In the second half of a back-to-back, the Stars rolled four lines that were missing five of their top six forwards, as well as neither of their top two defensemen. Probably only 25% of the roster could be considered NHL regulars (with a few of those being healthy scratches to boot.) On the other side, the Avalanche lineup had most of their top guns in the lineup, including young star Matt Duchene.
The forwards that were out on the ice for the Stars were mostly guys expected to be down in Cedar Park this season, and the mismatch between a basically AHL lineup for the Stars was very distinct against the Avalanche's primarily NHL lineup. Much of the broadcast seemed to indicate that a majority of the time on ice was spent in the Stars' own zone. There only seemed to be a few shifts of sustained pressure by the Stars, which is a contrast to the first three preseason games that Stars fans have seen/heard. There wasn't a ton of quality scoring chances from the sounds of the game.
Richard Bachman was the man between the pipes, seeing his first start for the Dallas Stars this preseason. He is expected to be the number one guy for the Texas Stars in Cedar Park this year. From the sounds of things, he seemed very solid in net -- suffering from defensive lapses in front of him moreso than poor play on his part. The sustained time within the Stars' zone also contributed to a few goals against, seemingly wearing out the Stars forwards and defensemen and leading to lapses in coverage in front of the net.
One really awesome part to the game was the compliments that the Avalanche's play-by-play commentators launched Steve Ott's way. Ott apparently held himself up short on what could have easily been a boarding call, having taken the rule changes about "vunerable" players, avoiding an unnecessary penalty. The commentators gave Ott a very nice compliment, expounding on his versatile game play and indicating that he doesn't deserve to be included in the "knucklehead" grouping anymore. For a man that most fans around the league regard as an absolute pain to play against, the recognition of the transition of Ott's game was quite pleasing to hear for Stars fans.
The other big story of the game will be what will come of two questionable hits contained in the game tonight. The first hit would be one by Joakim Lindstrom on a Stars player. Lindstrom was called for an illegal check to the head, which probably indicates the hit will be reviewed and a suspension could be handed down because of it. The other hit that most likely be looked at by the league would be the Sheldon Souray elbow to the forehead he committed within the last minute of the game. Whether out of frustration or not thinking straight, that kind of hit shouldn't be occurring. Having only sound to go off of, and not seeing the actual hit, there's really no telling how bad that hit really was. He did not get hit with the Rule 48 penalty (hit to the head), but rather with an elbowing call. But since it was a hit to the head, it should be expected that the play will be reviewed and a possible suspension could be handed down to Souray.
With Texas Stars camp opening tomorrow, the upcoming preseason games should start to resemble the finalized NHL roster for the Dallas Stars. Many of the guys that were in the games tonight and Saturday night will be reporting to the Texas Stars camp, reducing the roster down from its current 40 or so players. Expect some of the guys that have impressed in camp, such as Tomas Vincour, to spend a few more preseason games with the big club, however.