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Dallas Stars topple Avalanche in shootout, 3-2

First of all, let me just say what an insane shootout goal that was by Mike Ribeiro to get the win.

For a game that was tentative and frankly boring for 40 minutes turned into a very entertaining finish in the third period and overtime. It seemed as the game came closer to the end the players on each side all of a sudden became determined to actually be the one who gets the two points.

The Avalanche were up 1-0 heading into the third after scoring on their third power play of the game. The Stars had gotten some chances, but really didn't start to pour on the pressure until the third, when most of the action took place around Avs goaltender Petr Budaj. The Stars outshot Colorado 13-5 in the final frame and and briefly took a 2-1 lead late in the game after Fabian Brunnstrom and Steve Begin both scored. Yet the Avs got it right back less than a minute later with a crazy shot from the low corner went off Matt Climie's stick and in.

After a very entertaining overtime period, both teams traded goals in the shutout before Matt Climie poke checked the third skater. Mike Ribeiro scored on an insane between-the-legs-backhand shot to win the game.

Some thoughts on the game:

  • Dave Tippett decided to rest his veterans for most of the game and gave his young players plenty of minutes to prove what they can do with more ice time. Mark Fistric and Matt Niskanen led the team in TOI, with Mike Modano, Brendan Morrison, Mark Parrish and Brian Sutherby all getting less than ten minutes of ice time.
  • Ivan Vishnevskiy, the Dallas Stars first round draft pick in 2006, really shined tonight in just his second NHL game. He showcased his above average vision and ability to make plays from the blue line, and added a whole new dimension to the Stars' power play. More on Vishnevskiy tomorrow.
  • Matt Climie, once again, showed the extreme ups and extreme downs of his game. He made several insane reflexive saves and it seems that he will make it tough for any player to beat him straight on. Yet he also struggled with his rebounds and made a few boneheaded puck handling mistakes. The tying goal in the final minutes was inexcusable to allow. But once again, he made the saves when needed (especially in the second period) and his poke check in the shootout was the smartest thing he's done so far in the NHL. He finished stopping 27 of 29 shots for the game. He'll be headed back to Idaho after tonight.
  • Mike Ribeiro stated after the game he wouldn't have attempted that shot  in the shootout if the Stars could have lost if he missed. If you're gonna try it, you better make it.
  • Also good to see this team embracing it's young players and realizing the chance this team has to do some great evaluations of players that normally wouldn't receive a lot, if any, ice time. Also great to see how much the team is still enjoying playing at the end of such a disappointing season.

Derek B was at the game tonight and will have his recap up early in the morning.

The Stars finish the season Friday night in what will be a big game for Anaheim in the playoff race.