"Rise Sir Ryder, you are now indeed worthy enough to be on this team..."
Right off the top lets remind ourselves that it is pre-season NHL action. The stats don't really count, the final result doesn't factor into any kind of playoff race and presumably half the players on the ice for both sides might not even be in the opening night lineup in a matter of a couple of weeks...
That all said though, watching the Dallas Stars beat the Montreal Canadiens by a score of 6-3 was still pretty sweet right? Six different goal scorers for Dallas... Brenden Morrow, Adam Pardy, Michael Ryder, Krys Barch, Matt Fraser and Mike Ribeiro.
Right off the bat we were treated to a bit of a different look compared to last season as the Stars started quick with three goals in the first period and were all over the Habs in the first 20 minutes. Included in those three goals were signs of what's to come under Glen Gulutzan with aggressive forechecking leading to some prime scoring chances.
After Barch scored to start the second period and make it a 4-0 Stars lead, the game saw the tide turn a little as the Canadiens took control and rally with three goals within the next five minutes to make it a much closer contest with the third of those three goals coming after a very lengthy bit of pressure by the Habs that pinned the Stars defense down and made starting goalie Andrew Raycroft a human target before giving up a goal.
It was a mid-game goaltending change for both teams - as is what usually happens in these pre-season games - that helped settle things down for the Stars. Ribs tallied a second power play goal to put the Stars up by two after he tipped in a nice slap pass from Alex Goligoski on the point.
The Stars put together a fairly even third where the Stars focused on locking things down in front of goalie Tyler Beskorowany, who himself had a nice game in a relief role. Matt Fraser capped things off with the Stars sixth goal after a very impressive bull rush to the net by him and his linemates Francis Wathier and Travis Morin (who themselves had a pretty good night also).
More thoughts on tonight's game after the jump...
This is pre-season hockey though where it's more about the players than it is the team result. How those players perform on the ice and who stands out be it for great plays made or various struggles is what the coaches are looking for and in that respect the line of Morrow, Ryder and Ribeiro really stood out as they were pretty much dominant every time they hit the ice. Ryder and Ribeiro - who had last played on the same team together back in 2006 with the Canadiens - looked like they had never been apart and had instant chemistry added to the already built in chemistry Morrow and Ribs have had over the last few seasons.
It's hard not to already get excited about the idea of a full season with those three together.
Next to the top line of the night, Thomas Vincour was maybe the Star that stood out most on an individual basis even though he didn't pick up a point tonight. He showed great hustle and had a pair of really good scoring chances that came as a result of good positioning and not being afraid to battle for space on the ice. Coming into camp he is a darkhorse to earn a spot on the opening night roster and took a very good first step towards that goal.
Adam Pardy, Toby Petersen and Jake Dowell also had pretty good nights... Truth be told, outside of that six minute or so stretch where the Stars were pinned down int heir own zone and a few cases of nerves showing from some youngsters like Brenden Dillon and Philip Larsen, they all looked very good.
But to close we need to remind ourselves that this in fact pre-season.
But man, it's good to see the Stars back on the ice and a post-game winning scrum around the Stars net.