How about that for a start to the season and for the biggest home opener I can remember in recent history? The Dallas Stars struck early and never looked back as they took down the Detroit Red Wings at the American Airlines Center by a score of 4-1. The game that has been looked forward to all off-season as not just the home opener but also as the return of Mike Modano, ended up being a great night for the Stars and their fans. As the AAC was flooded with fans wearing the ugly red and white sweaters, the Stars were prepared and focused on playing on of the top teams in the NHL. The result was the Brad Richards lighting the lamp less then a minute into the game and from there the Stars continued to play well and show they might be better then many thought they could be.
The Stars got another brilliant effort from Richards and his linemates, as Brad, Loui Eriksson, and James Neal each tallied a goal for Dallas and looked like the all world top line in the game. Forget about the Red Wings famous top trio of Zetterberg, Datsyuk, and Holmstrom. The Stars top line went plus 6 in +/- while the Red Wings top line put up a stunning -8. The Stars got another goal too from captian Brenden Morrow as he and Ribeiro really do look in sync again and amazing, with Burish adding grit and support. The top two lines right now are looking great and are providing the Stars plenty of firepower with even the 3rd and 4th line really doing much right now.
Young stud Jamie Benn missed the game because of “concussion-like symptoms” and the 3rd line turned into a checking/change of pace line lead by Ott. But the Stars seem to have the offensive part clicking well right now and Steve Ott was great in the faceoff circle. If things continue to progress well, Benn could play Saturday night but I do not expect the Stars to rush him back and they could just wait until Monday night.
Another thing that was noticeable tonight was Stars defense putting on some big hits and being aggressive. A big issue last season with the young defense at times was the Stars being passive to puck carriers at times and just waiting. Tonight, Grossman and Fistric threw around the body some and Fistric injured the Red Wings Franzen. Word is that Franzen suffered a possible concussion. Not to be too mean, but I am not against Detroit players getting smashed.
In the end, the Stars took the focus off Modano and his return, and made it about beating the Red Wings as a whole. The Stars got solid offense, sound goaltending from Kari Lehtonen again, and played as a team. They were outshot and the dangerous Red Wings powerplay got plenty of chances, but they took care of their opportunities and played sound defense in their own end. For the first time since January 2009, the Stars have won three games in a row. That has been almost a season and a half without stringing together three or more wins. Tonight they did it and made a statement; this is a new Dallas Stars team. They may be young and have a bunch of questions, but they also are growing and have potential. This could be a fun season to watch!