The Dallas Stars kicked off their four game swing out east today by not just winning, but thoroughly beating the Carolina Hurricanes. The Stars jumped out to an early 1-0 lead via an Eric Nystrom goal off of a rush and controlled the game from then on. By the time the final horn rang, the Stars followed up Friday’s 7-6 overtime thriller with another big offensive display and a 5-2 win. Dallas again had a very successful day in the opposing end and for the second game in a row seemed like an offensive juggernaut.
The offense was again led by the Loui Eriksson-Jamie Benn-Michael Ryder line for the Stars and they were unstoppable in this one. Loui had three amazing assists leading to Benn and Ryder pocketing some gorgeous goals including a short-handed goal by Benn and Ryder with a slick goal right in front of Cam Ward. Dallas ended up chasing Ward from the game early in the second after he gave up four goals on fourteen shots, and then just controlled the last half of the game while protecting their big lead. I wouldn’t put much blame on Ward, as his team just came out flat and his defense was chasing the whole time. Throughout the lineup, the Stars got solid play today from all their forwards as evident by the recent scoring from the lower lines and guys like Nystrom and Vernon Fiddler.
The shots totals again look bad just from first glance, but those who watched the game know that those numbers are misleading. Dallas outshot Carolina in both of the first two periods and then just coasted in third, allowing Carolina to fire in and unload pucks from far off as the Hurricanes were just trying anything in the third. Kari Lehtonen was back on top of his game today after the hectic game against the Avs and while he did not really have a heavy workload, he did look good and comfortable in the net. He is now 10-1-0 this year and had a nice bounce-back performance after a rough night on Friday.
The only thing that I could really critique today is the Stars lack of discipline again. They took nine penalties today, and that is not counting the game misconduct against Burish in the final minute. They did do alright on the penalty kill as the Hurricanes only went 2-for-9 despite all the chances, it is just unacceptable. Dallas continues to average around six penalties a game, and it has started to cost them a little bit. The PK unit was the bright spot early on for this team and has still been good, but you can tell that the constant penalties are starting to hurt them. If not for the penalties tonight, the Stars could have shutout the Canes. The shots totals are getting better, but now this type of undisciplined play could be the Stars kryptonite moving forward.
My three Stars of the game: 1) Loui Eriksson. Three assists and all of them were beautiful primary assists. How says all he can do is score? 2) Jamie Benn. He had two goals including the short-handed marker that made it 5-1 and he just continues to play at an All-star level with Eriksson. Whatever happens, the Stars have to keep them together. 3) Sheldon Souray. While Ryder had a big game alongside Benn and Eriksson, Souray was the guy overlooked today because of the offense. He contributed two assists today, was a +2, and was strong in the defensive end again. He continues to look like the guy the Stars wanted years ago and people in Edmonton have to be beating themselves up.
Now the Stars will continue on their trip and face the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night. The Stars will enter into the contest with an impressive 10-3 record (Dallas became the first team to 10 wins today) and will have a chance to continue their winning ways against Ovechkin and Southeast leading Caps. More on that tomorrow right here on BlackoutDallas.
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