The Detroit Red Wings outlasted the Stars in regulation and then got the bonus point in the skills competition to defeat Dallas 3-2 at the American Airlines Center. The Stars have now dropped four of their last five games as injuries continue to plague the team.
The Stars came out strong in the first frame, badly out-chancing the Wings and out-shooting them 11-5, but fell behind on a Tomas Holmstrom tally and needed to tie it with a Brenden Morrow power play goal. Strong net presence persisted and paid off with Loui Eriksson cleaning up a rebound from a Sheldon Souray point shot to put the Stars on top 2-1 after one.
Detroit would tie the game early in the second when Jiri Hudler flung a wild pass into the slot that luckily happened to catch Alex Goligoski's skatge and deflect cleanly over an unprepared Richard Bachman. The Stars were undeterred and continued to dominate possession and scoring chances (6-3 in favor of Dallas in the second) but couldn't get anything past Red Wing backup Ty Conklin. Dallas was out-shooting the Wings 14-6 midway through the game.
The momentum started to shift in the late stages of the period and the Wings wound up out-shooting Dallas 12-6 in the frame despite the disparity in quality chances. Like the game in Anaheim last week the Stars had pretty badly outplayed their opposition but had no lead to show for it because of the fluky bounce.
Dallas would earn a power play in the early stages of the third but took themselves off of it 16 seconds later after a Tom Wandell hooking call, his second minor of the night. Detroit would go on to have three power play opportunities the remainder of the game and that's when Richard Bachman, not needed for much of the first 30 minutes, showed up in a big way and carried his team to the extra frame and at least a point.
His luck would run out in the shootout, however. He allowed just the one goal to Hudler but the Stars scored none of their own with two of their best shooters in Mike Ribeiro and Jamie Benn on the shelf.
It was another quality effort from the Stars in the face of a superior opponent and a shorthanded, shuffled lineup but it didn't yield the results they wanted. They cross the 50 point threshold in a tie for 9th with the Colorado Avalanche.
Additional thoughts after the jump...
- What remains to be seen is if the Stars desire to "grind it out" like so many teams can do in the NHL these days (LAK, NSH, PHX, STL etc...) will yield any results before the All-Star break. They were competitive (or much more so) tonight and they were competitive last night, but have just the one point to show for it. These were two high quality teams. They now have the flailing Minnesota Wild coming up and the Tampa Bay Lightning (3-6-1 in their last ten). No one is an easy out in this league but if they continue to play like this they're going to have a chance to pick up some badly needed points before the break.
- Aside from the 1-0 loss to the Kings in October (in which we felt the Stars were the much better team) this was, by a large margin, Dallas' best performance on the second night of a back to back. They move, unfortunately, to 0-6-1 on those nights with this one.
- Richard Bachman was great. Again. This was his second start in the backup role and the Stars have to like what they see here. He was prepared to play, but then he had to sit through an entire half-game of pretty much no work. That doesn't give a goaltender a chance to get into a rhythm. When they finally needed him in the third period he responded beautifully, and that's not easy to do. Kudos to him. He deserved a better fate, as did they all tonight.
- Vincour - I feel like we didn't know what to expect from Tomas Vincour tonight, and it's not certain that Glen Gulutzan did either. He had taken part in just two optional skates with the team (Sunday, Tuesday) before entering play tonight. What they got was business as usual for the most part, though in a limited sample size. His puck possession skills were on display and he helped create a couple of good chances in the early going. His conditioning might not be where he wants it to, as they often say when coming back from injury, but we wouldn't be surprised to see him on a different line getting more ice as the week goes on.
- Michael Ryder - Boston Bruins fans descended upon us on July 1st to let us know that Michael Ryder is a pretty streaky guy. He has been, for the most part, pretty great in a half season but you wonder if the Benn and Ribeiro absences are affecting him even moreso than others. He had some spirited solo forrays into the Wings zone tonight but hasn't been as visible or involved, seemingly, recently. We'll wait and see if the onus there is on Vernon Fiddler as a play-maker or on Ryder himself. Just something to think about as they approach the much needed All-Star break.
- Special teams - Ye old proverb about your goaltender needing to be your best penalty killer proved correct tonight. The Wings had little in the way of opportunities but as the game wore on in the third the Stars gave them their chance. Bachman was instrumental in keeping it a tie game despite extremely high quality chances for Detroit on the man advantage. Stars came in 3 for their last 39 on the PP and got one tonight. We'll see if they can add to it, but the injuries dampen any forecast of significant improvement in the near future.
- Rob Ryan - Off topic perhaps, but the Stars but Roby Ryan (defensive coordinator, Dallas Cowboys) on the screen and he recieved instantaneous and complete boos from the crowd. He laughed it off (good for him). What's interesting is that an AP reporter who's here for Mavericks games told us that the basketball crowd had the complete opposite reaction just the other day. For some reason.
- 15,148 - The official announced attendance. Truth be told I don't know if it was all of that, and you kind of expect it to be for the Red Wings. Part of the benefit of the proposed realignment is the sellouts presented by teams like Chicago and Detroit here... it hasn't been even close in either Wings game this year. Today the injuries and play of the team could have had something to do with it. I wouldn't suggest that ordinarily, but even the 9$ seats weren't filled in. Jamie Benn sells tickets, me thinks.
- Trevor Daley - We'll do more on Trevor coming up here, I suspect, but he was great tonight. Three shots, three blocks. 22:35 on the ice and he looked fresh as a daisy and fast, even in overtime in a back to back situation. He created chances and worked well with Nick Grossman. He's not getting enough credit for his quiet consistency this year on either end of the ice.
- Is this another game we look and say "Boy, you have to like the way they played tonight?" When is it too late? When are results the only important thing? We're not there yet, and this was a great effort.