[Update] Jamie Benn suffered a laceration and is day to day. Gulutzan said he wouldn't play Saturday but wouldn't rule Sunday out. He called it a "pretty decent sized cut. [/Update]
The Dallas Stars traded Nicklas Grossman to the Philadelphia Flyers today. They lost Jamie Benn in this game to a lower body injury. They lost the lead in the third after penalty trouble, and then they won it in overtime on one of the most highlight reel worthy plays we've seen this year. It's a crazy time of year.
The Stars came into this one having lost ten of their last fourteen games and badly needing points to stay in the playoff race conversation. Despite the trade earlier in the day signaling that Joe Nieuwendyk is at least willing to do some "selling" while trying to make the post-season, Dallas put their best foot forward in this one and scored three goals at home for the first time since January 7th. They had just nine total goals in their last seven games at the AAC.
The Stars would open the scoring in the first period when the fourth line of Burish, Wandell and Dowell outworked the Flames behind their net. Dowell sent a pass out front and Adam Burish just barely got enough of it to power it lazily past Miikka Kiprusoff for a 1-0 lead. Dallas played a strong first and were 53 seconds away from taking that lead to the dressing room when a busted play in the neutral zone led to Alex Tanguay finding Jarome Iginla's stick in front for a deflection past Kari Lehtonen.
Dallas out-shot the Flames 12-5 in the second period and continued to carry the play, eventually scoring a power play goal when Steve Ott one-timed a puck past Kiprusoff through an Adam Burish screen.
They took their 16-0-1 record when leading after two periods into the third but couldn't hold the lead. Penalty trouble struck in the form of back to back minors to Trevor Daley and Steve Ott. Calgary wouldn't score on those power plays but momentum flipped palpably and seconds later Bouwmeester found a wide open Michael Cammalleri to tie the game and get them to overtime. Mike Ribeiro then did something that you'll probably see on highlight reels for a long time to come when he took a tricky pass, passed his stick behind his back to corral it, straightened up and fired a wicked slap shot past Kiprusoff to secure the extra point and avoid a shootout.
All of that, of course, pales in comparison to the status of the Star's best player and future in Jamie Benn.
Giordano collided with and was cut by the skate of Mark Giordano about midway through the second period and left the ice immediately, in a hurry and under duress. Some said there was blood on the ice and that it appeared to be a cut. From the press box it was difficult to say. Replays showed Benn grabbing his thigh and knee as hobbled off. The Stars said first that his return was "uncertain" and then about 15 minutes later said he would not return. The full nature of the injury is not known as of the conclusion of the game. Well see what's said in the post game festivities. by Glen Gulutzan.
More on this one in a few...
- The fourth line of Adam Burish, Tom Wandell and Jake Dowell, before the Benn injury shuffled the lines like crazy, was very effective. Beyond the goal they had numerous scoring chances and challenged the Flames deep in their zone many times. The line shuffling then produced such combinations as Ott-Wandell-Vincour, Ott-Dowell-Vincour, Ott-Wandell-Burish, Dowell-Wandell-Vincour, and so on and so forth. It will be interesting to see what they'll do for Saturday and Sunday without Benn. Give us your line combos in the comments.
- Adam Pardy played a pretty eventless 15:58 and finished with a +1 on the night. He'll see regular duty going forward as there's been no indication that a call up from Cedar Park is pending.
- The penalty kill was an item of intrigue tonight with Nicklas Grossman taking his big PK minutes with him to Philadelphia. The Stars opened their first kill putting Fistric in where Grossman would have been with Daley and then rolled a lot of Robidas and Goligoski out as well. Adam Pardy did not see penalty kill duty. The Flames took a timeout in the first of two consecutive power plays and that turned out to perhaps be a good thing for the Stars with Daley in the box as it gave Robidas and Goligoski time to rest.
- Getting pucks to the net has been a theme for this team lately and tonight they made good on the promise to keep things simple and throw them at Kiprusoff. 32 shots, 21 blocked shots and 17 missed shots totalled 70 pucks thrown his way compared to just 48 in favor of Calgary. It was only the second time in their last 15 games that the Stars broke the 30 shot barrier.
- Did Philip Larsen really throw a hip check?
- the Stars were dominant on the dot tonight, winning 55% of draws. Steve Ott in particular was great, winning 12 of 20. That's another reason, however, that you'd like to see him stay out of the box in the late stages of third periods in a close game. C'est la vie. Even Mike Ribeiro had an unusually good night winning 7 of 13 that he took.
- "Hopefully you guys can bring lots of friends so we can have more people" said Mike Ribeiro in his on-ice post-game interview with Sevy. The players may not have been happy with the 11,839 turnout in the stands for Jamie Benn bobblehead night.
- This is the place where we talk about Kari Lehtonen every game. Wow. The Stars controlled play largely through 40 minutes but when they needed their MVP in the third period he was there to make saves every bit as highlight worthy as Ribeiro's game winning goal was. You cannot say enough about him and he'll have to keep it up if they're to keep themselves in this desperate chase for 8th place.