Once again the Dallas Stars find themselves under that same old saying, as a win really is a win and no matter how they “earned” it they will gladly take the two points. Monday night’s contest at the AAC really turned into a contest to see who could capitalize with all the chances given out. Both teams played unimpressive hockey through most of the contest and neither looked too motivated to take control of the game.
Eventually the Phoenix Coyotes scored on a powerplay in the 3rd period to finally put a goal on the board and take a 1-0 lead. Despite a couple of powerplay chances of their own in the 3rd, the Stars were still not generating much going into the last couple of minutes. Then with Kari Lehtonen pulled from the crease, Sheldon Souray unleashed another heavy blast towards the net. Loui Eriksson provided a tip in front to tie the game up with 27.1 seconds to go, forcing overtime for the two divisional rivals. The game fittingly made it the the shootout where Mike Ribeiro won it for the Stars 2-1. Some notes and thoughts from the game:
Kari Lehtonen was again the Stars best player in the game, by far. In the two contests that he has now played in, out of the three, Lehtonen has stopped 77 of 79 shots. Friday he held the Stars lead against a powerful Chicago team, but tonight was more just trying to stay alive. With how the offenses and powerplay units were looking, it became increasingly clear early in the 3rd that this could be a 1-0 game. He was again a big part of the PK and with some help from teammates, the Stars killed off six out of seven chances. The one he couldn’t stop was impossible to get and he immediately has looked impressive in his two starts.
While the PK was solid and looked good tonight in killing off a few too many penalties, the Stars powerplay looked lethargic and unintimidating. The team went 0-7 tonight and this has been the trend so far this season. A total of 1-14 to start the season is not something you would hope for. Where does it need help? Is everywhere an answer? While they at times can get into the zone and set-up, shots never seem to come and chances have been almost non-existent. Glen Gulutzan and the unit now have a couple of days to work on it, and hopefully this is just a rough start to a new system and things get on track soon.
Souray so far looks to be the pickup of the summer for the Stars. So far in three games he has been what the Stars hoped he could be. Three assists (a couple generated just simply off that cannon-blast), has played top six minutes, and has been a great addition in all situations. If he keeps this up, you will start hearing a lot more about him from media types and the hockey world in a week or two.
Yes the attendance for tonight was bad. The team reported a little over six thousand, but it looked closer to three. Whoever thought it was a brilliant idea to schedule this game in the first place should be fired, and then Texas Rangers game being postponed until today which made it even worse. A 5PM start on a Monday in downtown in the middle of everything was a horrible idea. Even without the Rangers game I would have only expected one or two more thousand fans there. No the team is not moving, and yes there are still fans. this was just a horrible idea and should have never happened in the first place. In Dallas-Ft. Worth, sporting events need to be after 6:30PM during the week, if not even later. Hopefully they learned from this.
It was a slow game and one that could have put sports fans to sleep if we were not watching the Rangers game as well, but at the end of the night there are two more points next to the Stars name. And that is all that matters. Remember last season? Every single point that they can steal is valuable. Tonight Lehtonen stole them both with very little help for the most part. Not something we hope to see every night, but sometimes you have to take the win however you can.