The second glance at new Dallas Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan's system went nearly as well as the first in the Stars home preseason opener as the good guys beat a very young Avalanche team by a score of 5-2 Thursday night.
Led by a line of Jamie Benn, Steve Ott and Loui Eriksson, the Stars survived an early onslaught of shots from the young Avs and weathered a storm of power plays to preserve the victory. This group, unlike Tuesday's lineup, featured what luckily figures to be the bulk of Dallas' penalty killing forwards in Adam Burish, Vernon Fiddler, Steve Ott, Jamie Benn and Radek Dvorak. Loui Eriksson saw time on the penalty kill as well.
Colorado scored their only two goals with the man advantage but the Stars looked strong overall on the kill.
The offense came later when the Avalanche committed four third period minor penalties. Loui Eriksson scored on a pretty no look pass from Steve Ott into the slot to put the game at 4-2 and then Ott added the empty netter to put the game beyond reach with only a minute remaining.
Lines looked like this:
Observations after the jump...
- Colton Sceviour stole the show early for the Stars with the first two goals and that is good news for fans down in Cedar Park and could portend interesting things for the big club down the road as the list of forward call ups from the AHL club is hazy at best right now without knowing where Godard and Vincour will end up. Consider also that Aaron Gagnon is departed to the Jets organization.
- Kari Lehtonen was stellar throughout his time, stopping 16 of 17 shots including a breakaway and a few other quality chances that Glen Gulutzan's system is not supposed to surrender, ideally. Jack Campbell came in relief and made his Dallas debut to a crowd of...6,464 (uh oh...). He promptly fired the puck over the short glass and then gave up a five hole goal through a screen he'd probably rather have back. He settled down in a big way after that and was good when called upon down the stretch, shutting the Avs out in the third period and stopping 12 of 13 overall.
- Sheldon Souray was on the minds of Stars fans in a big entering this game and did not impact the game too much. He looked mobile, which some said might be a problem. It's not. He did get off a couple of shots from the point and he can still rip it. It wasn't effective tonight but it will be down the road. The Avs were looking for it, of course, and it opened up opportunities in other areas of the ice when the puck was moved expeditiously, so look out for that.
- I don't know what to make of Radek Dvorak just yet.
- In the battle (if there is one) between Eric Godard and Tomas Vincour, it goes to Vincour by a mile. As we said last year, he does everything but score. How long will that be enough? I can't say, but he is making a case for himself just like last year and it's hard to ignore regardless.
- The goal song was changed by the Stars gameday staff (there have been some changes in the personnel that control the game day presentation and I'm sure we'll be noticing more changes as time goes on). The song is "The Whip" by Locksley. Whatever that means. We can talk about this another time but many feel a change is needed and after hearing it five times tonight I think I can get on board with it. I can get on board with anything if I get to hear it five times.
- Credit the Avalanche, who played a pacey game while holding it together on the defensive end of things pretty well, just like Gulutzan says is his aim. Joe Sacco did a lot tonight with a lineup that was much more "junior" than the one Dallas rolled out and did quite well with it until things finally tipped the Stars way in the third.
- We'll have more on this tomorrow, but as with all things in the preseason, you can't read too much into it. It was nice to have hockey back at the AAC at any rate.