Ok, so maybe that's not entirely true. He had some help. But it did seem that throughout the game, whenever there was a bit of argy-bargy in a scrum, or an open ice hit, or some rough play in front of a goaltender, Vernon Fiddler was in on it. He got under the Bruins' collective skins, even more so than Antoine Roussel was able to do. And so it was only fitting that Fiddler would convert on a penalty shot with just over two minutes left in the game to send it to overtime and a thrilling conclusion for the Stars.
I've checked the stats, and am still having trouble believing that Fiddler had only 10:56 of ice time. I swear number 38 was in on every play last night.
That ice time though was indicative of how the Lindy Ruff deployed the Stars last night. The top two lines averaged about 20 minutes per skater, while the bottom two all hovered around 11. But that usage didn't reflect Ruff's thoughts on the team's performance, as he had high praise for a number of the team leaders.
"I thought the leadership of our team was fantastic after the first period. I give it all to Benn and Fidds. What Fidds did in the first, and even the penalty killing with Horc and all those guys. Those guys deserve a lot of credit. You can say all you want as a coach, but I think those were the guys out there that went and changed the game. Fidds made the biggest difference late with the penalty shot and driving through the middle. It was a break we needed. Got the call for the shot and he was able to finish." [Sports Day DFW]
The Stars now hold a record of 7-6-2. Take away those five games when Kari was injured, and the Stars would boast a 6-2-2 record. Five of six possible points so far this month, a 2-0 start to the road trip, and some dominant passages of play in last night's game, and is it possible we're finally beginning to see what this team is going to become?
* * *
I don't think I've ever seen this many post-game quotes. Everybody had something to say. [Sports Day DFW]
Mark Stepneski's notes on last night's game. [Stars Inside Edge]
Replay of a chat with Mike Heika yesterday. All your questions, answered. [Sports Day DFW]
Turns out pigs do fly. And the Sabres beat the Sharks for their third victory on the season. Course, it was in a shootout so, if it weren't for that .8 second mishap, San Jose would still be undefeated in regulation. [USA Today]
Feel good story here. Manny Malhotrsa is officially back. [Puck Daddy]
And lastly, should you ever be feeling down, about anything, or even slightly out of sorts... Open up this picture, relive the moment of Fiddler's penalty shot goal, and feel your spirits instantly rise.