The naysayers and skeptics (with whom I often align myself, yes) can take a positive in sports and shoot enough holes through it to make anyone feel pretty bad about it after they're done. We did this to some extent on the podcast on Wednesday when discussing the Stars 2-0-0 start on the road to begin the season. We said they allowed too many shots on goal. We said the special teams needed to be better. The faceoffs looked good but when you dug into the numbers you saw some disturbing things in there. The team fell behind to the Devils. The team allowed the Islanders to make a 2 goal third period comeback. It was great to be 2-0, but it wasn't the best way to do it.
The Devils unraveling situation coupled with the enigma (forever and ever) that is the Islanders had some of the media wondering how the Stars would do against an opponent perceived by many to be a strong, strong team in Detroit. They have some injuries, yes, but don't let that fool you. These Stars might have something here.
These are the guys we waited for all last year: The ones that could string three good games together. Obviously it's early and these good feelings could disappear in a week, but what else do we have to do around here? They're 3-0. Let's enjoy it.
Brad Richards joked after the game about the three in a row "thing" and said (with a slight smile) that it must have been since before he was traded to the Stars since they've done it. To be fair, it was a calendar year after that, but still a pretty long time ago (spring of 2009).
Random thoughts from last night's game after the jump:
- The Stars didn't win with special teams or 'match up' games at home. They didn't sneak the Richards line out against the dregs of Detroit. They did their damage against Datsyuk, Homlstrom and Zetterberg. The trio was a combined -8 in the game. Add a -2 for Nick Lidstrom as well.
- The penalty kill allowed a goal, yes, but they were a much improved unit. We didn't think Adam Burish would be a penalty killer upon his arrival but coach said after the game that he liked the combination of Burish with Petersen on the PK. Petersen was a wrecking ball shorthanded, killing penalties up ice and occupying the time of several Wings at the same time.
- I did not notice Modano much. The Stars put him up on the scoreboard once, it didn't go on that long, and that was it. I know some fans thought the Stars should have done more but honestly, they did it last year. It's about winning hockey games now and it's about the Dallas Star crest on the jersey of our guys. Mike is not currently one of our guys. He will come back one day, but until then...let's move it on down the road and get some W's.
- The crowd was a very pro-Wings one. Even worse than usual. You may not have noticed it as much on TV because they seldom had anything to cheer about, but it was bad. It makes me wonder about attendance this year. The barn was only filled because of the Red Wing "fans".
- Kari Lehtonen was great. He didn't always have to be but he bailed them out of a spot of trouble several times that could have changed the momentum of the game greatly. He's doing his job back there. If he stays healthy I like their chances going forward.
- Stars won 48% of the faceoffs against the Wings which isn't bad considering they won only 38% of them last year against Detroit. Baby steps. Baby steps.
- If you're going to miss Jamie Benn, it's best if it's home games. The Benn at center experiment is meant (at least I think it is) to create a scoring threat throughout more of the lineup. This counts double on the road when the other team is doing the "matching up". Even if Benn's line doesn't score, it can possess the puck and continue the shift-to-shift momentum that is so important for the Stars this year. The absence of that can be more easily covered up at home, as it was last night. It would be nice to have him back on Monday though, because the Lightning are looking like they're for real.
- Go Rangers.