The Dallas Stars scored six goals. You already heard about that? On New Years Eve? No, they did it again. They did more, as a matter of fact, throttling the Minnesota Wild 7-1 to the delight of the American Airlines Center to start their 2015 off in style.
One point behind Minnesota, the Stars took advantage of a golden opportunity after the Wild traveled last night, arriving late after mechanical trouble with their plane. A 12-5 shot advantage in the first period and a 1-0 lead had the building feeling confident. Little did anyone know what was coming.
At 5:03 elapsed in the middle frame Colton Sceviour would fire an absolute rocket from the right circle to make it 2-0. Vern Fiddler followed with his second of the night when Brett Ritchie's slick behind the back pass found him wide open in the slot. Tyler Seguin, from John Klingberg made it 4-0.
At the time they scored the fourth goal the shots were 21-7 in favor of Dallas, and their Corsi percentage was somewhere in the neighborhood of 80% at even strength.
Then they scored a fifth just for fun- Shorthanded as Jamie Benn spied Erik Cole from the corner in front of a wide-open net for an easy tap-in. Four goals in the span of six minutes.
Frustration peaking for Minnesota, Trevor Daley was upended a bit too violently after a whistle and a fracas ensues- One which would be almost pointless to attempt to describe. We'll post it if it becomes available.
In the end, Jason Demers and Stu Bickel would be excused for the remainder - a D for D trade. Demers appeared to strike one of the Wild involved while Trevor Daley was engaged, so that could merit further discussion. (update, initially the game sheet said game misconduct- He would return to the game after they changed it.)
Vern Fiddler and Ryan Carter would also be given five minutes each for fighting, and an additional 10 minutes for Carter on the "aggressor" penalty - and the Stars would receive out of all that an entire two minutes of 5-on-3.
...On which they did not score - difficult to complain, of course, when the score is 5-0, and they had three golden chances on it. What they did not handle well was two men exiting the box simultaneously, and John Klingberg had to take a holding penalty in retreat. The Wild scored on the ensuing power play to cut it to 5-1.
Antoine Roussel would restore the five-goal lead off a Ryan Garbutt rebound to stem the tide after the Wild finally started pushing.
The rhythm of the game seemed to be thrown off entirely after the lengthy delay following the scrum that would leave three players in each box. That, plus score effects made for an awkward dismount in a wheels-off second period.
The third period was largely as boring as you knew it had to be after the fireworks of the second, but they continued to push where appropriate rather than capitulating, which was good to see. Brett Ritchie's taco goal in the waning moments was just icing on the cake. What hands - and three points already in two games.
The Stars move back in front of the Wild, and at 41 points trail the Sharks by only four - but San Jose gets St. Louis on the second night of a back-to-back as I type. So the beat goes on as point are amassed in the Western Conference at their usual alarming rate.
- The sellout crowd was Dallas' fourth consecutive of the season and seventh overall. Save the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, they've given the people what they want to see of late.
- Stu Bickel amassed 39 penalty minutes. The combined total for both teams was 92.
- I've not seen the final numbers but John Klingberg and Brett Ritchie were leading the way in Corsi through the substantive part of the game before score-effects saw the Wild push back a bit.
- Jamie Benn blocked a shot in the second period with his leg, went to the bench, sat down for a second, then went to the locker room. He would return looking none the worse for wear, but that's going to hurt tomorrow.
- Could Schlemko make his Stars debut in Chicago if Demers receives any disciplinary action? Or would lack of practice time be too prohibitive? Demers' "game misconduct"
- What aren't Vern Fiddler and Erik Cole doing for this team right now?
- Seven goals and no points for Spezza and Hemsky - though the two nearly connected on a beautiful play midway through the third.
- Three secondary assists for Jamie Oleksiak
- The real beauty here is the Stars' transition game, which resembles nothing of itself from November when the team was really struggling. They turn it over, they get it out, and they use their north-south game. That's where they excel and make teams pay on the run.
A big two points, as the Blackhawks and another trip to United Center loom just 21 hours from now. We'll see just how hot this team is as they look for a third division win.