It wasn’t pretty, and it was not sound playing at all as the game went on. But after giving up a 4-2 lead, the Stars survived overtime and won in the shootout to leave New York with a 5-4 win and come home with a 2-0 start. A night after putting together a solid comeback win against the Devils, the Dallas Stars started off strong but had to be saved by their goalie to get a win at the New York Islanders. Again the team got offense from the top two lines as Brenden Morrow again looked great, with him and Mike Ribeiro teaming up for 2 of the teams goals. Ribs also got the shootout winner as he went 3rd after Lehtonen stopped all 3 shootout chances against him. Brad Richards was a good again in the attacking zone, as he assisted on both of the Stars first period goals and his line created some chances as the game moved on.
But besides Ribs and Morrow, the biggest reason the Stars were able to win last night was Kari Lehtonen. Seems questionable considering he allowed 4 goals, but the Stars were severely beaten in the shots category and almost the whole 3rd period seemed to take place in the Dallas zone. The Islanders peppered Kari with 47 shots (Dallas had only 22), and the fact that the Stars took 5 penalties during the second half of the game (8 overall) was not helpful at all. The Stars penalty-kill is only 5-9 after the first two games of the season, and some penalties at horrible times last night gave the Islanders tons of chances to get back into the game and they did. Lehtonen may have actually kept the Islanders from winning the game and then stopped all 3 chances against him in the shootout to give Dallas two road wins to start the season.
Dallas does not play again until Thursday night, when the hated Detroit Red Wings come in town for the Stars home-opener. Now the Stars have a couple of days to rest, prepare, and make changes for a pair of home games on Thursday and Saturday night. It looks like the offense is clicking good so far in the season, and the top two lines are both able of scoring and turning up the heat on the opponent. The issues though remain with the defense and PK unit, so expect both of those to be focused on during this week. Lehtonen is playing pretty good so far, and the offense is coming along. Now if the Stars defense can adjust and play better, this could be a nice season for Stars fans. Thursday should be interesting, as it is against the Red Wings. Besides that they are already hated around here, it is also the new home of North Star/Stars icon and loved player Mike Modano. I am among the many that always viewed Modano as the face of the franchise and would name him as my favorite player. But now he is skating for a rival team, and it just will not look right. More on that this week, as well as my thoughts on the key areas to the Stars success this season.