If you could completely remove the second period of last night's game against the Vancouver Canucks, the remaining 40 minutes would seem evenly matched. Plenty of up and down hockey, with both teams getting sustained time in the attacking zone.
Unfortunately, every game they play is at least 60 minutes long, and we can't pick and choose which parts to ignore.
However, the Stars were facing an extremely desperate team in the Vancouver Canucks. Having only scored three goals over the last three games, fans could tell they wanted to make tonight a statement game, and score as many as they could. Thanks to Kari Lehtonen, "as many as they could" equaled only one.
There is no doubt who the number one star of the game was. Kari stood on his head throughout, keeping the team in it. It wasn't entirely him though, as the Stars managed to not completely panic and give up a game tying goal in the frantic final minutes.
Think about it. If the team were playing this same game last year, or the last few seasons before it, would they have won this one? I doubt it. They would have surrendered the game tying goal, and maybe even the game winning goal before regulation ended.
So what's the difference?
"We're building confidence as a group," said captain Jamie Benn, who had six points in Calgary and the second assist on Nichushkin's goal against the Canucks on Sunday. "Starting from our last road trip going into some tough buildings in Boston and Detroit, and just continuing on this trip, we're finding ways to win.
"Some are prettier than others, but we're getting the job done."
Lehtonen, who now has a .934 save percentage, has been a big part of it. He credited a breakaway save on Henrik Sedin in the opening minute for setting the tone against the Canucks. [Stars]
Kari and confidence can take you a long way in the NHL.
- Mike Heika has his recap of the game, confirming that it was indeed Kari who helped the Stars get the win. [Dallas News]
- Kari gets an honerable mention in the three stars from last night's games across the NHL. [Puck Daddy]
- The Avs are finally starting to struggle, and I can't say I'm bothered by it. [Puck Daddy]
- Some trades are already being made, as the Ducks look to shake things up. [ESPN]
- Ovechkin netted a couple of goals, giving him 17 so far on the season. Yikes. [Sports Illustrated]
- Bryzgalov has been recalled, and could play as soon as Tuesday for the Oilers. [NHL]
- As always, here's the weekly NHL Grab Bag. The three stars of comedy are a great way to start the morning, too. [Grantland]
- In case you missed last night's game, you can check out the Stars Rewind below. It's your video of the day, and we will get back to in-arena videos next week.