The Dallas Stars kicked off the 2010-2011 season with a impressive come from behind win over the New Jersey Devils last night, 4-3 in overtime. The Stars got off to a shaky start, letting the Devils top line get a couple of great chances and the Devils cashed in. But after getting down 2-0, the Stars got a goal before the end of the 1st and then worked their way back to a 3-3 tie through the 2nd period. After a 3rd period in which the play was frantic and both teams were getting great chances to take the lead, the game headed to overtime still tied up at 3-3. Then in overtime Loui Eriksson worked his magic for the second time of the night and ripped a shot up high past Brodeur. The Stars started a “new era” with a win against a contending team on the road. Some thoughts:
*Trevor Daley does not need to be playing against another top line of that caliber. Both goals in the 1st came with him on the ice and during both he did not help out his new goaltender. The first one he tries to take the shot away but ends up making it change speed and direction and it goes past Kari. On the second his linemate Fistric falls down and leaves Daley to defend a two-on-one fastbreak. He tries to dive to block a shot but end up being out of position and slides into Lehtonen to help get him out of position. After that he settled down, but we almost exclusively saw Robidas and Grossman against the top line for NJ.
*The top line of Brad Richards, Eriksson, and James Neal scored 3 of the teams 4 goals for the game. Together they were a +6 after struggling a lot last season with their +/- on the road. They controlled the zone quite a bit when they were on the ice and when they did end up on their own end they were solid and quick to turn the play back towards the NJ net.
*Kari Lehtonen seemed shaky and excited early in the game but settled down and made plenty of saves as the game moved on the keep the Stars in the game. It may have been the first game of the season, but he carried over the solid play that he had during the preseason to last night.
*The Stars were great last night in the faceoff circle. A big concern this offseason after Dallas was one of the worst faceoff teams last season, Dallas won 24 out of 39 faceoffs last night. Ribs won 8 out of 12 and Richards won 6 out of 10.
*Other then Steve Ott, the Stars were very disciplined last night. All three penalties that they took were minors to Otter, and only one was really a bad penalty as the other two resulted in 4 on 4 play as the Devils also took a penalty.
The Stars are currently preparing for their second game of the season, as tonight they play the New York Islanders in New York. The puck drops about 6PM CST/ 7PM EST, and locally here in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area the game will be on TXA 21. The Stars have no injuries going into tonight’s contest, and it appears that Lehtonen will start tonight as well. It makes sense because Dallas does not play again until Thursday and Kari has been given some rest during the preseason play.
So expect the exact same line-up tonight and I think we will see another Stars win, 4-2.