It was a win that the Stars desperately needed. With the All-Star break following last nights game, the Stars would see themselves with 4 days off. Four days to dwell on a horrid streak of losses if they hadn’t pulled the win out for their third straight win against the Oilers this month.
It was a hard fought win. And “fought” is literal. There were scraps left and right, including a ludicrous Niskanen fight that saw him dominate the side of Fraiser’s head. That scrap accompanied 2 Barch fights and a whole lot of general hostility, including 2 big hits by Fistric. The Stars played with the chip of a team that dropped 2 games in which they allowed 7 goals as well as a previous game that saw them lose 2 players due to being physically dominated for most of the game vs. the Canucks.
The Oilers came hard again, showing what is to come once those pretty passes and great hands start finishing. Lehtonen had a big bounce back game and despite being outshot again, he kept them in and the Captain, Mr. Morrow provided all of the offense that the Stars would need as they rolled to a 3-1 win on Wednesday night.
The Stars would open the scoring in the midst of another first period that saw them struggle to keep up. A missed too many men on the ice would cause Ribeiro to linger, complaining to the refs. The puck came to him and he deftly deflected it into Burish’s path and he picked it up and brought it down the right side for a quick shot that beat Khabibulin off the inside post and in. It was a goal that the Oilers veteran goaltender should have had, but the shot was admitedly a lazer and pretty perfectly placed. Call it karma.
Brendan Morrow would score the next two goals; one because he was standing in front of the net on the power play and a deflection off of a defender in front landed right at his feet. The second would come off of a beautiful play from his two line-mates. Ribeiro got the puck behind the net, passed it off to Langenbrunner below the right circle who immediately put a cross-crease pass through defenders and onto the oncoming Morrow’s stick-blade.
The Oilers would attempt a comeback, down 3-0 – Penner would sqweek a rebound past Kari Lehtonen to give the Oilers a chance at 3-1.
But it seems that fate wants the Stars to beat the oilers and 3-1 is how the game would end, with Lehtonen taking a step to recover his GAA after the 7-1 loss against Vancouver previously.
The Stars played their best overall game against the Oilers this season. They didn’t seem behind the pace of the game for the entire game and it seemed that the shot differential was more a matter of the Oilers taking a lot of shots more so than the Oilers always having control of the puck.
The Stars were physical, fast and even though the Richards line disappeared for most of the game, the second and third lines played their parts and got the win. Even Morin in his first NHL game played up to par and made several good defensive plays over the course of the game.
So, we get a win and hopefully return back to form going into the All-Star break. Admitedly, the two losses had me scared that we would see a slump similar to the one the Stars had around the Olympic break last season.
But, this is a different Stars team, isn’t it?