So many numbers to throw out at you all tonight as we look back on a great ending to a pretty solid road trip for the Dallas Stars. An ending that saw the Stars win 4-3 in overtime against the Los Angeles Kings.
The Stars gained 7 out of a possible 8 points on what we all thought was a crucial road swing against the four Pacific division opponents. Of course it wasn't all perfect (and I'll get into that buzz-kill in a moment) but as I mentioned in the previous recap, getting 6 out of 8 made for at least a decent trip that wasn't going to hurt the Stars standings wise so tonight as far as I'm concerned is nifty bonus points that I don't think many expected to see but are happy with irregardless.
The Stars now also have nine wins when trailing in a game after two periods which leads the lead. Thanks to @StarsPR as well for pointing out that in the previous two seasons the Stars had only managed nine wins total when in the same situation.
Cardiac kids indeed.
As for the game itself, it was pretty much your typical Dallas Stars affair. Very slow start to the game in the first period with the Stars almost looking disinterested in competing against the Kings and had it not been for the greatness of Kari Lehtonen it would have been much worse than a 1-0 after 20.
The second period was somewhat better especially when you consider that the Stars played the first six minutes of it or so shorthanded. The Stars PK put in some solid work and Mike Ribeiro scored on a beautiful three way passing play that got the game tied. Kings stuck back quickly though a minute later and we were right back to ending the second period the way the first had.
Then the third was mostly all Stars and after Trevor Daley tied the game at 2-2 only to see the Kings surge ahead again a minute later, Jamie Benn pretty much strapped the team to his back and scored a shorthanded breakaway goal. The extra frame didn't last long this time as Brenden Morrow slammed home the overtime winner past Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier.
It's the same mantra we've been using all season: it wasn't a perfect win and hell, it's not an ideal way to win in traditional hockey sense, but it is a win and they are all big at this point of the season so we'll take it and (for the most part) not even question how or why...
- Sadly now this is the part where I throw a bit of cold water on our happy happy thoughts: Yes the Stars get 7 out of 8 points on this trip, but their opposition in total picked up 4 out of 8 and lets be honest, it could have / should have been 5 of 8 had Benn not saved the day in Phoenix. Not great numbers mind you, but still there does need to be a sense of putting away teams in regulation time. I know this may seem like nitpicking, but it's details like this that need to be paid attention to in what is a very tight division race.
- Other Stars getting points tonight: Ribeiro had two assists to go with his goal. Alex Goligoski had two assists. Adam Burish and Jamie Langenbrunner had solo helpers. We only wish that they would allow players to earn assists for their own goals as well because Benn totally deserved an assist on his unassisted goal.
- Special teams wise was a mixed bag. The power play didn't look very good at any point going 0 for 3 with just three total shots. The penalty kill however was quite good - on top of the Benn goal obviously - and while a lot of that was due to Kari's amazing work, credit the Stars D for keeping the Kings scoring chances limited as much as possible.
- Other Stars who had a good night despite no points: Mark Fistric had five hits and three blocked shots and had his best game in months tonight. Loui Eriksson was also fairly good, although we'd like to see more shots from him than just one in a game. Still, he back-checked well and was good at both ends of the ice.
- I'd be remiss if I didn't touch on Steve Ott and the penalty he got for spearing - which in all reality should have been more of a double minor, but still he did at least make some contact and more often than not the refs are going to toss you for that kind of action. Ott plays a game on the edge and while most nights it helps the Stars, this was one night it hurt them badly on a night when they needed everyone they had on the bench to make a final good effort on the road. That all said, Ott shouldn't receive any punishment from the league (we would think.. who knows any more.. he may get six games because he is in fact Steve Ott - and should come back for the next Stars game more focused and ready to atone.
Defending Big D Three Stars
1 - Jamie Benn (DAL)
1 - Jamie Benn (DAL)
2 - Brenden Morrow (DAL)
3 - Justin Williams (LA)