four points behind Anaheim with a game in hand an a head-to-head meeting with them yet to take place.
Defending Big D Three Stars
1 - Ilya Bryzgalov (PHX)
2 - Jamie Benn (DAL)
3 - Alex Goligoski (DAL)