Last night’s win over the Arizona Coyotes is, in some ways, symbolic of the Dallas Stars’ season thus far. The Stars started slow, and didn’t look all too impressive through 40 minutes of play. But in the third, they turned on the jets, rattled off three goals, and looked fantastic.
Oh, and they did it all while being sick:
Michael Raffl was the only player ruled out of the game with a non-COVID-19-related illness, but head coach Rick Bowness said after the game that half of the team was feeling under the weather.
“For the number of guys that are in there coughing and hacking, they sucked it up big time in the third period,” Bowness said. “We went to work. We’ll take that win, for sure.”
Perhaps the illnesses just gave the opportunity for other players to step up and make an impact. The Stars’ scoring has mostly been fueled by the team’s top line, but a second line of Jamie Benn, Alexander Radulov, and Jacob Peterson ruled the highlight reals last night:
“We had talked about getting more balanced scoring, and hopefully it’s a good start for that line to give us more of that,” Bowness said... “Peterson and Radulov both hang out with the puck and try to make plays. They don’t throw it away, and they’re starting to read off each other really well.”
You can read more from Saad Yousuf here.
Could Ben Bishop be back? The Stars have loaned him to the AHL for conditioning:
Bish returns.— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) December 7, 2021
We have loaned goaltender Ben Bishop to the @TexasStars, on a conditioning assignment.
: https://t.co/tTtQipYImJ#TexasHockey pic.twitter.com/oAHNx6mlia
Not strictly Stars related, but Loui Eriksson got to play game No. 1000 against his old team:
Congratulations to Loui Eriksson on reaching the 1,000 GP milestone! pic.twitter.com/m1Q0EnBCtG— NHL (@NHL) December 7, 2021
Around the League
The Colorado Avalanche were the only other Central team to play last night, outgunning the Philadelphia Flyers 7-5:
Colorado Avalanche evade the trap and escape Philadelphia with a 7-5 win #GoAvsGo https://t.co/lC2CfUcOEo— Mile High Hockey (@MileHighHockey) December 7, 2021
That game, by the way, was the first for the Flyers with a new voice at the helm:
The Philadelphia Flyers have relieved head coach Alain Vigneault and assistant coach Michel Therrien of their duties. Mike Yeo will serve as the Flyers interim head coach. https://t.co/KPM9WLZg8J— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) December 6, 2021
Speaking of turnover, the Vancouver Canucks have a long road ahead of them after their recent changes:
Benning built a roster with holes. Green failed to get the best out of his team. It was time for change. Now, with a new coach and accountability as the Canucks' buzzword, what happens next will be shaped by the players on the ice. (@imacSportsnet)https://t.co/1o8J2Reqvi— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) December 7, 2021
Down Goes Brown tries to sort out the gluttony of top teams in his weekend rankings:
Weekend rankings: The Canucks blow it up, the Flyers spiral continues, and settling on a top five is completely impossible this week.https://t.co/yIwGQ0FMsd— Down Goes Brown (@DownGoesBrown) December 6, 2021
The Stars have steady goaltending once again, but how does it stack up to the rest of the league?
The Goalie Confidence Rankings are back, rating all 32 NHL teams based on the stability and success of their goaltending so far this season. Congrats, @NYRangers. Uh-oh, @SeattleKraken. https://t.co/egq0I8bDcW— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) December 7, 2021
Finally, Tuuka Rask is back with the Boston Bruins... as an emergency backup?
Tuukka Rask, the former long-time Bruins netminder, practiced with his former team as an emergency goaltender at practice this morning.— The Athletic NHL (@TheAthleticNHL) December 6, 2021
The 34-year-old netminder remains without a contract after his previous deal with the Bruins expired after last season.https://t.co/57ye4C4XB3