It only took one game for the Dallas Stars defensemen to go from struggling to stellar.
Led by a career-high three points from Trevor Daley and his trick shots, the Stars blue line was stellar in the team's 4-2 victory over the Boston Bruins. With Daley and Alex Goligoski manning the point on the power play, the PP registered two goals, and save for a few minutes early in the third period, the Stars never let the bigger (though not badder on this night) Bruins push them around in front of the net.
Obviously, Daley was the center of a lot of attention after his three first-period points gave the Stars a lead they would never surrender.
``Dales logging lots of minutes like (Goligoski) and they're running that power play for most of it,'' Gulutzan said. ``It's good that they can skate so well, because Dales moves the puck and can skate it out of trouble. He made some great plays in the third there to get us out of trouble. I think all our D played well.''
Sadly, the defense might have taken another hit as young Dane Philip Larsen left after the second period and did not return after getting his "bell rung." On Twitter after the game, Razor wondered if this might have come from Milan Lucic running around like a one-man wrecking crew at the end of the second, but the Stars aren't saying.
The Stars also aren't saying what might happen if Larsen is diagnosed with a concussion (or the nebulous concussion-like symptoms) and is out for a week or more. They are already short Stephane Robidas and Sheldon Souray on the back end, and they would have to call up someone like Brad Lukowich or Jordie Benn to reach six defensemen.
After the jump, more on the Stars big win over the Bruins, Krys Barch ends up in some hot water and all the best things of the hockey year you might have missed.
- The best part of Saturday's win, at least for me, is that it marked a complete 180 from last year's debacle against the Bruins, and Mike Heika explores this angle in the paywalled gamer. [DallasNews.com]
- I think the first comment on the recap from our friends over at Stanley Cup of Chowder says it all. At the time I wrote this post, they still didn't have the score for the game right, but New Year's festivities will do that. [Stanley Cup of Chowder]
- There is a sentence in this story that is meant to be a slam at the Bruins, but I tend to take it as a compliment to the Stars. "The Dallas Stars gave the Bruins a big dose of their own medicine — heavy forechecking, tight team defense, good goaltending and opportunistic offense." [Boston Herald]
- Here's a shocker. When you're the team that engages your opponents but doesn't take it too far over the line, then the other team, the one that's getting frustrated and retaliating, is the one that will complain about the officiating. It's the first thing my former-ref father ever taught me about officiating. The first foul just gets the ref's attention so he's looking when you retaliate. [DallasNews.com]
- Michael Ryder had probably the prettiest individual effort on a forehand-backhand goal near the end of the first period, and as he's a former Bruin, their local papers caught up with him to see how he's adjusting to Dallas. [Boston Globe]
- In the weird story for the night, former Stars and current Florida Panthers enforcer Krys Barch was tossed from the game against the Montreal Canadiens after a linesman heard him use a racial slur in the direction of P.K. Subban. The weird part is that no one on the Canadiens (or Panthers, for that matter) seems to have heard it, so it very well be a case of the linesman mis-hearing the original taunt. I'm sure the NHL will look into it. [Miami Herald]
- Meet the enemy: The Detroit Red Wings have been a streaky bunch this year, and they will be coming into Dallas playing very well after a 3-0 win over the St. Louis Blues. [Detroit Free Press]
- Around the Pacific Division, the winners: It's a good thing the Stars won because some other division teams look like they're starting to get their acts together. The Phoenix Coyotes beat the reeling Minnesota Wild 4-2, and the Los Angeles Kings have found their offense and picked up a 4-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks. [Yahoo/Vancouver Sun]
- Around the Pacific Division, the loser: Anaheim, oh Anaheim, I should just rename this after you. The Ducks dropped yet another game when they fell to the Colorado Avalanche 4-2. [Los Angeles Times]
- If you missed any of Puck Daddy's Top 10 lists, they are conveniently linked at the top of this article. If your favorite hockey moment didn't make any of those lists, check below where they wrap up other unforgettable things. It's kind of like they came to my beer league, honestly, because we also have a "Hat Trick Swayzes" team and also dabbled in pink ice. Never again. [Puck Daddy]
- My computer, after several rounds of the evil eye, is playing videos again today, so I can play my favorite game along with you: Find Jamie Benn's personality. He has one on Twitter, so I know it's in there.