Niemi looking at where the puck isn't... Benn looking at where the puck is...
- No Richards... No Grossman... No Langenbrunner... No problem?
- A few questioned the playing of Kari Lehtonen tonight by coach Crow and I'll admit I was in that camp and gladly wrong as Kari had another great night. Does make one wonder what the status of Andrew Raycroft is and if the coaching staff is as confident in him as they were at the start of the season, or is a case of riding a hot hand in Kari? 29 saves on 31 shots against and more than a handful of times had to just survive having Sharks "accidently fall" directly on top of him.
- Jason Williams is making GM Joe look like a borderline genius at this point. Since his return to NHL ice a few weeks ago, he has steadily gotten better and tonight had by far his best game as a Star and was one of the best players on the ice. Nieuwendyk's other recent acquisition Alex Goligoski looked good tonight even without adding his name to the scoresheet. Four shots on goal, a couple of blocked shots on the other end. It was his best game defensively for sure tonight.
- Other Stars getting points: Benn added an assist to his goal. Stephane Robidas, Mark Fistric, Steve Ott and Trevor Daley also all had solo helpers.
- The Stars powerplay as it has been the last few games was solid even though it went 0 for 2 on the night. More importantly, the Stars play down a man - 3 for 3 on the penalty kill and not giving up a goal playing 5 on 6 - didn't give up a goal. Credit the Stars for making good hard clears of the puck and then changing on the fly quickly off those clears keep defenders fresh and alert.
- Is it safe to say 'mission accomplished' for this road trip already? Truth be told, I personally had expected the Stars to go no better than gaining four out of a possible eight points in this four game swing and to me that would have been fine given how the previous pair of road swings had gone. They now have five points for sure and should have some confidence as well as a little more rest going into Staples Center on Monday.
- Tonight's three stars: Pretty easy to go with Benn and Marleau as they were the best players for their respective teams. The third star could have been either Goligoski, Williams or Lehtonen in my books as they all did fine work, but we'll go with the player who got the GWG.
1 - Jamie Benn (DAL)