The Dallas Stars started their year at home against Nashville, talking about not getting the result they felt they had worked hard for and earned. They've said several times this year that they "probably deserved better than they got." If that's indeed true, we'll consider last night to be a bit of universal-course-correction or just the hockey gods evening things out, because those were some of the softest goals I've ever seen.
That's not to say that the Stars didn't earn those bounces. They shut the Ducks out for 58.5 minutes and played a very nice second period. Frustration set in at the American Airlines Center after two, and the seats emptied quite a bit after the second period. Parents took their kids home to get some sleep and the single crowd migrated to the various bars before James Neal's active stick sent a prayer screaming towards J.S. Giguere at breakneck speed and life returned to the building. It's a good thing the Stars players themselves were a little more patient than those in the stands. (16,217 announced attendance last night.)
I saw Tom Hicks before the game coming in the media entrance on the West side of the building. I'm sure he stayed to the end of the game. Aren't you?
As ugly as it was, 2 points is 2 points. Dallas is tied for sixth in the conference with the rival Coyotes. The Ducks dropped to last in the conference with the loss.
After the jump, quotes and reaction from last night's home victory...
I liked the Stars fight and their determination tonight.
They could have easily buckled after the first goal. They could have fallen apart after the Stephane Robidas major for boarding. They could have let J-S Giguere get into their heads, but they didn't.
They fought through it, they stayed on task, and they won a big game. They are in the middle of playing seven on the road in a stretch of 10 games, so winning at home is important. What's more, Anaheim is in the Pacific, is hoping to be battling for a playoff spot with Dallas, and was also hoping to gain some positive momentum. The Stars did not allow that to happen.
57:26: Total ice time the past two games for Scott Niedermayer, who played 29:36 against the Kings and 27:50 against Dallas.
8-0-2: The Ducks record when leading after two periods before Thursday’s game.
79: Shots on goal allowed by the Ducks the past two games - 42 to the Kings and 37 to Dallas.
9-3, 2.06: Marty Turco’s won-loss record and goals-against average against the Ducks over the past three seasons.
12: Points by Steve Ott (four goals, eight assists) against the Ducks over the past six games.
I didn't realize Steve Ott liked played the Ducks so much.
"I didn’t feel very good before the game. I wanted to give it a shot. I felt really good in the first period. And then in the second period, I blocked the shot and it hit me right there."
Ducks general manager Bob Murray said Selanne will fly home to see a hand specialist Friday to determine if surgery will be required to repair the fracture. Until then, there is no timetable but it’s certain that he’ll miss a number of games.
"The healing process is still the same, even if I get the surgery or not," said Selanne, who’s tied for the team lead with 14 goals.
The irony is had Selanne stayed back in Orange County, he wouldn’t have been in position to get hurt.
"But you know, I have played almost 1,200 games," he said. "I haven’t missed one game because of the flu and I’ve played a lot of games that I was this close to saying, ‘No, I just can’t play.’ Some way, I just fight through. The same thing happened today. I’m not going to give up easily.
"I thought Marty was the difference tonight for us," Stars coach Marc Crawford said. "That’s a great sign for us that Marty played that well, because it wasn’t an easy game and there were a lot of people crashing the net when you play Anaheim. Marty was a difference-maker tonight, so that was pleasant to see."
"He made some tremendous saves and looked like the Marty we all know," Ott said. "He never gives up and he’s always a battler and he proved it again tonight."
My family was going to stay home tonight and watch the bread winner ply his craft, but there was a problem. I have Dish Network.
A problem? But Dad's on FSSW - and in HD to boot. Sorry, Stars/Ducks isn't available - not on Dish anyway.
Oh, but the game is also being broadcast on The NHL Network is it. Not at the Reaugh household it isn't. Remember, I have Dish, and the NHL Network is blacked out because of the FSSW broadcast - that I don't get.
So the Razor women will have to choose between a) Going to a sports bar to see it (Kendyl might have trouble - she's 8), b) Watching other programming at CasaReaugh (say maybe Project Runway or Biggest Loser), or, c) Follow it through the greatness of radio on The Ticket. (that's what they did. Now I have to explain who Corby is)
``You can analyze and analyze and analyze it. We made some mistakes. The first one, we gave the puck to a winger who was covered. Our goalie goes to push the puck aside and it hits our defenseman's skate and goes in the net. Those things happen in the game. But the second one, we had a misread on the coverage; we were all back and a forward coming back on the puck didn't go underneath to protect. If he does, the puck comes right to him. Ott shoots the puck from the corner and it goes in the net. What are you going to say?''
``I liked our patience in the game. I thought that we had to remain doing the things that allow us to be a good offensive club, and I thought we had good success with it. We got pucks down deep and worked from the goalline to the net, the goaline back up. The fear is when you're pressing for a goal you try to do things a little bit individually, you try and take some chances at the bluelines, and I thought our guys showed good discipline in that regard. We got a couple of fortunate bounces when we got pucks to the net in the third period. At the same time, I thought we did generate a lot of scoring chances tonight. Sometimes you get the payoff in odd ways, and that was certainly the case here tonight.''
``We made a big mistake on [Anaheim's goal]. Whitney did a terrific job of jumping down. Our winger, I think, was Jamie Benn and he didn't see him. He made a superb play and there was nothing he was going to be able to do to stop that chance. I thought that Marty was the difference tonight for us. As much as we outshot them, we probably did a pretty decent job generating chances. They allowed quality chances and he was equal to that task tonight. That's a great sign for us that Marty played that well. It wasn't an easy game. There are a lot of people crashing at the net when you play Anaheim; Perry's really good at the net, as is Ryan, certainly Getzlaf, I thought Koivu played really well for them tonight. Marty was our difference maker for us tonight, so that's pretty pleasant to see.''
"We've still got to find ways to be a little better and consistent, and not worry about the highs and lows of winning and losing and just worry about how we're playing. The start's a big one, but it was also the finish in the third period. We got a lucky bounce and made the most of it after that, and got a big win against a team we're playing a couple of times this month."
"I read the play great and missed the shot. You enjoy the times you make the saves, and when you don't, sometimes you can second-guess yourself. Early in the game, that's when I like to see shots. You hear goalies like to feel it a little bit, but sometimes you have to just let it go because there's not much you can do and just focus on keeping it to one goal as long as you possibly can."
"Sometimes when the gates open it definitely brings some confidence to the table and to the team. I think we definitely deserved a couple that he made some excellent saves on early in the game and we brought a persistent effort throughout the whole game I thought and played pretty solid. A couple of lucky shots go in and all of a sudden you're up in the game and think that you probably deserved to be up earlier, and we ended up going out and getting a win."
"I was lucky. Lucky. One of the luckiest goals I've ever scored. Hopefully it turns things around."
"You're going to have your ups and downs. I've been playing the same way, I just haven't gotten the bounces, and then got a lucky bounce tonight, and hopefully it gets things going again."
The Oilers are next, and they did what the Stars couldn't do on Monday: Beat the Red Wings at the Joe. They'll be feeling good after that one. Remember the very odd start time of 1:00pm on Saturday. The game is on FSSW