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Stars Enter Olympic Break a Point Out of 8th Thanks to 3-0-1 Finish and 3-0 Win Over Yotes

Pending the result of tonight's Calgary-Anaheim game.

And to reiterate a point from tonight's game thread, if you had told me three weeks ago that this is where the Stars would be as the club went their separate ways while Loui, Jere, Karlis, and Brenden go play in the Olympics for their respective countries, I would have gladly taken it.

Especially if you had told me they'd cruise into the break with a two game winning streak on the road. And if the Stars are able to ride this wave of momentum into the playoffs and do anything in the tournament for Lord Stanley's Chalice, well, credit Joe Nieuwendyk for pulling the trigger on the Kari Lehtonen trade.

But not for the reason you might think.

Follow the jump for that reason, as well as a few other points in this game. I hear another team hates James Neal.

Marty Turco wasn't told about the Stars' acquisition of Lehtonen until after the Chicago game Tuesday night. Since Nieuwendyk broke the news, Turco's been a different goaltender from what we've seen for much of this season. The only goal that's eluded him came off the stick of his own teammate in Calgary.

Now he did have a bit of luck in keeping tonight's shutout in tact. Midway through the third, Turco wandered out of his net like he normally does and got caught during a moment of indecision and let a soft pass go that was easily intercepted by Radim Vrbata.

Unfortunately for the Coyotes, Vrbata had all the aim of Nick Folk (hat tip to Pat from the Game Thread) and fired it wide of a yawning net. And that was the last real scoring threat that Phoenix was able to muster against Turco.

Offensively, it was the Brandon Segal Show.


Brandon Segal.

You know, that guy they picked up off waivers from the Kings. He's only one game into his Stars career. But this move reminds me of the decision to trade for Brian Sutherby last year. That move was strictly a depth move as the Stars were in throes of an injury riddled early part to the season.

This move, however, was clearly made because there's something about Segal's game that Joe Nieuwendyk liked. I don't know if he accounted for the offense that Segal showcased tonight with a beautiful deflection off the shot of Trevor Daley and a pretty pass over to Toby Petersen for "the ender" as Razor put it.

I'm sure he was either paying homage to former Cowboys coach Chan Gailey, or to one of my all time favorite Ticket shows that was hosted by Doogie Anderson and Mark Followill a decade ago. Or perhaps both. I don't know. But it was appropro.

And it killed just about any energy the Phoenix Coyotes got from the first period after they watched Petr Prucha get stretchered off after James Neal hit him along the boards...with a perfectly legal hit.

Now I don't know how many Coyotes fans are going to find their way over here to vent about the hit. But for any that do, I've got some questions for you.

First, was a hit from behind? Did Neal leave his feet? And did his elbow come up? Was the glass to blame?

If you answered 'Yes' to any of the first three questions, you're being intellectually dishonest with yourself.

And if you answer 'No' to the fourth, well there's no point in arguing with you.

Seriously, when is your team going to insist on getting rid of the seamless glass? If that hit had taken place a week earlier in Dallas, Prucha probably gets up and skates back to the bench.

FWIW, I hope Prucha's OK. And I never like to see players have to get taken off the ice on a stretcher. Nobody does.

Defending Big D Three Stars

3. Jamie Benn - Again, could have made a case for giving him the third star for his go-ahead goal in the early part of the third period. Consider this a make up call if you're reading this, Jamie.

But I was very tempted to give Barch the third star simply for giving that bitch Paul Bissonnette something to really shush about.

2. Brandon Segal - We like Brandon's around here. And I think we like this one, too. Goal? Assist? If only he had worked in a scrap for the Gordie Howe Hat Trick.

1. Marty Turco - Ever since the Lehtonen trade, it's been Marty circa 2003. I'm hoping it continues after the break.

With Marty still in a Stars jersey.