Philadelphia 6, Dallas 3
I almost did not want to discuss this game. It was that bad. I could have last night, but did not want to right away without watching some replays and cooling down a little. The Philadelphia Flyers completely destroyed Dallas in the 2nd period. The first period went okay, the Stars were down 1-0 after the 1st but it was a close game. Neal came out and got the Stars on the board right away in the 2nd to make it 1-1 and make everyone think Dallas might show up on the road tonight. That quickly changed, as the Flyers scored under 2 minutes later and then from the 7:53 mark til the 13:00 mark of the second Philadelphia put three more behind Marty Turco and they were scoring everywhere. On their powerplay, on Dallas’ powerplay, and even-strength. The Stars were skating around confused, out of place and un-able to regain any momentum back after making it 1-1. Turco got pulled when it was 5-1, and though he was being over-run and had almost no help from his team-mates, he was not on his game and looked just as horrid and lost as most of the Dallas Stars did in the 2nd. In the 3rd, it goes to 6-1, before Steve Ott puts in a pair to make it a 6-3 final.
Ott was one of the few Stars who looked like he tried to show up and play that game, because as soon as the Flyers started rolling off goals, it looked like most of the Stars began giving up on trying to regain any momentum or dignity. Ott played good, Eriksson looked good for the most part, but other then that most of the team looked very average or very bad. Something has to happen quick. Dallas may not be that far out of the final playoff spot, but if they continue to look like a minor league team about 8 out of every 10 road games, they won’t even get close to a playoff spot. It does not matter that you can win games at home against top teams if you cant even look decent against bottom-level teams on the road. Dallas is now 0-22 on the powerplay in their last 5 games and is even getting shots off. Dallas again takes a L despite outshooting their opponents, as they outshot the Flyers 30-28. Another telling stat is both teams had 7 giveaways and 6 takeaways and Dallas 33 out of 55 faceoffs. So the stats look okay, its the actual play out there that is hurting this team. Continuous trouble moving the puck, not controlling the puck thru the center of the ice and being out of position a lot. And that is a key thing when you are always seeing players out of place, or trailing the other teams player as he scores. And although I thought Marc Crawford need more time, now I am not sure. Either he does not have the right type of players he needs here to work his system in, or his system just won’t work with a majority of the players Dallas has and he should go. Morrow continues to not impress recently, and as the team captain needs to be more visible in the scoring and the flow of the game. Ribeiro is out for a while now. Blue-liners Daley and Niskanen are not fully adapting to the new system and are often on the ice when a puck is turned over or the other team gets prime scoring chances. Richards and Eriksson can only carry the offense so much, and someone besides those two and Ott and Robidas needs to step up for this team.
And I already discussed how I think Turco is done and I still think it. His best is behind him, and outside of a few good performances, most of those at home, he has not looked good at all this year. Alex Auld may not be the long-term answer, but right now he is as good as Turco and should get the start tomorrow at Montreal.
Tomorrow (Thur): Dallas (49 points) at Montreal (48 points) : FS-SW or RDS @6:30 CST
Dallas has the last of these three home games before coming home for two. Montreal is another team that has a lot of screaming fans right now. Both of these teams will make a move, either trade of firing, at some point this year probably if they do not start to turn things around. The Canadiens don’t have a great home record at 10-10-3, so if Dallas wants to pick up a road win this might be the game. Montreal is coming off a lose as well, to the New Jersey devils, but is 6-3-1 in their last 10 and may be turning things upwards though. This game could be big if Dallas takes another L and comes home with no points on this road-trip. Dallas is still in the hunt, but at this point may be out of it by Valentine’s Day if things don’t start to change quickly.
side note: Fabian Brunnstrom is recalled up from the Texas Stars today. Fabian looked promising last year, but this year on has one goal and 6 assists in the 23 games he has played and has also had problems adapting to the new system. But since he is being called up, we will probably see him tomorrow night, if not then Saturday against the Red Wings