So to start off, lets go over the list of guys who the Dallas Stars should be leaning on for offense this season and see how they did today! Brad Richards? Two assists. Mike Modano? No points but did have 8 shots on goal which led all players on either team. Loui Eriksson? Two assists in the game as well. James Neal? Two goals and an assist. Karlis Skrastins?
Woah... Wait... Who?! Karlis Skrastins? With two goals - one of them being the game winner that he scored very early in the third period - and an assist today? Uhhh... Ok, sure!
Karlis Skrastins having a three point game - a career high for him of course - seemed about as likely as seeing the Dallas Stars putting a solid sixty minutes worth of hockey against the Detroit Red Wings who came into the game having won four in a row and five of their last six, but yet both the solid sixty minutes of play and the Skrastins offensive outburst happened and your Dallas Stars won their first game in regulation time since December 3rd.
Huge win this afternoon for your Dallas Stars as they beat the Red Wings 4-3. We here at DBD have talked the last few days about how this next stretch of games over the next two weeks or so for the Stars will be a big test, so starting it off with a win over one of the club's main rivals is a great start. Also things suddenly don't seem quite as bad for the team standings wise when you consider that the Stars have earned 10 out of a possible 16 points so far this month.
But as is fitting in a season where fans on almost a nightly basis are never sure of what exactly they'll see from the Dallas Stars, today's game saw offense from maybe the most unlikely source possible: A stay-at-home defenseman who is know more for blocking shots than taking them!
Now granted the Red Wings are beat up and a hurting bunch right now with eight of their regulars out with various injuries, but they are still the Red Wings, they still had Pavel Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi in their lineup - the only two players who the Stars just couldn't seem to contain - and lest we forget the job goalie Jimmy Howard did against the Stars in their last meeting.
The Stars were full value for their win today. It wasn't a perfect win but it was maybe the best we've seen this team play over the last few weeks. The biggest thing - and as you might be able to tell, I can't say it enough - is that it was a complete game. There were no five minute lapses where the roof caved in on the team, or periods where 18 of 20 minutes were spent in the Stars zone, and maybe most importantly when the Stars did have a one goal lead late in the third period they didn't go into a cheesecloth-like prevent defense and allow the opposition to fire at will on Marty Turco until they got a goal to tie it.
Do I even dare suggest that the third period today almost kinda sorta looked like the Dallas Stars of old where they'd get a one goal lead and then "lock it down" defensively for a win? Ok, maybe they are still a ways away from that kind of play and heck, coach Marc Crawford may not even want the Stars to win that way... But in the third period the Stars stuck to playing strong fundamental hockey that both offensive and defensive players played all game and ended up with a W.
Playing strong fundamental hockey... Where have we heard that before? Lets hope they can keep it up against the Sharks!
Defending Big D Three Stars:
1: Karlis Skrastins (DAL) - Oh yeah, on top of his three point night he also had 2 blocked shots. A career game for him!
2: Pavel Datsyuk (DET) - Three point night and the Stars couldn't prevent him from setting up goals even when three guys surounded him.
3: James Neal (DAL) - Six hits to go along with his three point game and as an added bonus, neither of his two goals came off his visor!