Stars 4, Edmonton 3 and one last minute miracle
It is over. The Dallas Stars finally snapped their 10 game road-losing streak with a 4-3 win at the Edmonton Oilers friday night. Now Dallas is in Denver getting ready to play the Colorado Avalanche to finish out their 3 game road-trip this week. After tonight Dallas comes back into town for 4 in a row at the AAC where the Stars have been hot and consistent for just as long as they have been bad on the road. The key now will be if they can bring the momentum from winning Friday (and 3 out of 4) and pick up a win (or at least 1 point) in Colorado tonight. It could be huge for Dallas in getting back into the middle of the playoff hunt before the Olympic break in the second week of February. If Dallas is back into a playoff seed after the Olympics when they come back to play about 20 games in 6 weeks, then this team could get healthy and possibly be in the position to make an interesting move at the trade deadline and be an interesting low seed in the playoffs. So about Friday’s win:
Friday was finally a case of a lucky bounce going the Stars way. After controlling a lot of the game and being up 2-0 and 3-1, Dallas gave up 2 last minute goals to end the 2nd and 3rd periods. It is getting extremely repetitive and annoying to watch this team give up goals within the last 1 or 2 mins of periods. It goes to show they can’t finish strong and need to figure something out. Sam Gagner gets his second of the game with the puck rebounding of Modano’s skate with 1:02 left in the game. My thoughts: crap, another overtime game that probably goes to a shootout and the Stars might not get 2 points out of this. But then Dallas puts out the top line, pressures the Edmonton net, and Loui Eriksson puts a decent attempt on the Edmonton net. Edmonton tries to flick it away from their net, only to pass it right to James Neal in front of a half-open net. Neal drills it into the net 22.2 seconds left in the game and the Stars end the road losing streak and might create a light bit of confidence in that they can play on the road. Sure it was against one the worst teams in the league, and sure the Oilers now lost 17-18. But in this league a win is a win, and with a good effort tonight this team comes home to where they excel for 4 straight.
Tonight: Stars visit Colorado Avs, 7pm CST. Game on FS-SW, FS-SW(HD), & 1310AM
Game notes: Marty Turco will apparently get the start in the net again. He was good at times in Edmonton but not really great. But the Stars win the game and now he has the “hot hand.” It appears this team will go with whoever wins a game. If Turco takes a loss tonight, expect Auld back in net when the team comes home. A win tonight, and Turco may stay in net for a few games. Whoever starts stringing wins together will get the call in net. Maybe it will create urgency and better play out of goalies, and this team.
Also, Morrow and Lehtinen will both be out again tonight. Both did not make the road-trip this week and didn’t fly up to join the team in Denver. Hopefully then can be back in the line-up at some point this week (especially since I got tickets to 2 of the 4 games in the home-stand). It also looks like Wandell probably won’t play tonight either, leaving them once again down without 4 forwards (Ribeiro out long-term). It means some of the young guys and grit players will see more time and will have to step-up somehow in the game. A big hit, a nice assist or goal, help on defense or penalty kill. Any way they can, a couple of these guys will have to step-up and help the top 2 lines for the Stars. Colorado was at one point towards the top of the Western Conference, but is now at a tie with Vancouver for their division lead and only 9 points ahead of Dallas a few games after the mid-way point of the season. I think Dallas could get a win.
Prediction: Stars play a close game and get a OT/Shootout win 4-3