Feb 21, 2012; Montreal, QC, CAN; Dallas Stars player Thomas Vincour (81) takes a shot on Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) during the first period at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-US PRESSWIRE

Rapid Reaction: Stars Crush Canadiens 3-0

 

Feb 21, 2012; Montreal, QC, CAN; Montreal Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban (76) falls to the ice after checking Dallas Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski (33) during the first period at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-US PRESSWIRE

What Happened:

Dallas grabbed the Canadiens by the neck and suffocated them the entire first period. The Stars kept attacking and attacking and never let up. Kari Lehtonen faced just two shots for the first half of the period and 6 shots for the entire period while the Stars piled 16 shots on Carey Price. Despite this, it took 14:12 for the Stars to finally convert on the numerous chances. Ryan Garbutt, playing in his third NHL game, scored his first NHL goal to send the Stars into the first intermission leading 1-0. Unofrtunately, the Stars momentum didn’t carry over into the second period thanks to three penalties (and a fourth that carried over into the third period) that kept the Stars on the kill for most of the period. Kari Lehtonen and the PK unit did their job splendidly and kept the Habs scoreless for the entire period. Dallas finished killing the fourth Montreal power play of the night and then decided it was time to stop messing around. 4:32 into the final frame, Mike Ribeiro, the former Canadien playing in Montreal for the first time sense he was traded to the Stars buried the puck from the doorstep. 37 seconds later Carey Price misplayed a puck that was intercepted by Tomas Vincour who dropped a pass to Tom Wandell. Wandell shot a wrister from the slot that sailed right through Price’s glove side, giving the Stars a commanding 3-0 lead.

What It Means:

Tonight was a mammoth win for an entire multitude of reasons. The Stars found offense from it’s depth with goals from Garbutt and Wandell. Kari Lehtonen played as solid as always and earned his second shut out of the year. But probably biggest of all is the fact that both the San Jose Sharks and the Anaheim Ducks both lost in regulation tonight. This gives the Stars a bit of breathing room from the Ducks, and puts the Stars just five points out of the division lead. If only for a moment, the Stars season does not look as bleak as it did three hours ago. The Stars now to have to take this momentum and run with it. A playoff berth is still very much in reach and with the Sharks in the midst of a horrid slump, the division lead is up for grabs. The next set of games (a back to back) will be crucial.

  • Ryan Garbutt scored his first ever NHL goal and point tonight. You could almost feel it coming as Garbutt has played two spectacular games before tonight. His performance thus far has bodes well for his future in the NHL.
  • The Penalty Kill was a perfect 4/4 tonight, likely saving the game for the Stars, who had just a one goal lead for the duration of those Montreal power plays.

What’s Next:

The Stars will now head to Chicago to begin their third back to back of the month on Thursday night. The Stars are 1-1 against the Blackhawks this year, playing them in the first two games of the season. Richard Bachman is expected to finally get a start, leaving Kari Lehtonen to take the second night of the back to back versus the Minnesota Wild.

 

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Tags: Carey Price Dallas Stars Kari Lehtonen Mike Ribeiro Montreal Canadiens Ryan Garbutt Tom Wandell

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