After taking an L for the first time this season, the Stars tonight get a chance to get back to winning against the Florida Panthers on the road. The Stars come in at 4-1, while the Panthers have not played since Saturday and are 2-2 so far. The Stars will continue to ride the Lehtonen train as Kari will start again tonight, and I guess it means the coaching staff is comfortable with him playing a lot in net. Well, that or maybe they do not trust Raycroft.
“We couldn’t kill a penalty to save our lives.” That is always something you want to hear about your hockey team right? That quote came straight from coach Marc Crawford. Hey Crawford, maybe you should fix that? Or try something different? Or just give them a goal for every third penalty that we take? The Stars penalty kill issues have not just carried over from last season, they have flat-out been a bullet-hole in the teams’ side that is still bleeding out. The longer this goes on, the more it will hurt this team and hurt the teams chances of competing. Because like a few of the early games in this season, sometimes you can win despite shaky special teams and giving up more shots then you take. But it will catch up with you, and as we get deeper into the season when teams are really clicking and are also worn down from the grinding of the season, the chances on the powerplay and penalty kill will be even more important.
The Panthers are 2-2, but have looked okay so far through the season. They are 8 for 8 at this point on their PK, and they have a good #1 goaltender in Tomas Vokoun. Although they will probably end the season down near the bottom of the Eastern Conference, they have a good goalie and some young talent, and can make some games interesting. It would be great for Dallas to crack through on the powerplay (2 for 20 so far) and come back for 4 games at home with a 5-1 record.
Jamie Benn will be back in the lineup for the Stars, and expect him to center the 3rd line again. Also, Sutherby and Fistric are being given the night off, and Woywitka and Barch will be in the lineup….BARCH AND WOYWITKA???!?!?!?!? What the heck? I guess the staff just wants to give them a night off, and get Woywitka and Barch in for a little action. But sitting Fistric makes no sense to me…