Dallas Stars' fans have known for weeks now that just one outstanding individual performance game in and game out could mean the difference between significant OT/SO points earned in a shortened season. The Stars were just one such effort away from recording a point or more in Minnesota. They needed a similar heroic act against the Blackhawks and Blues at home.
Until Jamie Benn returned the lineup, and Glen Gulutzan knows who's powering his team's motor these days...
"Our big guy came to play and he's getting into form. The way he shoots the puck and releases the puck is fun to watch behind the bench. As a coach it gives you a sense of calmness when he's out there. I think that's what every coach in this league likes about their best players."
Benn's individual efforts, augmented by the pursuits of Jagr, Morrow, and on the third goal, Derek Roy, gave the Stars the edge they needed in Colorado, though the team recorded just one or two scoring chances in the entirety of the third period.
It would appear that Jamie Benn's timing and legs are returning. Will he continue to try to be a one-man wrecking crew, only to turn pucks over? That's been an issue in the early going, and you'd like to think that building some chemistry with consistent line-mates will solve a lot of that, but the time is short.
For today Stars fans are enjoying having the team's best player back in the fold, scoring what can only be described as beautiful goals.
The Stars will practice in Denver today before flying to
The North Pole to take on the Edmonton Oilers.
- There was a lot of talk yesterday around the hockey-sphere about the (HUGE) gap in how many OT/SO games the West has compared to the East. From Puck Daddy: "Five of the Blackhawks' nine games went to OT. Five of the Nashville Predators' eight games have, all to the shootout. Half of the Edmonton Oilers' eight games have gone to OT, where they've won three times." Make it 5 of 9 in OT for EDM after last night. [Puck Daddy]
- Gulutzan is pleased with what he's getting from his Captain now, knowing that Morrow has to produce in Whitney's absence to establish the appearance of balanced offense being sought. [Mike Heika - Post Game Quotes]
- Perspective on the game from Mile High Hockey, who feel that their team takes too many penalties as well: "Dumb penalties like this one are going to be the reason this team will not make the playoffs this year, again." (said of Zanon's third period minor.) [MHH]
- Richard Bachman on the Stars' netminding depth: "It keeps you honest and keeps you working," Bachman said. "You always know that you have to bring your best game, because you know there is someone behind you." Read more on the Stars' goaltending quality at the [DMN]
- Via TSN, Kerry Fraser discussing goaltender interference calls in today's NHL: "There needs to be better instruction/accountability from the Officiating Department in this critical area before the shortened NHL season gets any shorter." [TSN]
- In case you missed it last night, here's the video of Jamie Oleksiak's deflected point shot hitting unsuspecting referee Chris Rooney. Scary times, as it struck him in the side of the neck. He skated off with help eventually, but had to go the hospital. Halving the number of guys with orange arm bands, however, did not stop Dallas from their usual second period penalty trouble. [YouTube]
- There are rumblings that NBA players (or maybe agents) are talking behind the scenes about trying to hire Don Fehr to lead the NBAPA, though their new CBA cannot be opted out of until 2017. [CBS Sports]
- Derek Roy: 2/8 against Stastny last night on the dot. Jamie Benn: 4/14 against Duchene. It's nice to have the top two centers on the ice at the same time finally, but they're going to have to be better. [NHL.com]
- Not a lot of creativity here from me on the video of the day. I want to watch it again, and so do you - Jamie Benn's first goal from last night: