The Dallas Stars, according to the score-sheet, were winners on Friday night. 2-0 over the Florida Panthers.
I was going to write about how the Stars are now winning, though they're finally getting out-played. About how they were losing when they were dominating teams. Something about the numbers evening out.
Or about Kari Lehtonen, who after seeing his GM trade for a goaltender whose purpose is to push him, responded with a shutout and a pretty sensational game. About how it was the first time in 17 games they allowed one goal or fewer.
Or about how they join the Kings at 60 points, and sit just three behind 8th place Calgary.
But now, there is only Tyler Seguin to consider, it would seem. Can he play this month? Can he play this season? These are the things Stars fans contemplate as they drive home, and we await word from the team after a most disastrous third period possibly derailed 2014-2015.
Dmitry Kulikov is the name you need to know.
It is a win, though. The Stars tried to play a pretty simple game- And though they were out-shot, many of those were from distance or from outside. They held the weary Panthers in check after the opening frame.
Dallas started slow in the first period, then made it worse with a double minor for high-sticking.
We should have known they had them right where they wanted them.
Jamie Benn scored on a two-on-one started with the speed and tenacity of Vern Fiddler, not to mention a gorgeous feed that gave the Stars a 1-0 lead. That's their ninth shorthanded goal on the season- The lead the league in the category after three in their last two games.
The Stars couldn't get a cycle game going or generate chances with any kind of regularity, but another individual effort made a difference on the scoreboard when Jason Spezza abused a certain rookie defenseman, then spun and fired to beat Montoya five-hole, giving Dallas a 2-0 lead.
In the second period the most exciting thing that happened for quite a while was this:
The Stars had just nine shots on goal over halfway through the hockey game and ended the period with a total of 14 to Florida's 20. A power play went nowhere in a hurry, recording zero shots, and a two minute span of 4-on-4 featuring three Panther shots was survived as the Stars continue to struggle with that aspect of their game.
The third period featured another failed Dallas power play, a tired Florida Panther team, more mixing of lines as the Stars dealt with just 11 forward, and more neutral zone hockey that was generally displeasing.
And, of course, the aforementioned hit on Tyler Seguin, which makes the actual game about moot thanks to Kulikov's questionable decision making.
A 5:00 minute major looked like it was going to take the game home- Then John Klingberg nailed Patrick Eaves in the head with a shot, prompting silence in the building, the broadcast, and a slew of doctors out working on him within what seemed like seconds of Tyler Seguin going down, and the AAC was in shock.
Hemsky gone, Seguin gone, Eaves gone.
You want to see how this team responds to some adversity? We'll see how fast the Texas Stars can get some folks from Iowa to Denver tomorrow, and it goes from there.
Notes I wrote before the injuries in the third period...
- Victor E Green was dressed up like, err, Cupid or something. It was pretty creepy- But I thought it was funny, and making people smile is its job. Carry on.
- Vern Fiddler is doing what Vern Fiddler generally does as this time of year- Play inspired hockey. He was great again tonight on the penalty kill. He was sand paper. He was generating offense. He was putting dudes in the bench. He's what Ruff needs when Roussel and Hemsky are lost and lines need to be shuffled.
- Tyler Seguin's battle with illness all week and lack of practice appeared to take a toll, as he just doesn't look up to speed. They'll need him as the schedule turns back to the Western Conference. (That was my thought before the injury. Now...)
- How would Stars fans reflect on Jussi Jokinen if the shootout had never come to be? Just wondering.
- What a response by Kari Lehtonen tonight to a pretty crazy week in his world. Confident Kari was in attendance and the goose egg on the scoreboard is great to see.