With the San Jose Sharks trying desperately to get out of a slump, the Dallas Stars needed a top-notch effort from all their defensemen to pick up points in their ninth consecutive game.
The problem for the Stars was as the game went on, that roster of defensemen got shorter and shorter.
Sheldon Souray was the first to leave in the second period when he suffered the mysterious "lower-body injury," and he was followed shortly by Mark Fistric, who suffered a hand injury and had to go for x-rays.
That left the crew of Alex Goligoski, Philip Larsen, Trevor Daley and Stephane Robidas to play monster minutes in the third period. Those four finished with 30:09, 26:58, 25:30 and 25:23 in ice time, respectively.
And that type of grit was emblematic of why the Stars were able to pick up a 4-3 shootout victory on Thursday. It didn't have as much do to with skill, though the sparkling stops from Kari Lehtonen were certainly part of it, but it was more about gutting it out in the key moments, something coach Glen Gulutzan addressed after the game.
"I thought we played real gutsy. We played hard. It’s not easy coming back off a road swing and getting that type of performance, but Kari Lehtonen certainly gave us an opportunity to stay in this game long enough to get two points."
After the jump, more on the Stars win over the Sharks, Razor breaks down the winning streak and a pretty successful night of scoreboard watching.
- There's still plenty of time for everything to fall apart (please don't let everything fall apart), but Mike Heika says in this paywalled gamer that the game makes a statement the Stars are in real contention for the division title. And who would have thought that 12 games ago? [DallasNews.com]
- While the extra shorthanded defense did as well as it could under trying circumstances, goalie Kari Lehtonen and young forward Tomas Vincour came up huge in critical situations. [ESPN Dallas]
- Our friends over at Fear the Fin saw this as more of the same for the slumping Sharks, who fill up all sorts of statistical categories but can't seem to finish ahead in the most important one. [Fear the Fin]
- The Sharks players and staff were happy with the steps forward they took during the game but are equally concerned by giving up the game-tying goal in such a critical situation. [San Jose Mercury News]
- Written before Thursday's win but still awesome as always is Razor's breakdown of the then-eight-game points streak. I do wish it had included video of the bow and salute that started it all, but a girl can't have everything. [Razor with an Edge]
- A blog shoutout and a t-shirt screenshot will definitely get you a mention on the links, even if the story seems to have jinxed poor Sheldon Souray. [WFAA.com]
- This might be the longest interview I've seen with Philip Larsen anywhere. It doesn't have a whole lot of surprising information, but it's nice to get a better sense of the young Dane. [IIHF]
- Mac Engel's solution to the power play problems is to put Jamie Benn on the top unit. But he never really answers the question posed by Glen Gulutzan in the opening paragraph, at least in any depth, and it is a key one. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]
- Don't get me wrong, I love the fact that Benn is starting to attract more attention around the league. But calling this a breakout season just tells me people haven't been paying attention to the first two. [Hockey's Future]
- Benn may have dominated the BCHL in his day, but that's nothing compared to the way the Penticton Vees are rolling everybody this year. Seriously, 53-3-0-2? [Backhand Shelf]
- The genius public relations move of night goes to the Columbus Blue Jackets, who both appeased a cranky fan base and gave a stiff middle finger to Jeff Carter by telling fans they could bring their Carter jerseys to the fan shop in the first intermission to have them changed into Jack Johnson jerseys. [Puck Daddy]
- Meet the enemy: The Anaheim Ducks are probably well and truly out of the playoff hunt now after a 3-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues. [Los Angeles Times]
- Around the Pacific Division: The Columbus Blue Jackets have become the Stars new best friends recently and continued their streak of delightful results with a 3-1 win over the Kings. The game winner was scored by Johnson. And the Phoenix Coyotes scored two goals in three minutes to give themselves a chance against the Minnesota Wild, but they couldn't win the skills competition in a 3-2 shootout loss. [ESPN Los Angeles/Arizona Republic]
- Other scoreboard watching: Matt Duchene will be out 3-4 weeks with an ankle injury, and the Colorado Avalanche fell 4-2 without him to the Nashville Predators. [The Tennessean]
- For all your six shades of sexy needs, it's the Thursday Morning Cupcheck. [Thursday Morning Cupcheck]
- This post-game interview is Josh Lile approved. Also, I think I know the next member of the "can grow a 5 o'clock shadown in three hours flat" club. Previous members included Bill Guerin and Sergei Zubov.