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Feb. 14, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Dallas Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen (32) makes a save on a shot by Detroit Red Wings defenseman Ian White (18) as Dallas defenseman Trevor Daley (6) defends in the first period at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

Rapid Reaction: Red Wings Make History, Beat Stars 3-1

What Happened:

The buzz was all about the Detroit Red Wings trying to make history tonight, and the Stars knew they’d have to come out swinging to take the crowd factor out of the game to take two points. Well, a team sure came out swinging, but it wasn’t the Stars. The Red Wings took the first period and made it their playground, slapping around the Stars and dominating them in every single facet. The Wings are puck possession experts, unmatched in the NHL, and the Stars tried too hard to beat them at their own game. When Jamie Benn took a penalty 7:24 into the game, it only took 33 seconds for Henrik Zetterberg to strike, and just 1:18 later, Brad Stuart added another tally.  The Red Wings took a 2-0 lead into the middle frame. Whatever what adjustments were made during the intermission seemed to have worked, as the Stars showed poise and stability throughout the first half of the second period, getting decent chances but were unable to connect. Things grounded to a halt when Steve Ott took two back to back penalties 10:43 into the period that the Stars somehow killed, no easy feat against the well-oiled machine that is the Red Wings power play. The Stars weren’t able to cut into the lead, though, and faced the same 2-0 deficit heading into the final period. Again, the Stars opened a period with an all-out assault, this time around they looked much deadlier and generated even more opportunities, but again they could not take a goal away from it, they couldn’t even generate a shot on goal. The Red Wings survived the onslaught, and answered back with five minutes left to play courtesy of Juri Hudler, giving the Red Wings a 3-0 lead. Adam Burish added a late Stars goal, but the Wings held on to secure the historic 3-1 victory.

What It Means:

That ugly, ugly first period didn’t do the Stars any favors.  Kari Lehtonen, despite allowing two goals, stopped 18 other shots. 20 shots in one period is an inexcusable defensive failure across the board. How can you expect to be successful when you start a game like that against a team like the Detroit Red Wings? You can’t, and the Stars proved it tonight. One positive thing to take away from tonight is that the Stars knew how to respond. They opened the second and third periods with impressive displays of controlling the game, but they could not generate any goals, and the hole they buried for themselves was just too deep. Detroit came into this game with history on the line. The stakes were high, and the Stars had a chance to be spoilers, but the Red Wings are just too good, and they were playing for a permanent place in NHL history. The game was more than a chance to be a spoiler for the Stars though, the game represented two points, as they all do. Two points they let slip away once again. This loss didn’t sting as much as the one against Buffalo, but it still hurts knowing that with each passing day, the Stars are letting such important points slip by. The Red Wings are one of, if not the, best team in the NHL and you don’t fall behind 2-0 and expect to climb out of that hole. The Stars need to pack up, head back home, and focus on the next test.

What’s Next:

The Stars are back at the AAC Thursday night to face Jarome Iginla and the Calgary Flames. Calgary is another team right in the middle of the pack fighting for a playoff spot, and I would say it’s a big two points, but at this point, every single game, no matter the opponent, represents a big two points. If you’re one of the first 10,000 fans in the AAC, you’ll get a free Jamie Benn bobble head, so the real question is, why WOULDN’T you be there? The Stars need you, get out to Dallas to see the game and get some free stuff in the process.

 

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Tags: Brad Stuart Detroit Red Wings Henrik Zetterberg Jamie Benn Kari Lehtonen Loui Eriksson Michael Ryder Nicklas Lidstrom Pavel Datsyuk

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