When Jamie Benn went down with a skate stab wound to his leg, a collective gasp went up from Dallas Stars fans.
The team had struggled to a slightly absurd degree when he went on the shelf because of an appendectomy. Would this injury be the final nail in the coffin of this season?
Enter Mike Ribeiro, Loui Eriksson and Michael Ryder.
Since Benn's injury, the Stars only real Top 6 line has gone on a tear. All three had goals in the Stars 3-2 overtime win over the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday, and all three have been absolute thorns in the sides of opponents. And their offense has been critical as the the team has clawed its way right back into the race for the playoffs.
Since Benn's injury, Ribeiro has eight points (2G, 6A), Eriksson has seven points (3G, 4A), Ryder has six points (4G, 2A) and the Stars are 4-1-1 without the player who leads them in points per game and represented them at the NHL All-Star Game.
"We've all played together before, and it's just come together for us," Ryder said. "We're just trying to get in a rhythm and make smart, simple plays, and it's paying off for us."
After the jump, more on the Stars win over the Canucks, Vernon Fiddler makes the Canucks bench giggle and how Steve Ott celebrates a Stars win.
- Yeah yeah yeah, the teams in front of the Stars in the division have games in hand. But if you would have told me a month ago they would be within three points of the division lead by the trade deadline, I would have had you committed. [ESPN Dallas]
- Mike Heika ponders if the Stars four-game winning streak means there will be little player movement on their end today. [DallasNews.com]
- Our friends over at Nucks Misconduct are a little conflicted on how they feel about Mike Ribeiro, but they have a fun and insightful take on the game. Plus the song linked at the top makes every Monday better! [Nucks Misconduct]
- The word from the Canucks media is that Vancouver simply ran out of gas because they were at the back end of a six-games-in-nine-days stretch with a lot of travel. Funny thing is, the Stars were also on the back end of a six-games-in-nine-days stretch with a good amount of travel as well, and they didn't seem to be bothered by it. [The Province]
- Remember when Steve Ott and his agitating one of the Ducks through the glass got Ralph and Razor giggling so hard they couldn't stop (which I looked for but has apparently been taken off of YouTube to my immense disappointment)? Well Canucks coach Alain Vigneault had one of those moments Sunday when Vernon Fiddler busted out his angry Kevin Bieksa impression. For Fiddler's face, see our post-game thread comments. [Puck Daddy]
- The New York Rangers are apparently not willing to meet the Columbus Blue Jackets demands to acquire Rick Nash. [ESPN]
- The Ottawa Senators picked up minor-league goalie (and former Texas Tornado player) Ben Bishop from the St. Louis Blues for a second-round pick. He also signed an extension with the Senators. [TSN]
- Meet the enemy: Evgeni Malkin just keeps scoring and scoring and... well, you get the picture. And he kept rolling Sunday in a 4-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. [NHL.com]
- Around the Pacific Division: The Anaheim Ducks just keep winning, but they can't seem to move out of 13th because of the huge logjam in front of them. Their 3-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks helped the Stars too, putting Dallas within three of the Hawks with a game in hand. And the Sharks stayed only one point in front of Dallas, albeit with two games in hand, with a 4-3 loss to the Minnesota Wild. [Los Angeles Times/San Jose Mercury News]
- Big, tough hockey player Steve Ott celebrated his team's victory over the Canucks in a unique way. [Twitter/Twitter]
- Mike Ribeiro covers up his new haircut, talks about the kind of incredible play-reading ability he and Alex Goligoski had on the game-tying goal and takes a shot at all those who were trying to blame travel fatigue on the Canucks side in this post-game interview.