Jamie Benn and Kari Lehtonen might have been the the biggest storylines from the 60 minutes of hockey that were played Saturday at the American Airlines Center, but the move that might have had the most impact didn't get on the scoresheet until the game's final minutes.
Brenden Morrow, only a few games removed from re-entering the lineup after trying to rest a wonky back/neck/shoulder, started the game on the Stars fourth line alongside Tomas Vincour and Tom Wandell.
The lines were juggled so much during the game as the Stars tried to keep the Jarome Iginla line from spending their entire shifts in the offensive zone that it's hard to really give a name to the role Morrow played during the game. But the numbers speak for themselves.
Morrow played 10:14 with some power play time but no penalty killing and had two hits, one shot into an empty net and even took two faceoffs. And coach Glen Gulutzan said after the game the decreased role was something he'd discussed with Morrow about after the loss to the Vancouver Canucks.
"Brenden has to do a lot to get game ready. The right thing to do is probably scale a couple of his minutes back just because of what he has to put himself through to be game ready. I talked to our captain a couple days ago about it, and he agreed. That’s why he’s our captain, what a professional guy he is."
Mike Heika has his take on the move in this paywalled gamer.
After the jump, more on the Stars win over the Flames, the ridiculously tight playoff race continues and there's a time and a place to bust out the full opera performance, and last night wasn't one of them.
- The score might have made it look like a nice, easy afternoon at the American Airlines Center, but the Stars once again needed a big game from goalie Kari Lehtonen, and Tim Cowlishaw opines in this paywalled article that must continue to happen if the Stars want to finish in the top eight. [DallasNews.com]
- Lehtonen's big night left the Stars first in the Pacific again, even though they're hanging on by their fingernails. [ESPN Dallas]
- The fine folks over at Matchsticks and Gasoline noticed a little funny that I didn't as Jarome Iginla apparently mistook one of his teammates for Sheldon Souray during one of the many skirmishes. [Matchsticks and Gasoline]
- If there was a bright side for the Flames (hey, a pun!), it was that Michael Cammalleri looked solid after missing the last nine games. [Calgary Sun]
- We posted the video and some photos from the ceremony honoring the life and family of Karlis Skrastins yesterday, and Stephane Robidas also talked about it after the game. [NHL.com]
- Our friends over at Hundred Degree Hockey discuss the possibility that Reilly Smith could join the fold soon after his college team was eliminated from the NCAA Tournament. [Hundred Degree Hockey]
- As Josh is fond of saying, at least in a paraphrased sort of way, shots beget scoring chances, and scoring chances beget goals. So here's a look at the top shots per 60 minutes guys in the NHL. [Backhand Shelf]
- Meet the enemy: Hey look, these guys again! Except if it's possible, the Flames will be even more desperate Monday since they essentially have to run the table in their final games to make the playoffs. [Calgary Herald]
- Around the Pacific Division: The Boston Bruins did the Dallas Stars a big favor with a 4-2 regulation win over the Los Angeles Kings. Playoff races make strange bedfellows, eh? In less fun news, the Phoenix Coyotes once again forced their way into overtime before falling 4-3 to the San Jose Sharks in the shootout. All that means it's still way too close, but the Stars are back on top of the division for now. [Boston Globe/San Jose Mercury News]
- Other scoreboard watching: Chris Higgins became your favorite player and mine when his overtime goal helped the Vancouver Canucks to a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. [The Province]
- I don't remember if I've disclosed this here before, but I was a vocal performance minor in college, and I have the ability to, as my sister says, "de-pop" any song I sing because I've got a big ol' classical voice. But when I've performed anthems in the past, I've always lived by one rule of thumb - keep it quick, under 90 seconds, because no one's there simply to hear you. And while Measha Brueggergosman has done more than I have ever dreamed of in music (and is a "light" Wagnerian soprano for my fellow music nerds), she probably needs someone to give her that piece of advice because her anthems before the Ottawa Senators game were epic in all the wrong ways. [Puck Daddy]
- Adam Burish Cam is possibly the greatest invention in the history of inventions, especially when it involves Eric Nystrom channeling his inner Ralph Strangis. Sticktap to DFWTrojanTuba for ripping this from the Stars Insider from whence it came.