See what happens when the Stars take the attack to an opponent? Last night the Stars and Flames squared off in a vitally important matchup. Both teams are fighting for one of the last two playoff spots. The level of play reflected those circumstances. The Stars and Flames played under playoff conditions with a playoff level intensity. It's what the Stars have been lacking for most of the season. It showed up at a very good time.
The Stars were outchanced 16-14, but it was basically a coin flip. The Flames generated more chances early desipte the play being relatively even. The Flames generated more chances late because they were trailing. It happens. Overall it was pretty much what you'd expect from two evenly matched teams.
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
The Stars will happily take two points even if it means giving the Flames a loser point. The player chart looks a little different this afternoon after the trade of Nicklas Groesman. It, and the individual chance report, are after the jump.
The player report for last night's game makes everyone smell like roses this afternoon. Usually some unit will have a negative for any number of reasons. Last night is the rare exception where every unit played extremely well. The Stars were led, oddly enough, by the play of the fourth line. Adam Burish was a man on a mission.
Burish and Tom Wandell led Stars forwards with +4 ratings. They were all over the ice all night. Burish scored the Stars first goal of the game on a floater from five feet, and later provided the screen for the Stars power play goal. It was easily his best game of the year, and any scout in attendance had to take notice. Wandell was very good once again, but further proved that his hands may in fact be encased in cement.
The top defensive pairing was that of Trevor Daley and Mark Fistric. The Stars defense was activated from the get go. Daley excels under those circumstances. He and Fistric were both +5 chances. Every other defender except Adam Pardy was a plus. Pardy came in at two chances for and two against. I felt that he played his best game of the season too. He showed rare poise last night in both the offensive and defensive zones. There were two times in particular where I just knew he was going to turn the puck over, but he didn't. Is this a new Pardy? I'm not betting on it, but it's an encouraging start.
|CGY||2||5:00||Jokinen - double check time||3||16||32||33||38||5||12||13||34||40||93||4v5|
Next up for the Stars are the Coyotes again. (Insert a bunch of comments about how important this game is.) If the Stars play with the intensity they had last night against any team in the league they'll have a chance to pull points. They're fighting for their playoff lives so there is no reason to expect any less. I look forward to seeing how long they can keep this up because it was certainly wonderful to watch last night.