The Stars began the first period looking like a conservative team afraid to make any costly mistakes, and you can’t blame them playing against a team like the Vancouver Canucks. Things only opened up for the Stars after a power play halfway into the period. The Stars couldn’t convert but they gained confidence from the chances they earned and began to put more pucks at Canucks netminder Roberto Luongo while continuing to play solid defense in front of Kari Lehtonen. The first period played out and the two teams went into the first intermission with a 0-0 score. Ryan Kesler scored just 56 seconds into the second period to give the Canucks a 1-0 lead after a messy start from the Stars. Things didn’t get much better, as the Stars went on the kill and looked on their heels for much of the period. 13:11 into the second, Mason Raymond squeezed a puck past Lehtonen, another soft goal that shouldn’t have gone in. The smallest bit of light emerged with less than four minutes left in the period when the Stars earned a power play opportunity to close out the period. Michael Ryder took a pass from Mike Ribeiro and the scorching one timer found the back of the net, giving the Stars a huge goal. The Canucks took a 2-1 lead into the final period, but Dallas now had life. The Stars fought tooth and nail for the entire third period, and managed to get themselves into a final shot to tie the game with the extra man. Alex Goligoski shot the puck from the point and Mike Ribeiro tipped the puck past Luongo to tie the game with less than a minute left! The Stars forced the game into OT, picking up a monstrous point. The AAC was alive and the Stars had all the momentum. Trevor Daley walked the puck is showing poise and patience and sent a beauty of a pass across the slot to Loui Eriksson, who buried the puck in the net, giving the Stars an unfathomable 3-2 win!
What It Means:
Trade rumors, uncertainty, playoff potential. All kinds of talk surrounded the Stars on this winning streak. Today, they showed up and defeated one of the best teams in the NHL. A team who rarely lost after leading after two, but the Stars showed up, came back, and showed that this team has all the talent it needs to win against the best. The Stars are now riding a four game winning streak with a tight grip on the eighth and final playoff spot. This kind of victory is the type of thing that Joe Nieuwendyk wants to see from this team to have confidence that they can win and make a run at the playoffs. The Stars are looking mighty impressive, and now even the Pacific Division lead does not look out of reach. I might be going out on a limb, but I expect the Stars to not make any significant moves tomorrow. Nieuwendyk has heard the message, and with both Jamie Benn and Brenden Morrow ready to return in the next week or so, the Stars are setting themselves up for a memorable run. Game notes:
- The Canucks were 26-0-0 this year when leading after two. Now they’re 26-0-1.
- Michael Ryder added his 25th goal of the year. How about that?
- Mike Ribeiro had a goal and an assist tonight, stretching his point streak to seven games.
The Stars now have a much deserved two day break before gearing up to face the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night. Of course, before then, the trade deadline (2:00 CST Monday) will have come and gone, and the Stars could potentially look a bit different, but it all remains to be seen. The Penguins are an always dangerous, always lethal team with likely Art Ross winner Evgeni Malkin leading the charge. Another night, another two points on the line. Get out to the AAC and cheer on your Stars as they go for FIVE straight wins.
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