That's what you call a "four-point game".
After pushing the Vancouver Canucks to a third straight loss the Dallas Stars pushed the Calgary Flames to a seventh, starting their Western-Canadian road swing off with a pair of wins now, three in-a-row overall when paired with their victory over the New Jersey Devils.
A loss would have seen them nine points behind Calgary. The win has them just five points back, still seven behind 8th place Los Angeles. Three in a row in the West gets you about "treading water," and so there is much work to do.
Tonight, as in Vancouver, the work was done by Kari Lehtonen. And by Kari Lehtonen. And by Kari Lehtonen.
A bevy of long range shots make the possession numbers look favorable, but there can be no doubt that Calgary was the better looking team tonight, recording more scoring chances at a much higher average quality - and Kari was there each and every time.
The only one that eluded him was not a scoring chance at all, a deflected prayer flung from about the distance of an average MLB home run. Those things happen.
Jamie Benn got a bit of a gift when a puck found him in tight for the first one, and Hiller had no chance. His assist on the second was to the benefit of one Mr. Trevor Daley, who took a chance in a very tight window short side and was rewarded.
2 goals on 12 shots, and they'd rest on that shot total (or thereabouts) for a pretty long time afterward, which has been their issue. See New Jersey taking it from 36-20 to 36-30 in the third last Saturday night. Out-lasting the enemy has worked for them in the last week, but it may not be a long-term key to success.
Trevor Daley is now 7th among defensemen in scoring, by the way.
The 21 shots were their third-fewest of the season, and the fewest since November 1st against the Minnesota Wild. The Flames blocked 24 in front of Hiller.
The end-result, though more related to goaltending that team defending, is that they've allowed 10 goals in their last five games while collecting eight points.
That's pretty good, no matter you analyze it.
Their reward? Edmonton up next. Let's see if they can beat the teams they're not supposed to, AND come up with two points when they're the favorite.
A tired Montreal team. A struggling New Jersey squad. Reeling teams in Vancouver and Calgary - the Dallas Stars have not exactly built this streak on quality wins, but it's a perfect run for them. An exercise in confidence building. They win against the Oilers and they'll really have something cooking, ready to face better competition.
Kari Lehtonen is setting the example in getting his game in order. It's up to everyone else to follow-suit and up theirs. See you Sunday.