Games between the Dallas Stars and the San Jose Sharks are always entertaining in the Shark Tank. The Stars have had some good success playing in San Jose. Unfortunately, tonight was not one of those nights.
The return of Alex Goligoski, Trevor Daley and Brenden Morrow to the lineup had been looked forward to by Stars fans in this four game stretch between games leading up to tonight. The idea was that the Stars would get an added boost in energy from the rest and guys coming off injury, and the offense for the Stars would see a boost with the return of the powerplay point man. Well, I guess getting one right isn't too bad.
The powerplay was able to convert on an opportunity for a goal tonight. Goligoski really started that one by keeping it in at the blueline. Then after some good cycling by the team, Morrow throws the puck at the front of the net and Ribeiro is the lucky recipient of a "right place right time" goal. Not the prettiest, but when you can't seem to score otherwise, maybe more "not pretty" is what is needed right now.
More thoughts from the game after the jump.
Flat starts will give you fits every time. The Stars, coming off four days off at home, seemed to be a little bit sluggish at the beginning of the game, and it appeared to put the game away right from the beginning. The Sharks took advantage and struck quickly, scoring two goals within 15 seconds of one another. As the first period went on, the Stars started getting their legs under them and seemed to outplay the Sharks for the second half of the frame. They cut the lead in half and went to the locker room down by only one goal. They came out strong at the start of the second, and tied it up with a nifty little Brenden Morrow goal. And then they went flat again, and that proved to be the nail in the proverbial coffin in this game, with the Sharks scoring three unanswered goals to put the game out of reach.
Oh Captain, My Captain! Brenden Morrow wasted no time getting back into the groove. He came out fairly strong after he got his legs, and was instrumental in getting the Stars back to even against the Sharks. Mike Ribeiro and Morrow showed glimpses of their old chemistry at times in the game. Amazing what a healthy Morrow can do for a line. He even managed to get an injury to his nose when he took a high stick from Marc-Edouard Vlasic in the second. The last time he got an injury to his nose, he went on an absolute tear. Will history repeat itself? This long road trip would be a nice time to see a repeat performance.
Youth movement: One positive to tonight's game was all of the youth that was on display for Stars fans (those of us that stayed up long enough to see it all.) Both Philip Larsen and Tomas Vincour have been up with the team for a while, and it's nice to see Larsen's crisp passes through the neutral zone. Vincour, relegated to a fourth line role with the return of Morrow, still managed to get a few good looks on net. The big story, though, is Richard Bachman coming in on clean-up duty for the entire third period. He faced 11 shots and made 11 saves, with several big scrambles in front of his own net. Bachman is a very technically sound goalie, relying on his positioning and cutting off angles to make saves since he's smaller than many NHL goalies are tending to be these days. He doesn't generally have the big highlight reel saves, he's just simply...there. He reminds me very much of the way Kari Lehtonen tends to play his game, and he had a relatively solid period of play in the third. He made a good case for himself to get a start sooner rather than later.
I'll take a shot on goal for 300, Alex. The overall shots on goal total of 20 does not seem too alarming, but when you break that down by period you'll notice that the Stars managed only 5 total shots on goal in both the second and third periods. It's probably no coincidence, then, that the Stars managed to score only 2 goals on the night. It's kind of hard to score goals when you're not putting pucks on net. The Stars were able to convert a shot thrown at the net into a goal tonight, so that should be proof of concept and hopefully we'll see the Stars get their shots on goal back up.
Defending Big D Three Stars
1 - Antti Niemi (SJS)
2 - Ryane Clowe (SJS)
3 - Brenden Morrow (DAL)
01:07 SJS Logan Couture (11) Wrist Shot - Assists: R. Clowe (12)
01:22 SJS Jamie McGinn (5) Wrist Shot - Assists: M. Handzus (6) & J. Braun (2)
13:37 DAL Mike Ribeiro (3) Assists: B. Morrow (7) & S. Ott (7)
06:30 DAL PPG - Brenden Morrow (4) Wrist Shot - Assists: M. Ribeiro (16) & S. Robidas (8)
11:53 SJS Ryane Clowe (6) Wrist Shot - Assists: J. Thornton (17) & M. Havlat (11)
13:48 SJS Brad Winchester (3) Tip-In - Assists: J. Thornton (18) & B. Burns (5)
17:57 SJS Torrey Mitchell (3) Snap Shot - Assists: J. McGinn (3)