This team is starting to build a reputation around here as a team that can win games, even if they are ugly games at times. Last night the Stars got their fifth win in a row, and it was not a pretty game for the most part. The Washington Capitals were the team controlling the game more often then not, and by far outshot the Dallas Stars all game long in their own building. But the Dallas fans got a to watch the Stars pick up another win and another good game at home. Andrew Raycroft gave the Stars and the hometown fans a gem with his performance in net, stopping 37 of 38 shots that he faced. Dallas only got 21 shots off of their own, but timely goals and a great team defense won them the game. The Stars did one thing right in not getting into penalty trouble and not taking any stupid penalties against the Caps.
The biggest line for the Stars happened to be Brandon Segal – Steve Ott – Toby Peterson. Segal got the game-winning goal just 20 seconds after the Cap made it 1-1 in the third period, ripping a knuckler-type of shot high and just in the corner from a little bit of distance. But hey, it was a crazy shot and he got it in the net. But Ott and Segal, along with off-season addition Adam Burish, were constantly playing against the Caps top players last night and got the job done. Burish was even taking faceoffs and switching lines at times. The Stars played solid team defense all game to shut down Washington’s top players, including that guy named Alexander Ovechkin. Dallas kept him and the Caps offense that features three guys in the top 10 in scoring to just one goal.
Dallas is now 9-2-1 in one goal games this season. A surprising number to see. It shows that, just like last night, in close games the Stars are finding ways to just get points and wins when the game is a very close one. It shows they can stick in games and protect leads late in games too. Of course a big part of this is the Stars goaltending so far this season. Lehtonen has been solid in net and at times a lot better then his stats show, and Raycroft is now 3-1-0 with a 1.65 goals against and .951 save percentage. I have to admit I was one of those unsure about giving Raycroft a go against a top team, but last night he proved myself and others wrong. So the team is getting solid goalie play and winning close games. But also the top team in the Pacific division is winning games at home. The Stars are 7-0-1 in their last eight games at the AAC. So the team really is starting to get something going, and going at home too. The penalty kill finally does not resemble the garbage littering the streets of south Dallas. Now if they can change the sick and dying powerplay unit too, then this team really might have a chance at staying up high in the standings….or at least being a darkhorse in the tight Western Conference.
The Stars now play another game at home against the Minnesota Wild tomorrow and then go back on the road for a couple of games. The Wild have been struggling and are in the bottom of the West right now, but the conference is still close and you have to take points when you have a good chance to take them. I will post up tomorrow looking into the game and this Stars team.