Sean Shapiro goes behind the scenes at an up-and-down day for the Stars in Music City, during which a lethargic morning practice left head coach Jim Montgomery scolding them audibly:
“We are tied for the last playoff spot,” Montgomery told his team in a voice loud enough to hear from the stands. “We are fucking inconsistent. I’m embarrassed, we should be embarrassed.”
Montgomery than began discussing that morning’s performance, calling it “fucking embarrassing” and saying that the team needed “get it together” before the game in Nashville that evening.
At one point Montgomery told the group, “You want ice time? We are ready to give it. You’ve got to earn it.”
Anton Khudobin’s record-setting performance came at a perfect moment, but it also makes it difficult to conclude that the Stars really shook off their doldrums, Shapiro writes:
While there are some positives to take from this game, and that is certainly the feeling around those close to the team, it’s hard to call a game where the Stars allowed 49 shots a good performance.
Allowing 49 shots is problematic. And if this is considered a good performance, then the Stars [simply] are not a very good team.
It’s not fun being pessimistic after a win, and as Khudobin said, “A win is a win,” but tonight’s overall game flow was an example of why the Predators are one of the better teams in the NHL and the Stars are battling to remain in the playoff conversation.
The Stars are 6-1-1 against the Western Conference’s four best teams. So which Stars will show up on Sunday against the struggling Detroit Red Wings?
There’s more under the paywall. [The Athletic DFW]
Speaking of First Star of the Game Dobby and his franchise-defining night...
Mark Stepneski sums up last night in his latest Five Things post.
5 things to know: Khudobin shines as Stars blank Predatorshttps://t.co/3R4ppe3rEb— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) December 28, 2018
Tyler Pitlick, who scored the opening and game-winning goal, spoke to the media after the game:
We only got to see one of Mattias Janmark’s many patented hockey faces after his insurance tally, but it’s a good one:
Around The League(s)
- Jay Bouwmeester broke his personal scoring drought and Ryan O’Reilly scored on his former team as the St. Louis Blues beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-1. [St. Louis Game Time]
- Unfortunately, Patrik Laine broke his with an own-goal credited to Johnny Gaudreau as the Winnipeg Jets got torched by the Calgary Flames, 4-1. [Arctic Ice Hockey]
- It was a big night for netminders: Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves as a depleted Colorado Avalanche roster dropped a squeaker to the Vegas Golden Knights, 2-1. [Mile High Hockey]
- And in more Central-on-Central violence, backup minder Collin Delia made 46 saves as the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Minnesota Wild, 5-2. [Second City Hockey]
Mackenzie Blackwood's 40 saves are the most by a Devils goalie in their 1st NHL win. The previous high for the franchise in that situation was 38 by Chris Terreri on Oct. 5, 1989 at the Flyers. (via @ESPNStatsInfo)— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) December 28, 2018
In 2019 World Juniors action, Team Canada held off a tough fight from Switzerland.
Glass, Entwistle and Dobson score and Ian Scott picks up the win as Canada holds off Switzerland 3-2 at the #WorldJuniors. Canada improves to 2-0 and faces the Czech Republic next on Saturday night. #WJC https://t.co/tSZtJBs24z pic.twitter.com/gmLI8PsIcS— SportsCentre (@SportsCentre) December 28, 2018
USA vs. Kazakhstan is a big part of today’s live action.
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
Ben Gleason had a pair of goals including one from center ice tonight to help the Stars to their 5th straight win at home. https://t.co/vpd24XQFHD— Texas Stars (@TexasStars) December 28, 2018
Here’s a nice World Juniors flashback starring a very young Jamie Benn.