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Nevermind the Blowout, Let's Hear It for the Penalty Killers


Monday was obviously a travel day for the Stars.

But on Tuesday, coach Marc Crawford put his teammate through a grueling two hour practice with two points of emphasis.

Penalty killing and shootout.

The Stars didn't necessarily need either one last night as by the time they went on the penalty kill for the first time, they were already up 5-0. Still, I had a hunch that when that first chance to kill a penalty would come, Crawford would probably urge both units to treat it as if the game was still 0-0.

And they did.

In the first four games, I saw a unit that when they got in trouble, would tighten up their four man box and allow opposing power play units to get gobs of open ice.

Last night?

That box was much bigger and point shots were being challenged and blocked. And it all started with smart aggressiveness. That is, holding your position until you spot an instance where you can make a play and pouncing on that opportunity and clearing the puck.

I'm not going to necessarily say that the unit's woes have gone away. I'd like to see how they respond with the game on the line.

But last night was a good start.