While the Stars have enjoyed a decent turnaround the past few months and are 3-1-1 in their last five games, the Detroit Red Wings are hitting a rough patch in their season. 2-2-2 in their last six games, including three straight losses, the Wings are looking to get back on track and what better way to do that than face a team they have historically dominated at home. However, if the Stars can jump ahead early and keep the pressure on it will become a bit easier to break apart a team on a backslide.
--Brandon Worley, "Gameday: Dallas Stars @ Detroit Red Wings"
It's a simple plan. Attack the net, work hard for loose pucks and maintain a lead once you get ahead. However simple, the Dallas Stars executed the plan to near perfection in a 4-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.
The Stars jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period behind goals by Steve Ott, Jere Lehtinen and Chris Conner and a neverending onslaught of pressure in the offensive zone. The Stars also did something that has been rare this season: score on multiple power plays on the road. With Detroit chasing and committing unforced penalties the Stars were 2 of 3 on the power play in the first period.
Marty Turco, 0-8-2 lifetime at JLA, continued his strong play of late as he played one of his best games of the season. Several tough stops on point blank shots and redirects ensured his team maintained the lead throughout the game. Turco also maintained an aura of calm and control about him as he and Tomas Holmstrom were locked in a battle all night for position in front of the crease.
After the Stars expanded their lead to 4-0 after Louis Eriksson's early second period goal the Red Wings upped their energy level and fought their way back into the game. Two deflections got past Turco to make the score 4-2 and Detroit and seized the momentum and seemed on the verge of an incredible comeback. The bodies started to fly as the intensity on the ice peaked at the end of the second period and the Stars were able to kill off a late penalty and take the lead into the third period.
The Stars needed a solid, workman-like effort in the third period to hold on and that's exactly what they did. Any momentum and intensity the Wings had built in the second period was immediately lost as the Stars employed a stifling defense and choked the lanes in the neutral zone. Detroit had several chances on the power play yet were unable to finish and desperatin gave way to frustration. The Stars ended the game on a four minute power play when Tomas Holmstrom was called for closing his hand on the puck and an unsportsmanlike penalty.
It was one of the more complete games from the Stars this season and is the perfect momentum builder moving forward. Dallas has now won three straight games in regulation and continue their slow but steady climb back up the Western Conference standings. Congratulations to Marty Turco on his first career regular season win in Detroit and even bigger congratulations to Dallas for a solid and rewarding effort against one of the better teams in the league.
- Detroit had two goals called off in the game. The first came when replay showed Darryl Sydor had batted the puck out of the air and it had never crossed the goal line. The second was immediately waived off due to what the referee deemed as "incidental" contact between Holmstrom and Turco.
- Marty Turco, for the first time this season, has a goals-against average under 3.00. He now sits at 2.98 through 44 games.
- Steve Ott, with a goal and an assist, now has eight points in his last seven games.
- The Dallas Stars will finish the season 3-1-0 versus the Red Wings. Savor it.
BW's three stars of the game:
Steve Ott, Dallas. Once again, Ott has continued his strong play both on the scoresheet and on the ice with two points and a team high (once again) 5 hits. Don't look now, but Ott is starting to grow into the role Brenden Morrow has perfected.
Darryl Sydor, Dallas. His best game yet since coming back to the Stars. Made a great play in the crease as he knocked the puck out of the air and anchored a defense that made little mistakes against a talented Detroit team.
Marty Turco, Dallas. His first win ever in Detroit (reg. season) was huge. Finished with 22 saves yet none came easy. Made several spectacular saves early and was solid down the stretch to maintain his team's winning streak.
Next game: Dallas Stars @ Columbus Blue Jackets; Saturday, January 31, 2009; 6:00 PM CST